Celebrating its 10th year, Clerkenwell Design Week was yet again a hugely successful and positive event. Clerkenwell is a hub of creativity and no more so than during the third week in May!
CDW was an opportunity to showcase the leading UK and international companies and brands through showroom events, exhibitions and installations with visitors coming together in London for a few days to enjoy this sunny (they’ve only had rain once in the ten years) and celebratory event.
Partly due to the welcoming atmosphere, the week brings in over 34,000 attendees and over 300 exhibitors. There was also plenty to join in with, Herman Miller bought Aeron Hockey, a fantastically fun game of hockey – the twist being everyone was sat playing on their ergonomic Aeron office chair. CDW is about bringing design to life and they certainly achieved that as well as having a few laughs along the way.
One of our highlights of CDW 2019, were the 10th birthday celebrations. The organisers presented Decade, a beautifully designed collection of 10 candle like beacons, dotted around Clerkenwell to be discovered by visitors. Each one was individually designed by a chosen pioneer within the industry and also served the purpose of guiding visitors around in a uniquely playful way. A favourite was Russell Bamber’s candle which through the clever use of yellow laminate appeared to glow in the centre.
We picked up on a trend for organic asymmetrical forms from hospitality and workspace brands, elegant yet informal seating that offers the opportunity to inject a space with character. Open grid shelving was the dominant trend at the workplace stands this year, continuing the blurred lines between the workplace and the home, allowing for transparency, informality and display.
One of our favourite elements of CDW is the clever way the organisers bring the wide spread event together through the use of installations. Three of the most memorable for us included; Once Upon a Time, which drew on the dark history of the London Borough. This installation was a collaboration with UAL Chelsea College of Arts working with Graphic Design Communication students. They were given stories from six locations which they were to interpret into a graphical series, the seven winners had their work displayed at prominent locations during the week.
The ‘Be, Well’ Pavilion was another engaging installation, showcasing the performance and aesthetic qualities of galvanised steel. The Pavilion was designed to take you on a journey, starting in a space in which you found yourself surrounded with a fine filigree of elements that shine out, you then progressed into an enclosed space to connect with the materials, ending up at a portico inspired by the St. John’s Gate housing new Clerkenwell ‘Well’.
Last but not least, the slightly understated construction within St, John’s Gate arch that cleverly combined modern design culture within an historic space. It was a dense timber frame that used colour to draw the gaze upwards towards the original architecture. All three, for us, captured the essence of Clerkenwell Design Week.
All in all it was a wonderful event. Comfy shoes are a must if you are thinking of going next year as events and installations are spread out across the whole of Clerkenwell. We also fully recommend keeping your caffeine levels topped up, there is so much to see and do, you won’t want to miss anything. This really is an event that showcases the expertise of the UK design and manufacturing industry.
A must for your calendar.