British design brand Tom Dixon collaborated with a church rather than renting a space at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, creating a permanent co-working space for the local community, donating and installing a large chandelier in the main space and setting up a soup kitchen.
“Andrew Baughen [the vicar at St James’ Church] sees the potential of making this unique building available to the daytime residents of Clerkenwell—the creative workforce and the residential community—to use as a resource,” said a statement from the brand.
“As the Church evolves and adapts to the new conditions of the 21st century, the opportunity of opening up to new audiences and unexpected collaborations becomes a necessity. We hope that a contemplative and spiritual space becomes more comfortable and accessible thanks to our small intervention.”
The Curve chandelier donated for the main space is a geometrical light made using Tom Dixon’s trademark thin sheet etched metal fabrication.
The co-working space is a permanent fixture in the church and will be available to people who live and work in the area as a way to increase engagement with the church. “The vision we have is to be a church where everyone feels welcome and valued whether they are used to going to church or not,” said Baughen. The soup kitchen that provided refreshments for visitors throughout the festival will also remain in place as part of the legacy of the event.
Alongside the permanent interventions, the British design brand, which was established by its eponymous founder in 2002, was showing a new collection fresh from its Milan debut. “The extraordinary volumes, the nooks and crannies of this classic 18th century church allowed us to demonstrate our new lighting and furniture products against a series of historic backdrops.”
Flask is a series of three pendant lights inspired by the geometry of chemical laboratory glassware—a cylinder, a sphere and a cone that work in mixed groups or more formal arrangements. “Each comprises two components—a clear rippled glass lens which produces a series of concentric, luminous rings, and a black glass shade finished in the latest oily iridescent colour,” said the designer. “Unfamiliar in contemporary interiors, lustre and iridescence were much prized by the ceramicists and glassmakers of the arts and crafts period. Now that the latest technology allows us to create this effect in many new ways, they are set for a return.”
Fade is a blow-molded polycarbonate light cannon. “Its teardrop shape focuses the lightbulb’s output into a satisfyingly round and luminous circle, acting as the ultimate oversized spotlight,” says Tom Dixon. “The metalized finish is unusual as it graduates from completely reflective to transparent in an even fade along the body of the lamp.” St James Church is open 9AM-5PM Monday through Friday.