Half a decade from the inaugural Clerkenwell Design Week, it is difficult to remember a time when this much-anticipated fixture in the design calendar did not exist. With newly-appointed show directior William Knight on-board, this year’s edition demonstrated that the festival is continuing to flourish and grow in all the right directions. Hospitality Interiors’ Gemma Ralph rounds up her highlights from the show...

Having been to two previous editions of Clerkenwell Design Week, I was familiar with the general format and style of the show, yet the energy and life of the festival struck me anew this year.

While the regiment of formal trade shows certainly has its place, the open, relaxed nature of Clerkenwell Design Week is something I, and no doubt many of the visitors, really enjoy.

What is made apparent, each year, is that this show is much more than just a smattering of exhibition spaces and participating showrooms, but rather a showcase of the talent and creative spirit of the Clerkenwell community in its entirety – something that really sets this show apart from many others.

The beauty of the festival is that there is no such thing as travelling from A to B, what with the myriad of partnering showrooms, exhibitions and bustling bars and restaurants along the way. Of particular note was British furniture designer and manufacturer, Morgan, which timed the opening of its new showroom with the festival (find out more on page 53), while furniture manufacturer, Arper, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special talk from Sol Campbell, Edwin Heathcote and Vicky Richardson.

Within the four main exhibition spaces, there was a myriad of new product launches and rejuvenated collections to cover.

The ‘furniture corridor’ forming the entrance to The Design Factory at the Farmiloe Building was a particular highlight – featuring the likes of Deadgood, MARK and Dare Studio – whose Katakana Writing Desk, now available in oak, I have been lusting after for some time!

Italian lighting specialist, Foscarini, also made a splash with a striking installation entitled ‘Foscarini Evolution’ in the atrium and tunnel. This collaboration with Jaguar UK showcased some of Foscarini’s best selling products, incuding the Caboche suspension lamp and Twiggy floor lamp.

The lighting offering elsewhere in the building was also particularly notable. A decidedly busy Buster & Punch stand featured both its Heavy Metal range of light pendants, and the immensely popular Electricity range of design-led light switches and dimmers. Meanwhile, Angelpoise exhibited its striking new Type75 Maxi collection designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, and Holloways of Ludlow presented the latest Jielde lights.

Platform, at The House of Detention, also drew in the crowds with its array of talented young designers from across the globe.

Particularly memorable was London-based interiors company, A Rum Fellow’s eye-catching Mayan collection of fabrics. Bursting with colour and craftsmanship, the collection is a product of A Rum Fellow’s work with weaving co-operatives, social enterprises and charities in the promotion of female artisans.

Detail at The Order of St. John focussed more closely upon fine craftsmanship and high glamour – encapsulated, perhaps, by Ginger & Jagger’s five new additions. The furniture brand’s love affair with the natural world formed the central inspiration for the new products, which included sumptuous rug designs Eden and Anemona, the Bond and the Niagara Wall Lamps and the lavish and elegant Halo Console.

A brand new zone for Clerkenwell, Additions acted as the main hub for a curated collection of small design items and home accessories, targeting retail buyers, interior designers and specifiers. From Rose Sharp Jones – a London based designer who works with knitted, crocheted and printed textiles – to the bold geometric prints of fashion and interiors label, David David, this section certainly provided a visual spectacle.

Despite its hard-earned reputation as THE hub of new design, I’m certain  that Clerkenwell’s organisers will not sit on their laurels, but will continue to expand and improve the show’s offering in years to come. I, for one, cannot wait to see what they come up with next.