The Playbox - Clerkenwell Design Week

The Play Box Daytime View

 

Shape London have been working in collaboration with Fraher Architects on a bespoke compact installation for the 2017 Clerkenwell Design Week. Shape London create bespoke furniture from concept design, to manufacture and installation. This creative collaboration has allowed Shape to combine the director's previous architectural, design and joinery expertise. As regular visitors to Clerkenwell Design Week, we sought to be involved this year with the aim of creating something that can be enjoyed by all users, whilst supporting the social dynamic that is inherent to the festival.

The Playbox was initially presented as a 1200mm x 600mm unit, based on a standard double cupboard. The concept was to manipulate and activate each elevation in every detail. The Playbox would store items that support the user's experience, facilitating a place to entertain, socialise and play. It was conceived as a mobile unit that would visit different sites during the festival around Clerkenwell. The Playbox will be made at Shape London's 5000 sqft workshop and embodies a number of working details, each integrated handle design will vary, each door will open uniquely, with the box reverting to its original form when not in use.

After receiving interest from the Clerkenwell events team, we started to think about how the Playbox could assist events, how it would be managed and where it would be located. We believed that multiple play boxes could form different characters around Clerkenwell, distinguished by size and build material. Whilst having individually distinct persona's, they would reference back to one another and serve as visual markers around the festival.

Clerkenwell sought for the first playbox to be located in Design Fields, inhabited by Newby Teas for the duration of the festival. A fresh conversation with CDW and Newby Teas commenced whereby the Playbox grew into a 'Big Sister,' installation, increasing to a 1200mm x 1200mm unit. The Shape London design team started to look into the influence of antique tea caddies and carpentry that has supported the tea industry over the centuries. This Playbox adopts the character of an ornate modern day tea caddy which is beautifully yet discreetly decorated. The Big Sister will be made from black multi-wall, a versatile and sleek material which has been kindly provided by James Latham. She will open to serve the tea and when closed continues to sit as a bespoke piece of furniture to be admired from every angle.

Soon after, Pentagon and Peronda Tiles sought to collaborate with our team to facilitate a second Playbox. They wanted to inhabit the original Playbox design for the duration of the festival and after discussions with CDW, Brewhouse Yard became the home to the 'Little Brother' Playbox. The Playbox was to provide the same opportunity to socialise and entertain as initially intended, but would also provide Peronda with a place to exhibit their work and create a play event of their own. We thought to clad this Playbox in cork to create a textured contrast to the tiles which line the inside.

All our work at Shape London goes through a bespoke design process where all opportunities are explored through sketching and computer modelling, before being modelled in SolidWorks ready for fabrication.

Shape London utilises the latest digital fabrication techniques and machinery as well as drawing on years of bench joinery experience. Ultimately, we believe the precision of digital fabrication and the craft of bench joinery should work in harmony to create a truly unique and beautifully crafted piece of timeless furniture. The Playbox will be digitally fabricated to demonstrate the opportunities that modern methods of construction enable us to create, whilst showcasing the best of hand joinery detailing. We will be posting a Go Pro video from our workshop showing the production of the Playbox once complete.

We will be hosting a series of creative events during the festival, please check our website for the latest schedule.

We look forward to meeting you all at Clerkenwell Design Week - come see what we see.

The Shape London and Fraher Team

Sponsors:

James Latham have kindly provided all sheet material for both Playboxes.

Current Phase have kindly installed all electrics on both Playboxes.

Designer. Maker. User.

 
 

Three is the magic number. Designer, Maker, User.  

With the very nature of working on bespoke design projects, each brief  is unique, focusing on the Client's specific requirements and preferences. This can often be born out of a very definite and well-researched design brief, or sometimes can be much more of a protracted design process stemming from a collaborative design approach between the User, Designer and Maker.

Most Shape designs commence with a quick fluid sketch to scope out the basis of the design project.  This often starts with the configuration requirements of the pieces of furniture, closely followed by the concept of the pieces. For example,  fitted furniture may be a progression of timber finishes around the building.

Once the configuration of the furniture is agreed,  the Shape studio team start to experiment with contrasting materials and finishes.  As our work will form part of a wider considered internal context,  Shape will often take references from the existing material context.  Our designers like to be playful with palettes, which may result in an existing material being used and re-imagined in a different way.

 

 

3D Sketch of proposed joinery and materials

3D Sketch of proposed joinery and materials

 

 

 

After the final design workshop with our Clients, the interior package is handed over to the in-house modelling and fabrication team. Shape's technical supervisor works with the design, creating an effective method of crafting and cutting the furniture. Computer modelling and CNC cutting enables our designers to apply a high level of precision to all individual pieces which does not detract from the 'hand made', tactile nature of all Shape joinery. 

Once the fabrication drawings are agreed the joinery is cut in our workshop and assembled by a highly skilled team of cabinet makers and finishers.  It is here that ever corner, joint, fixing and cabinet face is carefully checked, before  being sent to site for fitting.  

Designing does not finish with the assembly of the furniture. As a team of Designers, Technicians, Architects and Craftsmen, Shape prides itself on revisiting work to refine design process, exploring a previous detail helps to reinforce our own learning.

 

Proposal for joinery detailing materials

Proposal for joinery detailing materials

The shape of things to come

 
  Welcome to Shape. It has been an exciting month for us all in the run up to launching our new venture. We have many plans for the months ahead which we are eager to share with you. After branding our new business, securing new suppliers and upgrading our machinery, we have finally moved into our new workshop in Woolwich. With our new facilities we are thrilled at the prospect of increasing our capacity and building our in-house joinery team. We warmly welcome two new carpenters to our team, along with a new workshop assistant. In addition, we are completing the fitout of two of our largest residential and commercial projects to date, which we are keen to share with you come Autumn.   All things wood and joinery aside, we anticipate opening our first showroom next year, along with a few home accessories (chopping boards ahoy) and seasonal  dining events with guest chefs. We hope you are able to be part of our journey at some point, whether you are a client, supplier or simply interested in our process and products. In the meantime, please follow Shapelondon on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest updates and for a sneak peak of our latest projects.  Put simply; this is the Shape of things to come and we hope to meet you soon. 

 

Welcome to Shape.

It has been an exciting month for us all in the run up to launching our new venture. We have many plans for the months ahead which we are eager to share with you.

After branding our new business, securing new suppliers and upgrading our machinery, we have finally moved into our new workshop in Woolwich. With our new facilities we are thrilled at the prospect of increasing our capacity and building our in-house joinery team. We warmly welcome two new carpenters to our team, along with a new workshop assistant. In addition, we are completing the fitout of two of our largest residential and commercial projects to date, which we are keen to share with you come Autumn.  

All things wood and joinery aside, we anticipate opening our first showroom next year, along with a few home accessories (chopping boards ahoy) and seasonal  dining events with guest chefs. We hope you are able to be part of our journey at some point, whether you are a client, supplier or simply interested in our process and products. In the meantime, please follow Shapelondon on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest updates and for a sneak peak of our latest projects. 

Put simply; this is the Shape of things to come and we hope to meet you soon.