Bill Amberg Studio’s Top Five from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016

This year’s Clerkenwell Design Week took visitors on a much more adventurous tour of the district with a variety of new venues, dynamic installations and a wealth of design inspiration.  At Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 we saw contemporary design and traditional craft go hand in hand; a reassuring sign that both can work well, especially when they work together. Here’s our top pick of interesting projects and installations from this year’s instalment.

HakFolly by Flea Folly Architects

Dutch wood floor manufacturer Hakwood and London architecture studio Flea Folly Architects came together for this year’s installation in the arch at St. Johns Gate; ‘HakFolly’, a 4.5m high temple of timber. The intriguing structure is inspired by Flea Folly Architect’s visit to Hakwood’s factory in the Netherlands where they witnessed the interesting form of the timber being stored in stacks. Flea Folly Architects really mirror what they saw and have re-imagined it through the impressive towering temple of timber. Hakfolly explores the leftover timber from the manufacturing process of wood flooring, and along with off shelf planks, the stacked timber structure was achieved.

British Collection

With a vaulted brick ceiling and old Victorian charm, the Crypt on the Green was the perfect backdrop for a showcase of home grown design talent; British Collection. The debut exhibition was home to a line-up of British brands that included deVol Kitchens, James Burleigh and a new favourite, Hand & Eye Studio headed by architect Tom Housden. Hand & Eye Studio work with small manufacturers, often some of the last remaining in the terracotta industry, to produce a range of high quality lighting. At this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, Tom Housden presented a 1.7m long lamp, the A Beam suspended light, made from extruded terracotta. Housden combines craft and modern technology in each of his products, a quality that is also mirrored in our work here at Bill Amberg Studio.

Go by Benjamin Hubert/Layer design

Benjamin Hubert and his design agency Layer, known for experimental design experiences, have developed the first ever made-to-measure 3D-printed wheelchair, Go. It forms part of their new research studio LayerLAB, who spent the past two years conducting thorough research into wheelchair functionality to develop an alternative to the clunky and standard range of wheelchairs on the market. They spoke to wheelchair users and medical professionals in order to gain a detailed insight to allow them to understand how to transform it and give it the ‘human element’, rather than simply act as a ‘medical device’. Showcased at Clerkenwell London, a space dedicated to curated design and experiences, the Go Wheelchair is a poetic creation that focuses on its function and pays attention to its users need above aesthetic form.

Platform

The subterranean House of Detention presents the return of Platform; a showcase of exciting new design talent from around the world. Each cell unit offered a dynamic and some-what archaic backdrop for each designer’s collection, creating a contrast to the modern wears on show. Some of the stand out designers included a charming range of Jesmonite tableware from London based studio Yen Chen & Ya Wen and artist and sign painter Archie Proudfoot whose work explores the techniques and the aesthetics of traditional signage to explore our relationship with language.

CDW Presents the Museum of Making

Clerkenwell is steeped in a history of craft and manufacturing and still remains true to its past with the presence of establishments such as Craft Central and the Goldsmiths Centre still in the area. To celebrate this heritage, Clerkenwell Design Week invited Swedish firm White Arkitekter to create the installation in St John’s Square. The structure took the form of a barn, a symbol also linked to Scandinavian heritage. It was made from a range of multi-coloured flat-pack panels with differing colour tones on show, depending on the angle you looked at it from. The Museum of Making ran a series of workshops and was a great example of tying in traditional craft with modern design.