Exclusive Interviews with the Minds Behind the CDW Landmark Installations: Lauris Svarups, Jestico + Whiles

Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) stands as a premier highlight in the UK’s commercial design landscape, annually transforming London’s Clerkenwell into a vibrant hub of creativity and innovation. The festival, which attracts designers, architects, and enthusiasts worldwide, features an array of showroom events, exhibitions, and engaging activities.

Central to the festival’s allure are the commissioned installations, strategically placed throughout the event; these installations not only challenge and expand perceptions of design but also act as landmarks which tie the sprawling event together. Crafted to inspire and entertain, these installations transform the streets of Clerkenwell into a dynamic, immersive design journey.

As Clerkenwell Design Week unfolds, Design Insider is thrilled to lead the conversation with exclusive, in-depth interviews with four of the talented designers commissioned to create these landmark installations. Our series continues with a fascinating interview with Lauris Svarups, Architectural Designer at Jestico + Whiles.

Lauris Svarups, Architectural Designer at Jestico + Whiles

Could you give us a brief introduction to Jestico + Whiles and the ethos behind your architectural and interior design practice?

Jestico + Whiles is an employee-owned architecture and design practice, based in Clerkenwell and Prague. We’re driven by curiosity and a passion for design that focuses on social value, humanity, and sustainability. We work in a wide range of sectors, specialising in education, housing, hospitality and science and tech. We’ve been part of the Clerkenwell community since 2017.

Jestico + Whiles x PORCELANOSA interactive installation, Aperture CDW 2017

Your design approach is known for its sustainability and innovation. How do these principles guide your projects and creative process?

Our practice has a proud history of environmentally conscious design – from our founders tearing up newspapers to insulate the Friends of the Earth headquarters in the 1980s, to designing the first BREEAM Excellent-rated office building in the 1990s. Given the urgency and scale of the climate crisis, we believe that sustainability should be the number one driving force for everyone working in architecture and the built environment. As signatories of both the RIBA 2023 Challenge and Architects Declare, we’re committed to sustainable design.

This collaboration involves Bolon, known for their innovative flooring solutions. Can you tell us more about their work?

Bolon is best known for its woven flooring, which is created from textile waste. Since starting production in Stockholm in 1949, it has grown into a global design brand, but it remains family-run. Bolon was really ahead of the curve in its reuse of waste materials, and sustainability is still central to everything it does – its factory in Ulricehamn is entirely carbon-neutral. Their London office is next door to our studio, which is kitted out with Bolon tiles. We’re excited to be collaborating with them for CDW this year.

Jestico + Whiles and Porcelanosa Group with Studio Fractal and Architainment Lighting immersive experience at CDW 2019 — Pareidolia.

Clerkenwell Design Week is a highlight for many in the design industry. What role does it play for Jestico + Whiles, and why is it a significant event for your team?

We’ve been involved in CDW for a number of years now. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity to meet fellow design enthusiasts, communicate the work we do, and throw a party! But the process of developing our installation each year also gives us the chance to test our ideas and think outside the box. That’s fun and challenging in itself, but it also informs our client work in unexpected ways. For example, some of the ideas behind last year’s installation, Fata Morgana, found their way into the design of W Edinburgh, our recently completed landmark hotel in Scotland.

Fata Morgana, in collaboration with Studio Fractal and Architainment Lighting for CDW 2023

We’re intrigued by your installation in collaboration with Bolon. Can you detail the concept and what visitors can expect?

This year, we’ll be continuing what has become a bit of a tradition for Jestico + Whiles installations at CDW. We’re creating a spatial sculpture that transforms into a light installation at night, forming the centrepiece of our party. Visitors will be able to walk through it, interact with it, and even reassemble it. By borrowing Bolon’s production offcuts before they’re recycled and combining them together with a temporary structure that already has a preassigned construction afterlife, our aim is to create something unexpected and sustainable.

Jestico + Whiles and Bolon concept sketch, CDW 2024

What aspects of partnering with Bolon were particularly exciting or beneficial for this project?

Bolon’s history, material innovation and dedication to evolving its product line are all really impressive. Our conversations with them about sustainable production and waste material reuse in the development of this project have inspired us in our thinking around construction material life cycles. On top of that, the opportunity to collaborate with our Clerkenwell neighbours and transform our shared courtyard space was too good to pass up.

Jestico + Whiles and Bolon life cycle, CDW 2024

You’ve mentioned collaborations with Studio Fractal and Architainment for this project. How do their products enhance the installation’s design?

Studio Fractal and Architainment’s lighting work on our installations brings a whole new dimension to them – it’s amazing to see the structure transform from day into night. Their involvement has been key to the success of our installations at CDW so far, from the pulsating underwater field of seaweed we created for last year’s Fata Morgana, to the hypnotising Pareidolia installation before that. We’re excited to work with them again this year.

Jestico + Whiles and Bolon installation with Studio Fractal and Architainment, CDW 2024

Sustainability is at the core of this installation. How do you hope to advance the sustainability conversation through this project, and what key messages do you wish visitors to take away?

Our installation this year is informed by three key ideas: borrowed waste, preassigned afterlife, and the lifecycle of materials. It’s becoming increasingly clear that this way of thinking about materials is a necessity in architecture and construction. Our aim is to challenge visitors to see materials not as a single-purpose and disposable, but reusable objects with multiple chapters in their lifecycles. Teamwork and collaboration is crucial in realising that philosophy.

Finally, can you share some insights or teasers about what Jestico + Whiles has planned for the near future?

We’re coming up to a major milestone as a practice, and have been thinking about how to celebrate that later this year. Keep your eye out for another event at Sutton Yard in the coming months!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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