Be there or be square

A 9 foot robot by the Mechanical Alchemist standing tall on Clerkenwell Road

The streets were buzzing yesterday as the inaugural three day Clerkenwell Design Week got under way. 

Anyone can go along - it's free and you can register on the day - and I urge you to make the trip. The main hub is the spectacular Farmiloe's Building on St John Street which is housing a pop-up exhibition with displays by Tom Dixon, SCP, The Design Museum and many more. Plus all the local design companies and bars and restaurants are open too - just look out for the pink posters.

I heard a talk by architect George Clarke (off the telly) who talked mainly about his work overseas and the optimism and energy he meets there, versus the pessimism of the UK. His biggest UK issue being that there's less incentive to convert old buildings for re-use - of which there are many lying empty - as you have to pay VAT, whereas new builds are exempt.

I tried out a new product called the Ovei - a seating pod/private cocoon for surfing the net while at an exhibition. Although falling asleep inside it seemed like a major hazard - that and the door, which I hit my head on as I clambered out. 

I ate at Giant Robot (no relation to the one above) a very cool, and tasty, new diner-style restaurant serving Italian-American style tapas - it sounds weird, it's not. 

Giant Robot diner, 45 Clerkenwell Road, EC1