INSIDE CLERKENWELL DESIGN QUARTER

Globe-Trotter’s autumn-winter collection takes inspiration from the company’s original factory in Clerkenwell, London – an area renowned for its design credentials. With this in mind, we catch up with James Mair, owner of design-led furniture store Viaduct, who selects his exhibition highlights at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Quarter, part of London Design Festival.

As the London Design Festival fast approaches, the fifth annual Clerkenwell Design Quarter gears itself up to show off the very best the district has to offer. With the highest density of architectural practices in the capital, expectations are high.

A must-visit exhibiting space during the festival is Viaduct, the design-led furniture and lighting retailer renowned for bringing new designers and upcoming brands to the fore. ‘[I love] the extraordinary variety of people that come through,’ says Viaduct founder and director James Mair. ‘Clerkenwell is a great area to discover, with its world-class brands nestling among the elegant architecture. Its quirky streets and alleys offer visitors a completely different perspective of the London Design Festival.’

Punctuating Space at Viaduct

Once a warehouse, now a renowned showroom, this year Viaduct hosts the exhibition Punctuating Space.

Lighting has been a popular design field in 2017 and inspiration for the show was born out of the concept of special items that help define a space – ‘that little accent piece that just makes an interior special,’ explains Mair.

While predominantly centered on lighting, the exhibition also shows off other elements that can enable a space to shine – such as colour, form and texture.

Featuring designs by e15, Giopato & Coombes, Valerie Objects, Muller Van Severen and more, it promises to be an unmissable show.

Jack Trench

Jack Trench Ltd is opening the doors to its first permanent showroom in Clerkenwell during the festival. Showcasing its bespoke kitchens and furniture – handcrafted and designed in its London workshop in Tottenham Hale – the space will also exhibit its new bespoke Corian kitchen designs.

‘The quality and the freshness’ are what Mair likes in particular about the work of Jack Trench. ‘I think a lot of it is Jack’s enthusiasm. We’ve known him for quite a long time, so it’s great to welcome him into the area.’

Porcelain Gallery

What was once a garage in Leather Lane has been transformed into Porcelain Gallery – a masterpiece of a showroom for Pentagon Tiles, formed inside two containers. Crafted by architect Simon Astridge, what’s found within is a veritable treasure trove of porcelain.

‘They’ve actually made it a really interesting space,’ says Mair. ‘I’ve looked at some of the tiles and they’re beautifully displayed in that front area… it’s another specialist company – which is always interesting, getting away from the generic.’

A standout design on display will be STAC Architecture’s new award-winning STACtile. A modular wall-cladding tile (in nine finishes), it’s made for feature walls and can be arranged into a variety of shapes and patterns.

Eames Plastic Chair at Vitra

When Vitra started trading in 1957, it was the furniture designs of Charles and Ray Eames that it first produced. Today, those designs continue to inspire and for this reason, the Swiss furniture company is unveiling an exhibition dedicated to one of its most unique products: the Eames Plastic Chair.

‘Getting the most of the best to the greatest number of people for the least’ was Charles and Ray Eames’ design mantra. The Plastic Chair epitomises this. During the festival, Plastic Chairs will be brought together to form an exciting installation comprising chairs of different colours, of contrasting materials, with an array of legs, etc.

‘I’d encourage anybody who is visiting the area to go to [Vitra’s] space and see what they’re up to,’ says Mair. ‘Even if the pieces are familiar, they always explain things well.’

Clerkenwell Design Quarter takes place during London Design Festival, 16-24 September; londondesignfestival.com/clerkenwell-design-quarter-0