Thursday, 23 May 2013

Clerkenwell Design Week : Design Exquis

It's that time again: The area around Farringdon station is abuzz with Clerkenwell Design Week. CDW is a three-day showcase of contemporary domestic design and today is the last day it's open. So get there this evening if you can!

One of the best things about CDW is the exhibition venues - all within five minutes distance of each other. The grand old Farmiloe Building is the main site and this year it has a focus on new lighting design. The building itself was erected in 1868 for the glass manufacturer George Farmiloe & Sons and is now regularly hired out as a movie set. Here are the CDW crowds milling outside the entrance and one example of many fabulous lighting displays inside. This one is for Holloways of Ludlow.

Other interesting locations include the House of Detention, the chapel, gardens and crypt of the Order of St John's. Within each, a range of designers showcase their wares and ideas. I recommend taking the time to just wander around the area and see what catches your eye and don't forget to stop and look in at some of the smaller studios.

My favourite thing in this year's displays was hidden to one side of  St John's Gate in the Order of St John's Museum. It was an exhibition titled Design Exquis.

St John's Arch, with the exhibition Design Exquis in the Museum to one side of the arch.

Design Exquis is described as 'a dialogue on one design through design'. It is like a version of the parlor game 'Consequences' and you may have played something like it as a child: draw a head on a bit of paper, fold it so only the neck is visible then pass it on to the next person who draws the torso then folds it, another draws the legs, and another the feet. This exhibition is like a designer's version of that.

Here, the starting object was a stethoscope (fitting for the Order of St John Museum). It was given to the Plant & Moss who created this fascinating lamp inspired by the shape of lungs. This piece was then passed to Dominic Wilcox, his piece to Georg Oehler, and his to Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, each using the others as inspiration for a new piece .Together these objects form the exhibition.

I'll leave it to you to visit and hear the full story behind each piece. Design Exquis is a fun and engaging part of CWD this year, allowing visitors to think more about the process by which designs are conceived. Have you visited Clerkenwell Design Week 2013 and what is your favourite part?

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