Sandwiched between the grime of London’s Holloway Road on one side and the Islington Council dump on the other, Highbury Studios is not the likeliest site for a groovy showcase of contemporary imagemaking, but, if you happen to be in London, the Designersblock: illustrate show, on as part of the London Design Festival, is well worth a trip up the Piccadilly Line.
Showcasing work from around 80 illustrators, artists, designers and film-makers, the show is spread over a 4 acre site of recently redeveloped docklands-style flats. At the base of each block are commercial units, or rather the shells of units still awaiting, presumably, the kind of retail outlets, bars and so on that will bring some much-needed life to the area. Designers block have taken over 40 of these units, as well as the large warehouse-type space of the Electric Lighting Station, until 23 September.
Imagemakers were given space free after applying to the organisers. Visiting on a Saturday morning, things are understandably quiet, especially considering that the opening night party, attended by over a thousand people, finished just a few hours before. After a short walk up from Holloway Road tube station, visitors are greeted with a row of whitewashed walls covered in images. Oliver Hibert’s stripey-shirted monster (above and top) which serves as a logo for the event points the way, with each artist’s space signposted outside. Inside, the spaces are bare – dusty concrete floors and exposed brickwork.
Some exhibitors, such as Paul Davis, have merely affixed posters to the walls:
Others have created more complex installations, such as Peter Ibruegger:
And Sarah Lloyd:
Suzanne Duffy (email@example.com) was one of the few dedicated souls who had braved their hangovers to attend their unit this morning. She’s hoping that the show will result in more commissions for her large format work on fabric and paper, here displayed wrapped around fluorescent tubes hanging from the ceiling (see above) and is committed to being there every day until it ends on 23 September.
Further on up toward the dump, the walls of the Electric Lighting Station (entrance above) are covered with the results of last night’s Secret Wars battle of the graffiti artists.
And if that wasn’t enough, the 50 Years of Helvetica show is in the basement of another building just round the corner. Fantastic.
Designersblock: illustrate is open every day, from 10am until 7pm, with a party on Friday 21 from 7-12.