Round-up of Clerkenwell Design Week 2022

Clerkenwell Design Week arrived back in familiar territory last week; leading conversations around trends and showcasing the best in British and international design. Hotel Designs was proud to be part of the process – hosting parties, panel discussions, roundtables, visiting showrooms in between and connecting with designers while exploring all that the week had to offer. What goes on in Clerkenwell does not stay in Clerkenwell, as we share the people, places and products that caught our collective eye…

the colours of clerkenwell in flags on a stand

It felt like Clerkenwell Design Week was all about round edges, natural materials and biophilic hues, all punctuated by the event trademark ‘hot pink’. From large corporate showrooms to smaller individual stands of up-and-coming designers, there appeared to be a textured thread that ran throughout the week. Broadly, it felt like design was about connecting to nature, understanding the importance of providence, and leading on from that, questions of sustainability and production process were of course key across all nine exhibition sites and the showrooms that surrounded them.

Before we dive into the highlights, here are our editor’s picks:

Starting at the very beginning, the graphic signage and street stickers deserve a mention – both decorative and functional (I for one would probably have not got further than the first coffee shop without them) the well-designed graphics by Lois O’Hara provided direction. On the floors and up the walls, there was no excuse to miss an installation. Further into the exhibitions, you could also discover her playful and colourful table and hanging chair design that made its mark outdoors despite the sporadic showers that sent everyone dashing for cover.

Following the signs, first stop on the exhibition circuit saw Detail, set in the remarkable venue of The Order of St John. Luxury products exhibited between stain glass windows and antique alters with designs that brought a slightly more contemporary and curated feel to the space. Arte was there with a wonderful and eye-catching collection of luxury wallcoverings, space was given to showcase recycled yarns by B.I.G Yarns in a graphic installation making a strong visual statement about the sustainability of the product. Before exiting, The Shore Collection by Holmes Bespoke offered an inspiring reflection of the zeitgeist of the day with organic designs being made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. These bottles are predominantly washed up along the Indian shoreline, and each rug is named after one of India’s most beautiful beaches to honour this connection.

Going back a few steps up the CDW route, it was impossible not to stop and stare at the installation in the Kohler Showroom window – a collaboration between the brand and designer Jack Irving, titled Future Splash certainly made a few designer ripples as the inspired silver creation was worn and modelled in the window. Showrooms all around the neighbourhood stepped up to the Clerkenwell challenge creating conversation, and championing design and creativity beyond the confines of the brand. Hansgrohe hosted a series of candle-making sessions, Atlas Concorde welcomed designers and architects in on an interview with designer Mario Ferrarini and Conran & Partners, for the first time, opened its new studio doors to the public. Parkside & Strata’s Sustainability and Design Studio was another showroom on our agenda, with a full programme of activities around the theme of zero waste and sustainability, looking at the challenges of global climate change and how commercial interior design can make a lasting impact.

Jonathon Coles Lighting installation at Clerkenwell Design Week 2022

Image credit: Jonathon Coles Lighting / Sam Frost

Moving on up the Exhibition trail, one of the most exciting exhibitions, both in terms of venue and content, was the Light and Rising Stars Exhibition, presented within what was a former Victorian prison – affectionately known as the House of Detention – this was a curated combination of lighting installations along with some bright new shining lights in the design industry. A few that grabbed our attention were; the atmospheric and organic lighting sculptures by designer Cindy Lilen – the statement lighting by designer Jonathan Coles showcasing both organic and industrial designs – the combination of the traditional and the contemporary in the beautifully crafted designs by Chris Murphy – the fascinating surface design furniture range by Emily Hatton who combines innovative digital techniques in laser cut precision with a more traditional furniture element.

Moving from the prison into the field, the exhibition space Design Fields was all about international furniture, lighting and product design. Referencing those curves and textured surfaces mentioned earlier, Parla was there showcasing some of its new award winning furniture – the aptly named Hug Sofa is as close to emotional commitment from a couch that you are going to get! Alongside the international movers and shakers, UK designer Christian Watson made a bold statement in black and white with the Edenvale Collection in fabric by Kirkby Design.

Alongside all the finishes and surfaces, furniture and fittings, was of course the conversations. That connectivity that drives creation and ensures that design and inspiration is strong while embracing the challenges of social change along with the demands of transparency and sustainability. What was apparent on every level of CDW 2022 was that designers, manufacturers and makers are all listening to the concerns, and in many cases, driving the changes.

Main image credit: CDW