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Creative comeback


A dynamic talks programme throughout the three days underpinned the products on display. Jane Abernethy, Humanscale’s Chief Sustainability Officer, was live streamed from the US, talking about Designing for People and Planet. The following day, a panel of experts: Martin Gettings – Head of ESG Europe from Brookfield Asset Management, Tariq Abbas – Associate Director at HDR, Lydia Randall – Head of ESG at BDG architecture + design, Sarah Ratcliffe, Chief Executive Officer at Better Building Partnership, as well as Humanscale’s Sustainability Ambassador – Hani Hatami discussed ‘Building Inside Out’: sustainability of buildings from the ground up and in. This talk referenced whether sustainability can contribute to the return to the built environment, how a plethora of sustainability awards has sprung up and how to tell the difference between them; the role of retrofit of buildings and Humanscale’s contribution to net positive manufacturing.

Humanscale’s Hani Hatami also took part in Closing the Loop as part of Conversations at Clerkenwell, which looked at what the furniture industry is doing to marry a circular vision with the reality of a sector which thrives in part, on fashion and change. Elsewhere at this main talks hub in Spa Fields, topics being discussed included biophilic design in practice, the recovery of the high street and the design of a space actively and effectively support the wellbeing of the people who work there.

Colin Macgadie, Chief Creative Officer at BDG architecture + design, along with Rosie Haslem, Director with Streetsense and Architect Lee Penson was part of a panel at Synergy Commercial Lighting showroom, exploring the importance of the human experience in placemaking. Among other themes, Macgadie referenced the idea of transposing hospitality into the workplace environment.


Among the installations in and around EC1, BVN Architecture and Second Home collaborated on an innovative site-specific space called WorkPOP. It supported the notion of work-from-anywhere and encouraged experimentation towards pop-up, iterative, workspaces. Visitors were encouraged to step outside of the traditional boundaries of work + place and WorkPOP also featured recycled materials and is designed to be modular. It has a circular lifespan and after the event, will relocate to the rooftop of Second Home’s workspace in London Fields where it will support events and knowledge work for its creative community.

Sessions House was another must-visit destination. Here, sustainable acoustic designers BAUX hosted the global launch of its first ever ceiling product within ‘BAUX Acoustic Lounge’. This lounge is a low climate-impacted installation, designed by BAUX Co-Founders, Form Us With Love, together with BAUX Creative Director Johan Ronnestam. Elsewhere in the space, acoustic brand Texaa presented two acoustic spaces allowing visitors to understand more about the impact of architecture in acoustics through a sound experience that demonstrates how sound influences our perception of space.

Wellness was another key theme at CDW, where USM the Swiss modular furniture manufacturer showcased World of Plants – a stunning installation, suitable for both commercial and residential environments to enable people to enjoy all the positive wellness impacts plants bring; from increasing productivity and reducing stress at work to improving wellbeing at home. Welltek provided a wellbeing hub during the event, where visitors were encouraged to enjoy a moment of calm in a showroom space filled with fresh, filtered air and calming light. Using the Air0 Clean Air System purification system, clean and safe indoor air is assured, something that has no doubt been at the forefront of facilities managers’ minds in the last two years. The system harnesses state of the art technology to remove even the smallest pollutants from everyday sources such as traffic, smoke, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. Visitors to the showroom could also see Artome M10, a state-of-the-art mobile projector and sound-system, which also doubles as an audio-conferencing solution. Those seeking peace and quiet to get some concentrated work done tried out Framery One. This innovative booth design incorporates the latest technology, plus leading sound insulation standards and echo-free acoustics so you can’t be overheard or disturbed. It is fully flexible too, with an electric, height-adjustable table which accommodates laptops, personal devices, and workplace essentials.

Among the various venues within the Clerkenwell postcode, Project, in the picturesque grounds of St James Church was a must-visit. Products on display there included Tablebed from Welltek, an innovative, space-saving design that can be transformed from a table/desk to a bed in a matter of a few seconds. Perhaps a curveball for commercial workspace professionals to consider but nonetheless clearly demonstrates the trend for versatility. The single version is perfect for the hospitality market, meaning a console or work desk doubles up as a spare bed for hotel guests, saving house-keeping time.

All in all this much-loved design festival made a triumphant return, celebrating the creativity throughout London’s historic Clerkenwell.




About Sarah OBeirne

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