May 14, 2018

Unity Projects @ Clerkenwell Design Week 2018

London’s Little Italy, Clerk’s Well, the Jewelry Quarter, whatever you choose to call our pocket of London, there’s no denying that for a week in May, Clerkenwell becomes the spiritual and physical home of international design.

The award-winning festival Clerkenwell Design Week takes place this year from 22nd to 24th May, with exhibitions, events, design projects, street spectacles and open studios across the area, including a takeover of Fabric nightclub, Design Pavilion at St. James’s Courtyard and new for 2018…Unity Projects!

Clerkenwell has been Unity’s home for 12 years, so it felt appropriate that as we mature into our teenage years that we give a little back to the community that nurtured our creative spirits.

So along with architects, branding agencies and craft studios, we’re hosting a CDW Fringe event, called Unity Projects. Our creative team have worked with several collaborators to design a digital playground projected onto the Unity studio space, so when visitors step into the projection they appear to become part of the landscape.

Rather than a spectator, each visitor will become part of the Clerkenwell experience. The immersive display will allow the user to become part of the art, making each self-portrait unique.

The contributors to Unity Projects are designers, illustrators and photographers including Rankin and the Full Service, Rohan Eason, The Line Girl, Zoe Stromberg and Kuki London – who were given the brief of interpreting Clerkenwell itself. Submissions include hypnotic line drawings of the original Clerk’s Well, to a graphical realising of Smithfield Market.

As the viewer walks in to the space, they will be asked to select one of the contributor backdrops. They will then be left to self-direct their own shoot by stepping into a digital playground created by projections, mirrors and light.

The inspiration behind the brief was social media, and how these channels have created an environment in which people media is the core focus of social sharing, from the rising power of self-portraits to self-directed and curated content on personal feeds. This is akin to Unity’s strategy for campaigns; by putting people (not products) at the centre of brand communications.

As new kids on the block, we’ve taken a look at the full CDW event programme to see what thought-provoking and innovative projects our neighbours are up to. Here’s our top picks…

Unity Projects will be open from 12-1.30pm and 5-6.30pm Tuesday 22nd May to Thursday 24th May, with an exclusive launch event being held on Monday 21st May 6-9pm so that Unity friends and family can sample the space with a few drinks. Just RSVP to if you’d like to join us.

 Nixon Design Open Showroom with Sir Tim Smit

 According to their website, Nixon are Cornwall’s leading brand and design agency – who have just opened up a London office round the corner. Throughout CDW 2018 Nixon are celebrating their new location in London’s home of design with a series of events, including paying service to their roots with a talk from Sir Tim Smit on Tuesday 22nd May at 10am.

There aren’t many folk more famously associated with Cornwall than Sir Tim, famous for his work on the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project – so this rare opportunity to hear from him is definitely not one to miss.

Designing the World’s Best Bars’ at Oriole Bar 

 A fellow Fringe event, and one that features booze? We’re listening…

The design team behind award-wining Oriole bar (one of Unity’s favourite Clerkenwell drinking dens) will be presenting a discussion on designing the world’s best bars, with a panel of industry experts on Wednesday 23rd May at 4pm.

The only catch is that it’s £5, but pretty good value when you receive an Oriole St Germain Spritz upon arrival. Cheers!

Pipe Line

CDW Presents is the area of the festival primarily featuring new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned for the festival. And this year there’s some corkers. We’re always looking for the the latest innovations that are providing solutions to problems, both for our campaigns and the city we live in – hence why Pipe Line tops our list.

Their new approach to street furniture is designed to prove that the objects that line our city’s streets such as bike racks and benches can be exciting and engaging as well as functional.

Zaha Hadid Open Gallery

Labelled ‘the Queen of the curve’ by The Guardian, Zaha Hadid is one of the most famous architects of modern times. For CDW 2018, the Zaha Hadid Gallery will open its doors to festival guests from 1-6pm on 22nd-24th May, showcasing the latest design from the Zaha Hadid Design studio. For the first time in London, they will showcase Thallus, an experimental structure investigating form and pattern. As a one-off on Wednesday 23rd May at 2pm, there will be a your of the exhibition ZHA: Unbuilt, which features some unrealised designs – to illustrate the continuous proves of Zaha Hadid Architects ongoing design investigation.