Conran: Our Creative City

The last few days reminded us once again of how great it is to be in London as the city continues on its path to being the most creative Capital in the world.

Holly-Anne Rolfe from our Brand Development team, Conran & Company, takes us on a short tour of two fabulous events she visited yesterday that could only take place in our great City.

First off a meeting near the Clerkenwell Design Week event meant I could take a look around the open-air displays and exhibitions and see lots of things I had been reading about since the Milan Furniture Fair last month.

I loved the branding for the Design Week this year, really fun, and it’s so nice to see a creative community ‘at work’.

Wandering past St John’s Square I was drawn in by a man on an old Routemaster and the Forest of Lights installation of giant floor lamps showcasing new illustrations from some of the most cutting edge illustrators around.

I recognised the ice cream cloud van from last year’s RCA graduate show – although this time they seemed to be without a vital ingredient.

The new Nissan cube on display also provided another Conran memory: our redesign of this classic automobile a few years ago.

I was desperate to try the ‘chairless’ after seeing pictures of people sitting cross-legged in these brightly coloured contraptions all over the blogosphere and reading about Natasha from Conran Contracts trying one out in Milan. The Vitra showroom on Clerkenwell Road was full of people looking slightly sheepish as they stepped up to the platform to try this deceptively simple device. It’s pretty good – after a bit of shifting around – and a must for summer festival going.

The Farmiloe building was impressive; a great ex-industrial space perfect for showcasing lots of interesting lighting and furniture. I particularly liked the FlexibleLove models in the courtyard space:  pieces that unfold like an accordion made from recycled materials that can be adapted for small or larger groups, great for impromptu gatherings in the garden.

The Design Museum had a selection of their designers in residence there too – I remembered Asif Khan’s Harvest chair from its time in the Design Museum tank on the riverside near our offices.

Next thing I was whizzing over to West London for the private view of SHOW 1 of this year’s Royal College of Art Graduate Exhibition 2010 sponsored by Terence’s Conran Foundation.

Trying to cross London in a humid rush hour is never fun – especially with no trains going Westbound on the Circle Line.

After an impromptu visit to Edgware Road and a hop on the no 27 bus I entered the RCA building underneath the bright vermillion ‘H’ and was immediately reminded of the last time I set foot in this illustrious institution – when CONRAN sponsored the private view of Show 2 last June which I helped organise. Slightly less stress on this occasion I’m glad to say!

Eleanor Bolton’s bold statement necklaces made from coiled up rope were absolutely gorgeous. A friend made a comment that you’d think could easily sum up these strange objects (‘noose’, I believe) but in actual fact they were delightfully light and squashy to the touch, like those large, spirally marshmallows.

The hybrid objects created by Jasleen Kaur as part of her ‘britesh’ range investigating the cultures of Britain and India were also very intriguing – like a weird 3d version of a consequences game knives and forks were topped or tailed with paint brushes or spoons; a smart pair of city shoes were crossed with flipflops – smart-casual taken to the extreme.

Terence had visited the show earlier in the day and had the following words of advice for our young creatives.

At a time when headlines seem endlessly made by MP’s expenses, bankers bonuses and a failing economy, we need our young artists and designers to shine more brightly than ever. We need you to be optimistic, brave and have a tenacious belief in your work because the creative industries are vital to the UK economy. We want you to be confident and help create a future that works, looks fantastic and has a very human centre.

Free beer this time too – thanks Terence!



28 May – 6 June, 11am–8pm daily, free admission

Ceramics & Glass; Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery; Photography and Printmaking

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU


1 Comment

Filed under Conran & Company, Conran and London, Conran Columns: Tips for a great London weekend, TERENCE CONRAN

One response to “Conran: Our Creative City

  1. Pingback: RCA show continues… « Eleanor Bolton's Blog

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