From the sedate to the salacious, Clerkenwell’s historic pleasure gardens were brought sensationally back to life for Clerkenwell Design Week by international design practice HASSELL and Scandinavian seating designer HÅG.

The pleasure garden, ‘Sensorium’, explored how we view and experience the world around us, whether through everyday technology, or through our physical presence in a space. HASSELL and HÅG played with smells, textures and sound, leading visitors to question how the senses influence their experience. 

At the heart of the Sensorium will sat a mysterious black space which offers guests unexpected – even voyeuristic - perspectives of the surrounding pleasure garden. Perceptions are altered and manipulated through a series of ‘peep holes’ and senses are heightened or removed to provoke visitors to question what makes their viewpoint unique. 

The Sensorium was about dichotomy and contrast. From the isolating black box to the explosive and vibrant pleasure garden, it blurred the boundaries between historic and the contemporary, the staged and the natural, the virtual and the physical. It was a journey through smoke and mirrors, the absurd and the real. 

The creative collaboration between the architects, interior designers and urban designers at HASSELL and the internationally acclaimed furniture designers of HÅG, went beyond looking at purely the built environment to create spaces – public or private – that entice and delight, challenge and intrigue. It took a new perspective on how people shape design and how design responds to people. 

Watch the film here