Artisans and History at the London Design Festival

London Design Festival ….. one of the most important fixtures in the Design World calender. Two districts significant for their rapid and relatively recent reputation as centres for innovative design are the Shoreditch Triangle and Clerkenwell Design Quarter.

In close proximity to each other both areas were the focus of slum clearance in the nineteenth century becoming largely industrial combining skilled craftsmanship with the poorest workers engaged in the sweated trades.

Shoreditch was renowned as the centre of the furniture trade; cabinet makers; upholsterers; French polishers and all the associated peripheral trades of that industry.

In latter years the beautiful SCP showroom has been at the heart of the Shoreditch Triangle showcasing new and established talent in design. Established in Curtain Road by Sheridan Oakley in 1985 in a building originally a cabinet makers and then by the early twentieth century an upholsterer’s.  SCP’s commitment to support British manufacture brings the story of furniture design in Shoreditch full circle into the twenty-first century. http://www.scp.co.uk/

Rivington Street described by Niklaus Pevsner as a good example of ‘authentic and varied nineteenth century industrial building’ is home to many designers amidst the iron pillars and remaining wall cranes that provide a very distinct character to this part of Shoreditch.

Lee Broom  London Design Festival 2012

Lee Broom
London Design Festival 2012

Walk along Old Street towards the City to find  Clerkenwell Design Quarter in a district which became the centre for workers in precious metals,  wanting to practice their craft outside the restriction of the City. Rising as the heart of the watch and clock manufacturing in London the district became almost entirely industrialised during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Reviving the tradition for bespoke jewellery design and silversmiths in the Clerkenwell Design Quarter is the Goldsmiths Centre in Britton Street designed by John Lyall architects and incorporating the conversion of a Grade II Listed Victorian Board School.

Goldsmiths Centre Eagle Yard Clerkenwell

Goldsmiths Centre Eagle Yard Clerkenwell

Illustrating print in its most skillful and innovative form is the Imprint Exhibition at Craft Central. Showcasing jewellery, ceramics, textiles and prints in the Gallery at 33-35 St. John’s Square. http://craftcentral.org.uk/imprint

Also on Thursday 19th September is the opportunity to visit jewellery designers at their benches within the Craft Central studios.

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Join me with Creative Clerkenwell http://www.creativeclerkenwell.com/ during London Design Festival and discover the warehouses behind the design studios of Shoreditch, the French Polishers Beer Strike, ghosts of the Old Nichol and see inside contemporary artisan studios.

Cornwell House and Pennybank Chambers

Cornwell House and Pennybank Chambers

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