Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Clerkenwell Design Week is an event that showcases the leading UK and International brands and companies. They are presented in a series of showrooms, exhibitions as well as special installations that take place across Clerkenwell. This year it happened on 22-24 May. This was my first time going and even though I read articles about this event, I was still quite unsure of what to expect. Since the exhibitions and showrooms were not under one roof, it might have seem that it would be difficult to get around and find the different places. Thankfully, there were a lot of signs stuck onto the paths as well as standing up near the different showrooms to help the visitors get around with no problems. Clerkenwell Design Week was divided into 7 different exhibitions; Design Fields, Platform, Project, Elements, British Collection, Detail and Light. This division enabled the visitors to go see the things that interest them the most as each of the exhibitions had a different aim in mind. For example, Design Fields showcased leading furniture, lighting and product design from around the world, Platform showcased the work of the world's most exciting up-and-coming design talent and Project exhibited a selection of contract furniture, lighting and surface brands from around the world. I have visited quite a few showrooms, however my favourites were Allermuir, Deadgood, Frovi and Vitra (which I don't think was a part of the Clerenwell Design Week but was near the other showrooms). Within the Vitra showroom I was able to see some of design classics such as the Artek stool 60 or the Charles and Eames lounge chair, but I also discovered new designs such as the Stool-Tool.
The lighting exhibition was impressive with the materials ranging from metal, to plastic and paper. Many were playing on the idea of shadows which added extra effect to the overall presentation of the lamp. Big, chunky bulbs were a trend seen among a few stands with them being the central focus of the lamps. My favourites were the ones that incorporated some brass or copper detailing as it gave the lamp a more elegant and sophisticated look. However, the ones made out of cardboard have their own effect as they linked in closely with the idea of sustainable design which many designers are now considering within their design process.
Some of my favourite designs were storage units. Many of them mixed different materials together to achieve a varied texture as well as an unconventional look. In particular, the clear acrylic drawer as well as the 3 drawer set with the turned legs have caught my eye. The simple shapes of these storage pieces are made to be unconventional because of the materials used.
Organic shapes, 'blow-up' looks also seemed to be trend among some of the displayed furniture. This shape makes them look lightweight but still comfortable and functional. The bigger pieces such as the sofa would look great as a statement piece.
In addition, another trend spotted among a few companies was the high top sofas that allow the user to separate themselves from other; perhaps when doing work or relaxing. My favourite was the Scafell Cave designed by Deadgood. It is a modular sofa system that can be specified in 12 configurations enabling the user to suit it to their needs and the needs of their home.
During CDW, companies exhibited detail pieces such as door knobs. They varied with their designs as well as the materials that they were made from. Outdoor furniture were also exhibited and a rocking chair for your garden was my favourite as I usually see rocking chairs but for the inside of our homes and not the outside.
Overall, the Clerkenwell Design Week was filled with a variety of products that can act as inspiration but also it was a great place for me to look for companies that I could potentially work for during my year in industry. I will definitely come back next year.