For a few days each summer, Clerkenwell's many iconic architects and designers give everyone an idea of what they're working on by filling the streets with art and displays, and hosting lots of events and shows. This year, the seventh Clerkenwell Design Week will be taking place from May 24-26 and alongside the bigger practices, the 'starchitects' and design brands, some awesome smaller creative spots in EC1 are also putting on free events and opening up their doors for people to have a nose around their studios at the Clerkenwell Design Week Fringe. With so much to see, here are six events to get you started.
1. See a history of London council estates in photographs at the London Metropolitan Archives
Amid the current debate raging about the future of London's council estates, the fascinating London Metropolitan Archive is hosting an exclusive pop-up exhibition called 'Somewhere Decent To Live: London's Council Estates in Photographs, 1895-1975'. This special exhibition will contain photos of the very first council estate in London as well as some of the iconic tower blocks of the 1960s. Pop along and check out some of these hidden photographic treasures for yourself. 40 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB. May 24-26, 9.30am-7.30pm.
2. Take a life drawing class at Pilbrow & Partners
Pilbrow & Partners is opening up their offices to host 'an evening of drawing and delight' - how could you resist that? At the open evening, there will be a life drawing class, plenty of the organisation's work on display to check out, and a chance to learn about technology and cutting edge design. Be sure to check out the amazing St John's Gate opposite Pilbrow & Partners' office too. 2-5 St John's Square, EC1M 4DE. Wednesday, May 25, 6pm-9pm.
3. Watch a film screening on Clerkenwell Green at Publica
Urban designers and public realm consultants Publica will be screening a film 'on' their office - yep, right on the outside of the building - throughout the evening of Wednesday 25 May. The film 'As Above, So Below' leads the viewer through London's green spaces, urban squares, up on to balconies and down onto the banks of the Thames, showing you perspectives on the city that might be unfamiliar to even the most knowledgeable of Londoners. Just stop by and look up. 10-11 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DP. Wednesday, May 25. Film will screen on a loop between 7pm-11pm.
4. Go on a walk to explore Clerkenwell with Ben Adams Architects
Ben Adams Architects will take design fans on a guided walk through historic Clerkenwell's hidden alleys and streets on Thursday May 26 to explore the area's evolving character. There's also a panel discussion on what's next for this unique neighbourhood. 54 Old Street, EC1V 9AJ. Thursday, May 26, 3pm-4pm.
5. Explore and shop at Creative Clerkenwell's pop-up for design enthusiasts
Crafty institution Creative Clerkenwell is hosting a special pop-up shop on Leather Lane throughout the week, where visitors will be able to buy handmade products, as well as learn about the processes used to create them. The 'Creative Constellations' themed store will have a wide range of crafts on show - from drawings to ceramics, and jewellery to rugs. If you fancy getting yourself a Clerkenwell Design Week souvenir that won't break the budget, this is the place. 87 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TS. May 24-26, 11am-7pm.
6. Channel your inner architecture critic at Ash Sakula (and get rewarded with free beer!)
If you fancy trying your hand at building your own home some day, check out Ash Sakula Architects' Lightbox House at the practice's studios on Hatton Wall. You'll be able to take a virtual tour of the house and even test elements of the design for yourself. And there's a free beer in it for those who come along and help critique the project. 5 Hatton Wall, EC1N 8HX. Wednesday, May 25, 6pm-7.15pm.