Wearing his comfy shoes, Hamish Kilburn heads into London’s creative district to discover what Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 has to offer…
I arrived at Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) on the hunt for emerging trends and new products that launch with the aim to really shake our industry up. Faced with the mass of open showrooms – and pink CDW-branded feather flags – London’s design hub did not disappoint to deliver an immersive showcase of this year’s inspiring interiors.
Crunching the numbers:
- Last year, 34, 128 vistors roamed the streets of Clerkenwell Design Week
- In total, 67 per cent of visitors were architects and designers
- 57,563 business leads were made
- More than 90 showrooms (a lot of walking, hence the comfy shoes)
- Exhibitors from 25 countries from around the globe
Spanning across Clerkenwell, seven exhibition venues housed hundreds of new products, ranging from home accessories, high-end textiles, furniture and ceramics to bespoke surface finishes and lighting. Running North to South, CDW 2018 exhibitions were: Design Fields (international contemporary design), Platform (up-and-coming designers), Project (contract design), British Collection (UK designers), Elements (architectural accessories), Detail (luxury interiors) and Light (international lighting). After popular demand, both Elements and Light were new to 2018.
In reference to HBA’s Constantina Tsoutsikou, warm metals seem to be somewhat of a focus at the moment. Many manufacturers in all markets – especially in the Elements tent – we displaying copper and Saturn hues in various architectural accessories.
Fabric, the former cold-store turned nightclub, hosted an exhibition of top international lighting brands showing the latest collections from exhibitors such as Bert Frank, Rich Brilliant Willing and Brokis. At Fabric, Design Best brought the very best of British design brands including Tom Dixon, Anglepoise and Folk, together in one venue.
More than 90 companies participated in CDW 2018, including high-end furniture, lighting, kitchen and bathroom brands alongside specialist manufacturers.
Stellar Works previewed its first UK showroom against the backdrop of Shanghai:Shift, an immersive photographic installation in the raw and unfinished space which will open in Autumn. The imagery was contrasted with a selection of new Stellar Works furniture to create a dynamic and surreal homage to the cityscape of Shanghai.
Conscious and ethical Danish brand Mater unveiled the new Mater Earth Gallery, a new concept store and showroom in Clerkenwell. Elsewhere, Umbrella + Friends showcased Established & Sons’ Filigrana Light by Sebastian Wrong, Cassette Sofa by the Bouroullec’s, Zero-In by Barber & Osgerby and Stack by Raw Edges as well as many more.
This year, dominating St John’s Square, Brintons’ installation, designed by Studioshaw, was every bit as impressive as it was tactile and immersive. Interested to see how the carpet manufacturers pulled off the collaboration with Timorous Beasties, designers and architects were impressed to see that aerial point of views were a strong inspiration – a trend I first saw on the scene a few years ago in furniture, believe it or not. It’s clear to see that technology has caught up – or is at least it is catching up – with the creative minds of designers. No longer is a dull surface designed for comfort over style, the carpets on display around CDW 2018 were more reflective of striking pieces of modern art than pieces of fabric we tread over to get from A to B.
Down the road, Hansgrohe was amplifying customisation, which is a trend that was shared by floor tile specialist Domus. The specialist fittings manufacturer’s My Edition range teased audiences with its clear, linear design complete with a range of customisable plates available in a variety of exclusive materials. The highly anticipated products will be available to designers from October 2018.
Domus, on the other hand, spoke about customisation in regards colours and textures. In an exclusive talk with interior designer Jess Piddock, consumers learned about what are said to be the hottest surface trends at the moment. These included, but were not limited to, colour blocking, chromatic colour, artwork slabs, curves, natural materials and mix not match – of which have been dominant themes in recent projects. The perfect example of chromatic colour was displayed in Piano, the direct result of a seamless collaboration between Ronan and Erwin Bouroullec and Mutina. “The tiles can be fitted together at will, to create endless layout possibilities, said the Bouroullec brothers in a recent press release when describing the collection. “Their random disposition is mysterious and creates the impression of a total continuation of space. This systemic rhythm always creates the space for originality.”
From tiles to furniture, Morgan launched a family. Following the success of the Pimlico range that was launched a few years ago, the furniture brand decided that now is an apt time to complete the collection with a twin sofa, comfortably suitable for lobbies and public areas. Starting as a small bedroom chair, Pimlico was created featuring smooth curved lines and a unique inset oval seat pad, which is wrapped by the frame. Still timeless and elegant, the products are now available in a range of sizes. Other products that are new from Morgan include Valencia and Goodwood chairs and tables.
Max Livingood was a must-see for me. His unique wall sculptures in solid wood oozed quality, sophistication and timelessness – a designer who is certainly one to watch for the future. The self-taught designer-maker based in London displayed Folium and Pluviam products. In his work, Livingood combines traditional hand craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. Working exclusively with wood, he respects and preserves nature by using only certified wood from responsibly managed forests.
As the sun set behind the skyline of London, Grohe teamed up with Mosa to host an impressive closing party, where designers, architects and manufacturers gathered over cocktails to discuss the stand-out pieces of the week, swap cards and depart from another successful Clerkenwell Design Week.