I love the way Clerkenwell Design Week transforms the energy of the area. The showrooms throw open their doors, interesting installations pop up, and our tangle of streets teem with trade visitors and design enthusiasts donning bright pink lanyards. New products are launched, exciting designers discovered, and visitors can look forward to being surprised.
My highlights of Clerkenwell Design Week 2014 include a category that was certainly a surprise to me: Tile. Being a nomadic sort and thus a lifelong renter, I’d never given tile much thought, but CDW2014 changed that, beautifully highlighting innovative uses and designs.
Possibly the most Tweeted and Instagrammed sight of CDW2014, Tile Mile by russ + henshaw and Turkish Ceramics for CDW Presents was an instant hit with festival goers. By creatively tiling the walkway of historic St John’s Gate in bold graphic patterns and using simple mirrors to create the optical illusion of an infinite walkway, the designers succeeded in highlighting the tile while getting people to stop and take a moment to appreciate an extraordinary architectural spot we may pass through every day.
The Prismastic Landscape colour wall mural by Ptolemy Mann in partnership with British tile manufacturers Johnson Tiles transformed the external walls of the humble cowshed at the entrance of the Farmiloe Building. I’ve admired Ptolemy Mann’s expert use of colour in her textile works, and it was exciting to see her mastery translated in tile at a large scale. Created using 4,224 ceramic tiles from the Prismatics collection of 68 gloss and matte shades, the kaleidoscopic mural was both straightforward and visually stunning.
The Mews collection by Edward Barber + Jay Osgerby and Mutina for Domus Tiles
employs a narrower but no less expressive range of hues. Inspired by the landscape and textures of London, where the designers work and live, Mews is available in six colours: chalk, fog, pigeon, lead, ink and soot. The accompanying display came complete with a pair of posed pigeons named Trish and Percy (though it appears someone purloined Percy during the launch party!). The gorgeous greys and variety of shapes borrowed from brickwork and parquet patterns have me eyeing my rental flat’s tile floors in a whole new light.
What surprised you at Clerkenwell Design Week 2014? Send your thoughts to Charlene on Twitter @CClerkenwell
All images © Creative Clerkenwell
Charlene Lam of Creative Clerkenwell is a NYC-London design consultant who writes about design, travel and making a creative living. Find her on Twitter @CClerkenwell and at www.creativeclerkenwell.com