Among all design events, we at Quadrolegno very much enjoy Clerkenwell Design Week. While it is not as famous as il Salone del Mobile, this annual three-day show still remains a great chance to see good design in public space.
Now in its 5th edition, Clerkenwell Design Week event gathers together international brands, local artisans and young designers to one of the most creative London district. Every year the programme is vast and includesexhibitions, product launches, debates, installations, as well as workshops and talks. Also this 2014 Clerkenwell Design Week edition made no exception. Great source of inspiration, it offered us the wonderful opportunity to see the latest in the cutting edge design as well as to meet fellow enthusiasts.
Probably the most fascinating aspect of this exhibition lies in its location. Besides being an important design hub in the world, Clerkenwell district is rich in history and all historical buildings become house of wonders of modern design. Whatthus annually happens is a fine blend of tradition and innovation, a perfect combination of forms, times, concepts and techniques. To create an elegant encounter between present and past is always a challenging process, which can sometimes lead to unique and almost overwhelming results.
And truly this is what ‘Tile Mile’ project presented by Turkish Ceramic with design practice Russ + Henshaw well demonstrated at the last Clerkenwell Design Week. This colourful 33-square-metre installationwas indeed placed within the arch of St John’s Gate, one of the area’s most iconic architectural landmarks built over 500years ago. As Russ + Henshaw stated, it was conceived“to celebrate both the products of Turkishceramics and reflect the built heritage of Clerkenwell”.
Taking Turkey’s traditional Iznic ceramicsas a starting point, the designers superbly played with patterns, colours as well as geometry. After choosing diamond-shaped tiles in ten colours, theydisposed them in four strips, each containing four patterns. The result was a total of 16 triangular sections designed to follow the lines of the vaults overhead. By installing mirrors all along the arch of St John’s gate, it was also created an intriguing and almost surreal series of reflections that gave viewers the illusion of wandering beyond space and time.
No wonder that ‘Tile Mile’ installation was chosen as central focus of the whole festival. With this creative use of contemporary product in a mediaeval passageway, Russ + Henshawperfectly achieved their aim “to honour the present alongside the past; to look back as well as to look forward”. And this is why we believe this project should be a great lesson for everyone in the industry.