"This week The Clearing has been donning its designer spectacles, clinking flutes of Veuve and swanning out in force at Clerkenwell Design Week.
Yes, the world-famed industry festival of design returned to us in all its chic-ery, finesse and couture. Here are just a few of the things we loved:
Swedish architects White Arkitekter created the fascinating Museum of Making in St John's Square. The popup pavilion celebrated Clerkenwell's past and present as a neighbourhood of artisans. Contemporary pieces sat alongside objects from Clerkenwell's past, loaned from the nearby Museum of London. When we visited, there was even a pendent punching workshop going on. Needless to say, our attempts at sophisticated artisanal pendants are not worth sharing…
FleaFolly Architects collaborated with oak flooring supremos Hakwood on this installation of stacked timber within the portico of St John's Gate. This space always houses a sculptural treat and this year was no different: this ‘HakFolly' had a serenely proportioned grace to it and subtly referenced the site's ecclesiastical past. And yes, we wanted to climb on it too.
British lighting designer Tom Dixon transformed the interior of St James' Church on Clerkenwell Green with a mesmerising central chandelier and collaborative workshop space. One of the best things about the festival is how it embraces the spaces and institutions of the area. We sat in on a talk given by Dixon and the church's vicar, Andrew Baughen, on faith and design – and most illuminating it was too (ahem).
Finally, collectively we had too many free coffees not to give this place a namecheck. Havwoods – flooring providers to the stars – decked-up an old Routemaster bus as coffee shop-cum-showroom. Downstairs, baristas sweated away at our assorted flat whites, long blacks and medium browns, while upstairs one could peruse soigné flooring solutions at neat meeting tables. Realistically though, we're ashamed to say we were only there for one thing… Thanks for the coffee guys.
And now it's all over for the year. The parties and the sales are being cleared and totted-up respectively.
For three days our ordinarily sleepy ‘hood came alive with exhibitors, designers, journos and workmen from all around the world.
Here's to next year.