The trick is to shop where the cool birds flock
Look up at the trees around Clerkenwell, EC1's ultra-cool "creatives" village, and you will see a new community emerging, not of humans but birds. Made from hundreds of bird boxes, "Spontaneous City" by London Fieldworks provides designer nesting and feeding spaces, but also alludes to the human condition, Clerkenwell's history and its reemergence as a design hub.
The installation is one of a number around the area, designed to entice the public into the events at this year's Clerkenwell Design Week.
"The Emotion Maker" by Plastique Fantistique, an inflatable "mini-concert hall" in St John's Square, is another. There, the public can select the instruments and players for their unique concert designed to stimulate their emotions.
In front of Clerkenwell Gate they can interact with Lulu Guinness's installation "Be a Pin Up" making an impression of their body in the 8,000 aluminium pins.
Other draws include the opening of the House of Detention, a 17th century prison rebuilt in 1844, which hasn't been open to the public for more than a decade. For the festival it will house an interactive live drawing space with Lizzie Mary Cullen and the results of a 24-hour challenge to assorted young designers organised by design duo Hendzel and Hunt. The challenge involved sourcing reclaimable materials around Peckham and producing a collection of one-off objects.
The venue is also the launch pad for the new RAD Gallery. RAD's installations are underpinned by commentaries on contemporary society such as stunning chandeliers by Dari Bae, which contain hair from the factory workers inside glass bulbs, and a white table made of sugar by Nicholas Paget. They are also presenting "Consumaker" in the Farmiloe building.
This is an interactive make-your-own environment from standardised parts by Pal Rodenius.
The Farmiloe building will also showcase consumer orientated companies from Anglepoise to (Ligne Roset), and showrooms around the area will open their doors to the public.
More than 50 British and international manufacturers will be showing their latest product and furniture design innovations around Clerkenwell.
A number will be launching new products and some will be showing products that were introduced at the Milan furniture fair in April.
The three-day festival also includes a programme of debates, discussions and street parties.
Clerkenwell Design Week (clerkenwelldesignweek.com) is from May 24 to 26, 2011.