Why should brands take the time to visit this vibrant event?
For Trend-Monitor, Clerkenwell Design Week offers a unique opportunity to see innovative product designs from up-and-coming talent first-hand. We find it enlightening talking to young designers to understand their take on current and developing trends, and to understand the thought process behind their innovations.Clerkenwell Design Week offers a unique opportunity to see innovative product designs from up-and-coming talent first-hand @CDWfestival #designtrends Click To Tweet
This year marked Clerkenwell Design Week’s 10th anniversary and saw the event partner with more than 100 design showrooms, and offer almost 400 events – from talks and product launches to workshops and parties – across the vibrant EC1 area.
This is not your average trade show – it’s a sprawling collection of pop-up showrooms and workspaces, along with design projects and street spectacles thoughtfully intertwined with the local history of Clerkenwell.
The Platform exhibition, which took place in the subterranean vaults under Clerkenwell’s notorious House of Detention, was one of seven exhibitions and a highlight of the event, showcasing a curated collection of works from up-and-coming designers.
Among them was Interior Architecture Design, which was exhibiting its Hex furniture, a bespoke storage system in the form of a room divider, consisting of height-adjustable hexagon-shaped tables, stools, shelves, drawers and planters. Intended for use in a commercial setting, designer Jeanette Abrahamson said it could just as well work in a residential open-plan setting, as it offers complete adaptability.
Flexibility was again in evidence with Evan James Design’s modular surface systems that offer pattern, colour and texture to walls, and bring acoustic advantages to open-plan environments.
Elsewhere at the show, Italian brand La Cividina was exhibiting its asymmetrical designer armchairs and sofas and offering a polished take on modular furniture.
And Kitchen Architecture had an impressive display of its modular outdoor kitchen – the result of a partnership with Roshults.
Sustainability was a theme across the show, and one of the street installations was The BottleHouse, a collaborative effort to transform recycled plastic bottles into watertight, thermally comfortable shelters.
Woodmancote Retro was showcasing its mid-century-style bar stools that have colourful seats made from recycled shampoo bottles.
Silicastone was exhibiting its recycled surface material made from glass, ceramics and mineral waste. Silicastone comes in the form of tiles and solid surfaces, although the brand was also showcasing its brand-new fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles – a product so new that it hasn’t actually been given a name yet.
As well as a lively line-up of speakers including Neisha Crosland, Benjamin Hubert, Christoph Behling, Sally Storey, and many more, there were historical guided walking tours of the area.
However, Clerkenwell is not only rich in history – it’s home to a large number of resident design showrooms, all of which had thrown open their doors to welcome visitors.
With so many fragments, trend spotting is not as straightforward as at the trade shows where everything is under one roof. However, the organisers make a conscious effort to showcase emerging talent, and it’s a great way to see interesting ideas at first-hand, and get to talk to the enthusiastic creators about their designs.
All in all Clerkenwell Design Week is well worth the visit – just make sure you have a good map, a comfortable pair of shoes, and a willingness to get caught up in the exuberant festival vibe.