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Once again Clerkenwell, an area steeped in arts, crafts and creative tradition, welcomes the best in interior furniture, lighting and products from the UK and around the world

Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) runs across three days, 23-25 May 2017, where visitors can see the best in international design along with a huge range of home-grown talent.

Now in its eighth year, Clerkenwell Design Week is aimed at spotlighting Clerkenwell’s unique history, craftsmanship and commerce. Over recent years, the area has seen CDW develop increasingly collaborative relationships with the local community and public bodies, which work together to enhance the recognition and importance of this world-class design cluster.

Following the successful remodelling of CDW 2016, which established new venues and routes through the show, this year’s edition will focus on refining the visitor experience and access to the extensive combination of exhibitions, installations and live events across over 100 spaces. CDW will once again define the area’s boundaries by focusing on a central spine running the length of Clerkenwell, reaching Exmouth Market to the north and Smithfield to the south.

Specialist wayfinding design agency Space Agency will bring the exhibition trail to life, with a specially designed wayfinding scheme allowing visitors to easily navigate the medieval street pattern. Along this route, visitors can visit a range of showrooms which feature the latest products and concepts for contract, architecture and interior design.

SHOWROOMS
Presenting the latest products and concepts for contract, architecture and interior design, Clerkenwell’s showrooms are the foundation of the festival. This year, over 90 showrooms will take part. Here we look at some of the highlights.

Arper Bloggers Lounge, the official digital hub of the festival, will offer refreshments and free wi-fi. In collaboration with We Blog Design, Arper will host a number of enriching workshops throughout the three-day event. Design Undefined, meanwhile, features a selection of projects from some of the most innovative talents on the capital’s design scene, including Anthony Burrill, Alex Booker and Jordan Söderberg Mills. Ege will present Atelier, a new collection of rugs by renowned designer Christian Lacroix.

Humanscale, the leading global designer and manufacturer of products that improve wellness at work, will be exploring a number of topics. As the original ‘pioneers of movement’, Humanscale will invite leading physios and fitness experts to talk about the importance of integrating physical activity into our daily lives for our general health.

Humanscale will also present No Randomness by Oscar Lhermitte, an exhibition of 15 industrial designs with a hidden rationale, which chimes closely with Humanscale’s design ethos of unprecedented functionality, innovation and simplicity. Todd Bracher, Design Partner for Humanscale, says: “I’m not a minimalist at all, but an essentialist and they are very different. Minimalism is about taking everything away, about how little can you have. Essentialism is what is needed and nothing more, defining a truthful ecosystem and trying to drive out a result that is loyal to that ecosystem. Anything else is cosmetic.”

Following its Clerkenwell Design Week debut in 2016, Ultrafabrics is returning with a fresh take on its Japanese-American heritage, in the prime position of St John’s Square. Additionally, Ultrafabrics will host key events including Made in Japan: a marriage of Japanese expertise with its proprietary Takumi technology.

Newcomer Pentagon Tiles will be opening a new space on Leather Lane, anchoring the project within the industrial heritage of the area. Albemarle Way, a concentrated area of showrooms in central Clerkenwell, will be transformed for the first time into a pedestrian space, where a series of events and installations are planned.

One of three key destinations to visit during the week is Design Fields, located next to one of Clerkenwell’s favourite spots – Exmouth Market. Here, there will be a presentation of a diverse range of products from the best of international design.

John Lewis for Business will introduce a new collection by leading design duo Doshi Levien, while Mosswall, new to CDW, will debut Nature’s Wall, a monolithic installation set against the end walls of the pavilion, demonstrating the impact of the MOSSwall preserved moss system on a dramatic scale.

Italian company Ethimo, specialising in high-quality outdoor furnishings and décor, will showcase its latest collections, while Spanish-based Ondarreta will present the new Lana, Contour and Bai chair collections. Additional exhibitors at Design Fields include Abstracta, +Halle, InForm Furniture, Thonet, Zeitraum, and Tacchini.

For the first time, Project – a display of contract furniture, lighting and product design from around the globe – will span two structures within the Garden of St James, hosting over 20 leading manufacturers. Luctra by Durable will show off its biologically effective lighting range, able to closely replicate daylight with its cold white and warm white LEDs. Amtico will be displaying its new carpet range in its entirety.

Project will also welcome a number of exhibitors making their first appearance at CDW. They include Cube Spaces, who will launch two soft seating ranges for office and educational environments; Godfrey Syrett, a furniture solutions provider will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a presentation of its latest product launches, including the Flexible Working collection and Zip modular furniture solution. Moventi will also be bringing a selection of new designs to the show.

FRINGE ACTIVITIES
As part of the fringe programme, The Goldsmiths’ Centre will open its doors to The Serendipity Studio, which will host a series of material workshops, talks and drop-in sessions. In the main event space, a large-scale installation and exhibits from material specialists, engineers, architects, designers and craftspeople will be presented as a live example of serendipitous design and collaboration.

Bringing the history of Clerkenwell to life, the Museum of London will curate a series of guided tours around the local area. Focusing on the past, present and future of making, the tours will be led by a range of historians, makers and curators. Stirling Ackroyd, in association with Fora, presents A Space to be Brilliant, a series of design-led talks from world-renowned designers, architects and marketeers, offering an insight into the importance of design within the workspace market.

ABOUT CLERKENWELL

  • Clerkenwell is one of the most important design hubs in the world, home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere
    else on the planet.
  • In the last two decades, Clerkenwell’s unique variety of buildings has been transformed into studios, showrooms and workshops, attracting architectural, design and creative practices.
  • Part of the Borough of Islington, Clerkenwell is a dynamic area, with a long tradition of creative industries, stretching back to the Industrial Revolution – when craft workshops, printmakers, clockmakers, jewellers and over 90 showrooms thrived.
  • Today traditional crafts such as printing and bookbinding still flourish, alongside contemporary designers, independent producers and international brands.
  • Over 80 world-renowned design brands have their showrooms in the area, including Arper, Bolon, Bulthaup, Poltrona Frau Group, USM and Vitra, to name just a few.
  • Clerkenwell is home to more than 200 architectural practices, including BDP, Studio Egret, OMMX, Haworth Tompkins, Wilkinson Eyre and Zaha Hadid, among many others.

Clerkenwell Design Week runs from 23-25 May 2017. Free to register via www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com

THE BIOPHILIC OFFICE

Is the pervasiveness of smartphones making us crave nature? Could this burgeoning appetite be related to the increased number of hours we spend staring at screens? It seems to be no accident that ‘greening’ the office is not just about sustainability – it is taking on a more literal form.

The biophilia hypothesis looks at our fundamental affinity with nature, and its positive relationship with our psychology – particularly its effect on feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Research has proven that by creating softer, more homely spaces where workers can reconnect with nature, organisations can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, while enhancing creativity, clarity of thought and sense of wellbeing.

To coincide with Clerkenwell Design Week, KI is introducing a new collection of colours, fabrics and worksurface options for its UK-made workplace furniture. Inspired by nature and the principles of biophilic design, these new finishes are designed to help organisations introduce a more natural feel into the office landscape. The new finishes can be selected for workstations, storage, seating and breakout areas.

KI will also be launching a new, biophilia-themed art exhibition to be presented alongside its new finish options. This will be on display until September 2017 and will include artworks from current and recently graduated students of the Royal College of Art, London.

About Sarah OBeirne

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