Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 14th June 2018 | IN DESIGN EVENTS | BY SBID

An impressive 34,060 visitors from 73 countries descend upon the heart and home of London’s design destination in Clerkenwell for arguably the most important commercial design festival that the capital city has to offer. The ninth edition of Clerkenwell  Design  Week  (CDW),  sponsored  by Armourcoat  Acoustic,  delivered  huge  benefit  to  London’s  creative  hub  with over  65,757 new  business  leads  generated  during  the  three-day  festival – a 14%  increase  on  2017.  With more than 200 brands exhibiting  across the 7 venues and 100 showrooms, CDW injected  life to the area from 22  -24 May  and  further cemented  the  festival  as  a  key  event  on  the  international  design  calendar. We’re sharing a few of our favourite festival finds, initiatives, or new designs which emerged at Clerkenwell, starting with the most must-see installations.

Chelsea College of Arts' student design from YourToteCounts campaign at Clerkenwell Design Week#YourToteCounts

The design industry at large is increasingly acknowledging the global sustainability crisis, so it comes as no surprise that sustainability initiatives became another hot topic at Clerkenwell Design Week as the pursuit of sustainable solutions becomes the focal point for many.

Chelsea College of Art is no exception; conversely to the nationwide mission to combat the plastic pandemic which has been headlining the news since the government introduced a law for large retailers to charge for all single-use plastic carrier bags, the Your Tote Counts campaign instead attempted to address the overwhelming surplus of tote bags which are intended to replace the excessive and unsustainable use of plastic bags. Interestingly, and surprisingly, canvas bags may cause more detriment to the environment than the plastic ones they are designed to replace. In 2008, the UK Environment Agency (UKEA) published a study of resource expenditures for various bags: paper, plastic, canvas, and recycled-polypropylene tote bags whereby cotton tote bags exhibited the highest and most severe global-warming potential since they require more resources to produce and distribute. The study revealed that the ecological footprint of a cotton tote bag is actually 327 times worse than a regular plastic bag. A Screen Press installation at CDW encouraged the upcycling of tote bags and allowed visitors to bring unwanted totes to be customised with designs created by graphic design students from Chelsea College of Art, in collaboration with the Print Club London. Re-purposing unwanted totes with a fresh new design intended to enlighten audiences and address the issue whilst encouraging us to reuse and recycle when we can. Visitors could also make donations with the proceeds going to CDW’s official charity partner, Maggie’s.

Design installation, Reform by TDO Architecture, for Clerkenwell Design Week

Reform by TDO Architecture, Studio 8Fold and Studio DA

In the theme of confronting misleading discourse about sustainability and shedding light on common misconceptions about what materials are considered sustainable and which ones are truly harmful to the environment, TDO Architecture, Studio 8Fold and Studio DA were commissioned to create way-finding sculptures in polystyrene to be situated around Clerkenwell during the week. The sculptures were produced by Bakers Patterns who specialise in polystyrene model making and manufacturing.

Creative Director of CDW Max Fraser says,“Polystyrene is considered one of the ‘bad’ materials of our time as it can’t be recycled through regular municipal recycling schemes. However, if the material is sent back to the manufacturer, it is 100% recyclable (98% of it is air). So we are  commissioning these beacons at CDW with their end-of  life destination fully diverted from landfill.”


Behind Closed Doors interior design inspiration by Hakwood and Shape London for Clerkenwell Design Week

Behind Closed Doors by Hakwood

The Dutch bespoke wood manufacturer Hakwood and Shape London collaborate to create an interactive installation. Hakwood’s ‘Behind Closed Doors’will be a 3.2m high installation designed and fabricated by Shape London. A miniature street-scape was constructed to that draw inspiration from the Dutch townhouses, with each house including a small door which reveals a series of miniature interiors designed by various architects from Shape’s Dragon Fly Place Collective. The installation was designed to demonstrate that any interior design or form of décor is an open door for creative inspiration.

Scale Rule design installation for Clerkenwell Design WeekScale Rule Next Generation Design Pavilion 

For the third consecutive year, Scale Rule gave St. James’ Churchyard a new focal point by implementing a pavilion design conceived by GCSE students from around London. This year’s winning concept responded to the theme of sustainability by proposing a sensitive metaphor: layers representing past, present and future will create a kaleidoscopic oculus, inviting visitors to take a moment to direct their eyes up an become more aware of the key natural elements around them.

Product Highlights 

Loll Designs

Modern eco-friendly furntiure manufacturer, Loll Designs, showcased  the  most  popular  pieces, from  the  classic  Adirondack  lounge  chairs  to  the  new  outdoor  furniture  Fresh  Air  collection.  Not only does their modern outdoor furniture add a unique and contemporary aesthetic to outdoor spaces, but all of  Loll’s  products are mindful of the environment, using 100% recycled and recyclable material – mostly from discarded plastic milk bottles. To date, Loll has helped upcycle over 70 million milk bottles!

The Cabinet

Mark Saward, founder of  The Cabinet debuts ‘The  Sideboard’ which takes it’s influence from nature, contrasted with contemporary materials and construction techniques. Raw smoked oak veneer is inlaid on to stone textured Valchromat to stunning effect. Adopting a minimalist approach with maximum impact by showcasing nature in it’s natural state. Each  piece is bespoke as no one tree-cut edge veneer is the same. Utilising a soft close vertical lift  hinge system, the opening of The Sideboard adds to the overall drama of this standout statement piece.

New For 2018: Lighting & Elements 


London based Leather Architectural Ironmongery and Leather Products Design firm with a pro

This year saw a new, exciting exhibition dedicated to light. The brick vaults of nightclub, Fabric, featured an exhibition of top international lighting brands unveiling their latest cutting-edge collections and innovative new products presented as spectacular stand-alone lighting installations. Exhibitors included Bert Frank with a striking range of luxury, mid-century inspired  lighting, which has already won a string of industry awards. Rich Brilliant Willing, Brooklyn-based  studio that designs and manufactures LED fixtures for hospitality, workplace, and residential projects. Marc Wood Studio presented its debut lighting collection, Pleated Crystal which comprises of ceiling pendants, a side light and a floor standing lamp. Handmade in Bohemia and London, the collection draws upon Marc’s love for Czech artisan glass work and British engineered detailing.


Also new this year, CDW brought together a leading selection of ironmongery, hardware, switch plates and architectural accessories within a street-market style pavilion on St Johns  Square, becoming the go-to destination for designers looking for the perfect finishing touches. Brands included the London-based leather ironmongery and product design firm House of Eroju, and the specialists in decorative metalwork and door hardware solutions for luxury hotels and residences, Carrson International, among many others. British light switch company, Forbes & Lomax introduced the Aged Brass light switch to their existing Invisible range. The new collection which adopts an antique aesthetic has been left unlacquered, allowing it to patinate even more over time for an aged and rustic effect.

To see more from Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 or find out about next years event, click here.