Clerkenwell Design Week returns after a two year hiatus. Happening, vibrant, buzzing with creative energy, this celebration of design was sorely missed in the streets of London. Here are some tips and must see highlights.
Understandably, there’s a real buzz around the return of Clerkenwell Design Week – which returns to the design calendar following a two-year hiatus. This year will see more than 400 events taking place across the festival, with some 150+ resident showrooms and 10 exhibition venues to explore over the three days.
With such numbers, it is almost impossible to cram everything into a single preview – as it is to see and participate in everything CDW has to offer. So, before we get into what there is to see and do, we’re going to bring you our top three tips for CDW (after all, we’re a little out of practice when it comes to working these things).
• Plan ahead: as we’ve said, you won’t have time to see everything, so take a look at the CDW website and socials, and decide which showrooms, venues and events you want to prioritise.
• We hope this doesn’t sound counter-intuitive, but don’t fill your diaries with back-to-back appointments. Clerkenwell may not be London’s largest borough, but CDW is spread out over a wide area. Add to that any overrunning events and discussions, and the friends/clients/colleagues you’ll no doubt bump into…you’ll very quickly find that you’re running behind your own schedule.
• Hit the streets in the evening. Especially if the weather holds up. This is where you’ll find the real ‘festival vibe’.
“Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes – and bring an umbrella. It is London after all!”
So, with this in mind, what has CDW 2022 got to offer?
Listen in on topical talks at Conversations at Clerkenwell which opens with leading British Designer Tom Dixon and weave your way around EC1 as the cobbles of Clerkenwell come alive with street sculptures, artistic installations and much more.
Well, there are a number of exhibition venues dotted across EC1, all showcasing a curated mix of leading brands and emerging talent, covering furniture, lighting, textiles, surfaces, accessories and product design from around the world.
Design Fields, for example, will showcase some of the most exciting homegrown designer-makers, as well as a diverse range of the best in international contemporary design. Exhibitors will include Accento, Chairs & More, Thonet and SilentLab.
Held within the subterranean House of Detention – a former Victorian prison – Light + Rising Stars will feature an array of leading international lighting brands and stand-alone installations, whilst shining a light on new brands/designers starting to make waves within the market.
Set in the grounds of St James Church, Project will bring together a leading selection of international contract furniture and surface brands. This year, Project will include Contract, which showcases innovative and forward-thinking products for commercial interiors. Leading brands on show will include Allsfar, Burgess, Dams, William Hands and PLANQ.
‘Conversations at Clerkenwell’ is a series of daily talks, which will be held at Spa Fields, and will cover a broad range of topics, drawing upon insight and opinion from creatives, business leaders and designers. The diverse programme will encompass trends and presentations from a wide selection of creative disciplines, and will open this year with leading British designer, Tom Dixon, in conversation with journalist Bethan Ryder.
As well as hosting an abundance of furniture and interiors showrooms, Clerkenwell is also home to a variety of other creative practices, including architects, branding agencies and craft studios, and a selection of these local practices will be opening their doors to the festival’s visitors and hosting workshops, displays and installations.
At the heart of CDW, of course, are the showrooms, which will once again be offering a huge variety of events – from talks and workshops, through to food and drink and major installations, and, excitingly, more new product introductions than CDW has seen before. Understandably (albeit frustratingly for us), the vast majority are keeping their powder dry when it comes to unveiling said product launches, preferring the big reveal come the festival itself.
A quick look at the list of brands opening their doors will undoubtedly get specifiers and end users excited though, with Andreu World, Viaduct, Orangebox, Boss Design, Arper, Frovi, Bisley, Deadgood, Fritz Hansen, Allermuir, Brunner, Bene, Interface, Humanscale, Milliken, Moroso, Wilkhahn and Kvadrat (to name but a few) participating.
One thing that is for certain is that there will now be plenty of residents and visitors alike starting to pay attention to the London weather forecast for the three days – and hoping that the rain/drizzle/storms/snow stay away and we’re all able to congregate on the streets. This is, for many, the real essence of the festival. As Chris Gibbs – Associate Interior Designer at BDP (one of Clerkenwell’s most prominent residents) – says: “The best part of CDW is the evenings, spilling out onto the streets and catching up with industry folk. It’s the community atmosphere on the streets that make CDW so memorable.”
We’ll leave you with one last tip: don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes – and bring an umbrella. It is London after all!
24 May, 2022