It may be small but it packs a mighty punch. Here’s why Clerkenwell is one of our favourite places in the whole of London…
Everyone from media companies to charities to architects to people who make really cool (virtual) stuff is setting up camp in Clerkenwell. It’s easy to see why. Once a smoggy, industrial backwater for the printing and watch-making industries, Clerkenwell was gripped by affluenza in the 1990s. Now, it has everything going for it, from markets and boutique stores to yoga studios and artisan bakeries (and some of the finest office interiors London has to show …).
In honour of its fabulousness, here’s our rundown on why Clerkenwell is the sweetest spot for balancing work and play.
#1: It’s Super Creative
Clerkenwell is already home to the prestigious likes of Picfair (innovative marketplace where photographers can sell their pics around the world), Agent Provocateur (posh lingerie designer) and Kurt Geiger (covetable footwear for the fashionista crowd). Innovative startups YPlan, Citymapper, GoCardless and Buzzfeed UK were also born and raised in Clerkenwell’s ‘micro Silicon Valley.’
That’s just your starter for ten.
Clerkenwell is also home to many of London’s ahead-of-trend architecture firms, graphic design studios, branding agencies, furniture showrooms, niche publishers and even a commercial office fit out company or two! The studio of the late, great fashion titan Alexander McQueen is located in this neighbourhood. If that isn’t hip, nothing is.
Point being, that if you’re a creative business looking for envelope-pushing office interiors in London, we are not sure you can find more exciting companies to be around.
#2: It Has Monumental Architecture
Clerkenwell is bursting at the seams with quirky architecture – where else can you can stroll beside a baroque church beside a 1960s housing estate beside a 17th century market that smells of 21st century creole chicken? The area is steeped in history so deep you can almost see Fagin’s gang of delinquents picking a pocket or two in the Victorian nooks and side-winding alleyways. For bohemian, literary types, the architecture has a very attractive pedigree.
These days, many of the well-kept gothic buildings have been coolly repurposed into lofts and offices similar to those of Soho and Tribeca in Manhattan – perfect for feisty young companies looking for chic office interiors in London. The rents rival those of NYC too, unfortunately.
#3: It’s Connected
If you love the buzzy, urban feel of EC1 you’ll love even more that it’s connected. From here, it’s an easy walk to the Thames, the City, the East End and the West End. Farringdon, Barbican, Old Street, Angel and King’s Cross stations roughly bound the area, so commuting to your Clerkenwell office is quick and hassle-free. And if you fancy a cheeky mini-break to Paris, St Pancras International is just a quick, rentable Sadiq Cycle-ride away.
#4: You’ll Enter Hungry and Leave Happy
Did you know that Clerkenwell used to be called Little Italy thanks to the number of Italians who migrated and opened restaurants here? Or that Clerkenwell is famous as the location of London’s first gastropub? Foodsters have always been pampered in Clerkenwell, and these days you’ll find everything from old-fashioned pubs selling frothy pints and pigs’ ears to pot stickers and Michelin starred elegance. And no-one seems to realise that Clerkenwell has the best wineries, too.
#5: There’s Culture
Sadler’s Wells is an awesome place to go for dance in all its forms, or why not grab some lunchtime slam poetry at Free Word on Farringdon Road? And don’t miss the Karl Marx Memorial Library which, for some bewildering reason, has chosen to make an ironic stand against capitalism from the poshest, most extravagant building on the Green!
Clerkenwell is good at hiding its cultural treasures, and we bet you’ve never visited the holy water-filled ‘clerk’s well’ that gives the area its name. Passers by may give you strange looks as you stare at a toilet-shaped object through the window of Well House on Farringdon Lane, but trust this, what looks like a covered hole in the ground is actually a hidden gem of London history.
#5: Shop ’til you drop
Does shopping count as culture? We think it does! Check out Leather Lane for bric-a-brac and food pop ups and Exmouth market for its top indie fash stalls and authentic street grub (no chainstore-itis here). This is the place where artisans come to test new products – be the first to find out. Smithfield, still a working meat market, is the place to watch butchers hauling meat carcasses and haggling over prices. It isn’t one for the faint of stomach but you can’t design this sort of character. It happens by history!
#6: It’s Green
Every worker deserves to take a little R&R for themselves and we covet every bit of green space we find in this city. Spa Fields, a small park located right next to Exmouth Market, is a charming spot for clearing your head or grabbing a leafy lunchtime break. The place became infamous back in the 1700s as the site of one of the dingiest, most overcrowded burial sites in London, where gravediggers regularly jumped on bodies to cram them into the smallest place possible. Now it’s a tranquil park. Phew!
So, that’s it, our ultimate roundup to Clerkenwell offering you all the tidbits you need to find the best places to work and play.
Question is, are you cool enough to work here?
Please get in touch if you need some help to make your Clerkenwell office space fit for your growing business.