graphic street art tells historic tales at clerkenwell design week 2019

graphic street art tells historic tales at clerkenwell design week 2019

returning for its 10th edition, clerkenwell design week 2019 celebrates the rich yet sometimes dark historical tales of its neighborhood with a collection of temporary graphical street installations. titled ‘once upon a time’, the series details stories from six locations that have been interpreted into highly visual designs by graphic design communication students from UAL. the seven winning entries were selected by a judging panel, including max fraser, CDW content editor; priya khanchandani, ICON editor; and david barnett, chelsea college of art course leader, BA graphic design communication


from radicals to prison bombings, relive the ‘once upon a time’ stories by joining a number of free historical walking tours in partnership with lansdown’s london, who specialize in guided walks within clerkenwell. the tours will pass all seven graphical installations, providing a modern memorial for each event. the street art will be open for the public but, for locations and details of each design, find out more and register for clerkenwell design week 2019, here.

smithfield market by carrie maxwell
all images courtesy of clerkenwell design week
(main image: st. james church by alistair ramage)



as a meat market since 1846, carrie maxwell creates a mosaic of hands at smithfield market. ‘hand is a tool of tools’ said aristotle, the design celebrates the backbone of the location – its workers. the idea symbolizes that everyone is welcome by the gesture and direction of the workers hands.

farringdon station by alba skottowe



as the location for the world’s first underground railway, alba skottowe marks a highly informative illustration outside farringdon station. the image represents the old metropolitan railway line with the original stops marked along its winding path. this graphic also reflects the timeline of the railway’s history, where additional imagery depicts the various events that happened.

passing alley by rory brown



within clerkenwell’s winding fabric of old streets and buildings, rory brown has created a graphical representation of the history of the passing alley. it is located just a short distance from the old baptist’s head pub, where newly convicted criminals being escorted from court to prison would stop for a final drink. it is said that many used the alley afterwards to relieve themselves, giving the passage the nickname of ‘pissing alley’.

passing alley by maxim cook



in the same alley, maxim cook creates an interactive project that encompasses the past and future of the location. visitors are able to scan each QR code on the objects to find out more about the alley. facts and stories from the past few centuries will be unearthed.

jerusalem passage by woon ko



by woon ko, the installation at jerusalem passage celebrates a former resident, thomas britton, and the quite unique occasions held at his place. it is claimed that the coal merchant fitted out the loft of his shop as a tiny concert hall to put on informal performances, which later gave him the nickname of ‘the musical coalman’. taking inspiration from this, the graphic incorporates an interactive piece where visitors can scan the QR code to listen to a music score.

st. james church by alistair ramage



at st. james’ church garden, alistair ramage makes a modern memorial to honor the 66 martyrs who were burned alive at the stake for having protestant beliefs. whilst displaying the names of those killed, the design references the geometric style of the church’s stained glass windows.

house of detention by natasha lopez



the final installation details the very rich history of tales of failed escapes and destruction at the house of detention. in 1867, an attempted escape from the prison went terribly wrong as a bomb ruptured a nearby gas main and killed 12 people. known as ‘the clerkenwell outrage’, the event has been remembered through natasha lopez’s design, where a geometric illustration presents a modern graphic of the explosion.



remember to register for the design festival, here.


project info:


name: once upon a time

event: clerkenwell design week 2019

designers: rory brown, maxim cook, alistair ramage, alba skottowe, carrie maxwell, woon ko, and natasha lopez

collaborators: chelsea college of arts, UAL

partners: lansdown’s london

judges: max fraser, CDW content editor; priya khanchandani, ICON editor; and david barnett, chelsea college of art course leader, BA graphic design communication

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