Tall Townhouses



We are excited to be working on an installation for this year's Clerkenwell Design Week.  Following on from the success of The Playbox last year, we have partnered with Hakwood, who have been involved in feature installations at CDW for the past two years.

Shape has been asked to work on designs for an installation to sit by the entrance to Spa Fields.  The installation acts as the first of the 'Clerkenwell Features,' to visitors coming from the North of the festival, welcoming them to Design Fields and CDW.

We kicked the design process off with a historical investigation of the Park to see if events of the past could inform a site-specific installation. It seems that Spa Fields Park has a very rich history. During the 19th century, the fields were described as having been 'the summer's evening resort of the townspeople, who came hither to witness the rude sports that were in vogue, such as duck-hunting, prize fighting and bull baiting'. In the 1800's the site was run as a burial ground, that became so overcrowded, became a target for grave robbers. The burial ground was finally closed in 1853 and in 1886 was transformed into a public park. The consistent story throughout the centuries was how enclosed Spa Fields Park was, which explains why the tightly knitted residential fabric around the site is so important.  

Looking for a more upbeat influence, we started to look at what Hakwood and Shape could bring to the site from their homes of South East London and Holland. After a weekend in Amsterdam, it became apparent Holland is synonymous for its 'tall Dutch townhouses'. It quickly became clear there were strong links between the Dutch Townhouse and the Georgian urban design of Clerkenwell. Shape has recently moved its design office to Dragonfly Place in South East London, which again take on a tall terraced house form, striking a strong resemblance to the built environment of Holland and Clerkenwell.

After a number of days of working on design ideas in the studio, we started to develop our approach to creating a pop-up street scene of tall townhouses to connect all three localities of Clerkenwell, Dragonfly Place and Holland. We also wanted to highlight the growing design community in South East London. In particular, the Architectural community that Shape is working with to deliver bespoke joinery projects for. To activate the pop up streetscape, we suggested to Hakwood that we engage with the local architectural community, to design bespoke interiors for the terrace.  This would then highlight the growth of the South East London Architectural community to the city and international market beyond. It also highlights the close relationship between Architect, Supplier (Hakwood) and Maker (Shape).

Designing across countries can be challenging however from the initial concept idea, Hakwood has fully embraced the design and premise of the installation. We have worked together to present a feature for Clerkenwell that embodies the nature of the festival. We will share with you more images as we develop the design but until then please see some precedents from our concept sheet.

We are excited about highlighting the design community in SE London, all studio below will design and curate an interior. 

Gruff Architects, Selenky Parsons, Fraher Architects, Stolon Studio, Bam, Grey GriffithsGreen Tea