Clerkenwell Design Week 2018
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.