Round-up of Clerkenwell Design Week 2024

Having all hung up our statement-pink lanyards for another year, it is time to sit back and reflect on some of the conversations and collections that made an impact at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024…

Jestico + Whiles and Bolon Clerkenwell installation

The Clerkenwell mood of the week was precisely that – all about the mood. How to make it, embrace it and improve it. Midweek saw Hotel Designs host a panel discussion in collaboration with Franklite where Editor Sophie Harper sat down with a group of designers to dig a little deeper into the psychological impact of design on mood – both good and bad – while exploring the ways in which design can be used to elevate the guest or user experience.

This theme was repeated in various iterations across Clerkenwell and encompassed thoughts broadly on biophilic design and sustainability, as well as focussing in on the individual and our responses to colour, texture and lighting. The collaborative installation from Jestico + Whiles with Bolon and Studio Fractal, explored several of these themes as it invited us to walk through it, interact with it, and even reassemble it.

visitors to CDW interacting with light installation by Jestico + Whiles

Image credit: Sam Frost.

“Since we moved into our studios in the heart of Clerkenwell in 2017, our installations and launch parties for CDW have become special milestones for all of us at the practice,” commented James Dilley, Director at Jestico + Whiles. “It’s a true festival atmosphere, where the energy of the entire quarter comes together, through organised chaos, to capture the spirit of community, collaboration and conviviality in Clerkenwell.”

Top of my list at CDW is always LIGHT – the subterranean  installation in the House of Detention which is the perfect setting for innovative lighting designs to shine. This year was no exception, showcasing a range of designs from the re-invention of some classics, through to the reimagining of discarded materials. Designer Tabitha Bargh presented her new lighting collection titled ‘Poly’. Reimagining sustainability, Bargh utilises waste estate agent advertising boards made from Correx, typically unsustainable and non-biodegradable polypropylene. On the other end of the spectrum, designer Jo Andersson mesmerised us with her Light Vessel – a handcrafted glass vessel that integrates movement and light to transforms any space into a realm of meditative tranquillity.

collection of nawabari footstools from BoConcept

Image credit: BoConcept

There was a strong Skandi impression made at this year’s CDW – not least as a result of the stand-alone Danish Collection in the heart of the event, showcasing inspiring design originating from Denmark. Having spent a good part of the day walking Clerkenwell, I was tempted to collapse into the hygge-loaded comfort from BoConcept, showcasing its new Nawabari collection.

On a more detailed note, the designs from Danish startup Luups ApS made a clear case for how sustainability, materiality and strong design can coexist in a range of functional flatware.

sustainable dinner ware from Luups seen at CDW

Image credit: Luups

Moving onto Detail – another exhibition that always draws me in with its emphasis on surface design and textiles, sheltered in the atmospheric The Order of St John. I was delayed at the very first stand where Schotten & Hansen, creator of design-led regenerable wooden flooring and surfaces, had partnered with long-term creative collaborator Kit Kemp Design Studio to present the PIT-A-PAT table, which showcased a new pioneering magnetic product treatment for floors and tables. Again a concept all about collaboration, sustainability in partnership with an innovative and exhilarating new design concept.

magnetic wooden flooring and table surface

Image credit: Schotten Hansen

The Tarkett showroom continued this focus on innovation and sustainable flooring and surface designs in a creative collaboration with BAUX – a collaboration brought together by the shared values of well-being and environmental responsibility. Visitors were invited into the showroom to explore the transformative power of colour and experience the latest specification tech, all supported by an interactive programme celebrating the interconnectedness between colour, sustainability, inclusivity and design.

Tarkett’s suite of free evening speaker sessions also featured special guests from across the industry. This included an inspirational presentation and discussion around circular design led by creative consultancy FranklinTill’s Caroline Till on ‘The Beauty of Circularity’.

Timing the launch of its new London showroom to coincide with the Clerkenwell footfall, Balsan entered into the spirit of the week with its lampshade-from-carpet workshop, throwing a few tassles into the mix, while showcasing one of its latest collections – Dialogue Brush –  designed in collaboration with Baptiste Vandaele. Interestingly, the new showroom is a collaborative space with König + Neurath and including  other brands such as Greenmood and Cantarutti, making for an interesting design inventory under one roof.

Staying on the surface of things while discussing collaborative design, the Atlas Concorde and Zaha Hadid tile collection made a bold graphic  statement in the Clerkenwell showroom. Designed as part of the Marvel Meraviglia collection, the result is a spectacular decoration that unfolds across the surface in a gradual, continuous transformation of modular shapes that, as they move towards the centre, turn into sinuous interweaving diamonds in contrasting tones.

black and white geometric tile design on the wall behind a table and chair

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Ending this round-up on a bright and conversational note, the panel discussion on the Feeling of Colour underscored the general zeitgeist of the event – how does it feel rather than how does it look. Chaired by Emma Besltey from sustainable paint brand YesColours and with Jenny Wingfield, Lois O’Hara and Simon Astridge on the panel, the discussion explored how emotion feeds into creative processes, and ultimately impacts upon the end user.

Personalised and intuitive design that is good for both the person and the planet might sound like the impossible dream, but if the Conversations at Clerkenwell are anything to go by, it is a path the design community is considering with care and forging ahead on with force and imagination.

Main image credit: Clerkenwell Design Week