Celebrating its fifth edition this year, Clerkenwell Design Week (20-22 May 2014) will showcase the latest innovations by designers and manufacturers both from the UK and around the world. Newly-appointed show director, William Knight, has revealed that, as well as centring around leading design showrooms in the neighbourhood, this year’s programme will feature four focused exhibitions; The Design Factory, Platform, Detail and Additions.
Since its inception, Clerkenwell Design Week has forged strong relationships with the area’s abundance of local design showrooms, studios and galleries, and will continue to support the creative endeavours and milestones of this community this year.
Among those taking part this year is Italian furniture maker, Arper, which – following on from last year's debut to coincide with its first London showroom opening – will return to the festival this year with a key celebration to mark its 25th anniversary. Meanwhile, the festival's veteran, Vitra, will present a world-exclusive collective project - a take-on of Ron Arad's Tom Vac chair 15 years after it was first launched. This iconic design will be re-styled by selected international designers and architects, and unveiled in Vitra's showroom during the festival.
Accompanything these more established brands are some fresh faces, including architectural cladding specialist, Sto Werkstatt, which has recently opened a new showroom on Woodbridge Street, and Scandinavian Business Seating which will launch the ergonomically-designed Noor chair at the event. Other new showroom partners include Davison Highley, Wagstaff, Gresham, Morgan and Quadrifoglio.
Of course, a significant part of Clerkenwell Design Week is the myriad of artistic collaborations, workshops and peripheral exhibitions that take place outside of the show’s main curated exhibition spaces. For this year’s CDW Presents, Studio Weave, design collective Okay Studio and russ + henshaw have been appointed to create projects aiming to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities.
Meanwhile, Architecture practice Studio Weave – led by Je Ahn – has created ‘Smith’ a pavilion that pays homage to Clerkenwell’s heritage as the home to a range of smiths through history.
Working alongside structural engineer, Webb Yates, and fabricator Nicholas Alexander, Studio Weave seeks to showcase the creative use of tools and equipment, and how they can be applied to materials for product making.The pavilion will be made from fibre-cement panels providing a stress-skin, and a group of contemporary craftsmen and smiths will take residence over the three days, hosting a variety of workshops and demonstrations.
Design collective Okay Studio, supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, has produced an exhibition celebrating Clerkenwell Design Week’s fifth edition. Inspired by five American hardwoodspecies – tulipwood, ash, hard maple, redoak and cherry, five design teams fromOkay Studio are working independently to create an eclectic mix of designs, showcasing how versatile American hardwood can be.
Additionally, London-based architects, Lianne Russ and Phil Henshaw of russ + henshaw are working with Turkishceramics to create an installation entitled Tile Mile, at St John’s Gate. Based on the concept of reflection, the installation will celebrate both the built heritage of Clerkenwell and modern Turkish ceramics.
This year’s Conversations at Clerkenwell is also highly anticipated, with leading international designers and architects including Ron Arad, Arik Levy, The Campana Brothers and Sir Peter Cook taking part in what is set to be an exhilarating series of seminars.
The Design Factory
Based at the Farmiloe Building this exhibition will play host to some of the best contemporary furniture, lighting and product design brands from across the globe.
Italian brands, in particular, will once again form a strong line-up. Among these, leading lighting specialists, Foscarini, will present an installation in the atrium and tunnel, while newcomer, Discipline, is set to launch its brand newLast Side tables by Max Lamb to the UK market at the event.
The best lighting names in the industry will feature on the top floor, from Anglepoise – with the launch of its new Type75TM Maxi Collection designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, to Holloways of Ludlow, showcasing the latest Jielde lights.
Taking over the unique architectural setting of The House of Detention will be emerging young designers from home and abroad. Amongst these, Estonian-born Johanna Tammsalu will exhibit her hand-spun, ceramic pendant light, while printmaker Lucy Clive of Clivework will launch her first furnishing fabric range.
Showing in the UK for the first time, Loïc Bard will showcase his new coffee tables, Tokyo and Small Tokyo, while Judy Clark of CVA Editions takes a more colourful approach with her new Bean tables in bright block colours. Aleksandrina Rizova, known for her installations and product designs using emerging digital fabrication tools, will also display her hybrid table and floor tiles.
In celebration of the luxury sector’s fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship, Detail at the Order of St John will bring together some of the most prestigious names in high-end interior design.
Top of the bill this year is an exclusive collaboration between .IT_All About Design, Edra and The Campana Brothers, entitled From Art to Design. An exhibition of The Campana Brothers' masterpieces, as well as their designs for Edra, will be unveiled by the designers themselves at Detail on 20 May 2014. The exhibition will explore how design and production processes render ‘a piece of art’ - a successful, commercial product.
Another highlight of this year's show is the pop-up showroom of Christopher Jenner for Drummonds inside Craft Central. This creative collaboration between Jenner and Drummonds has resulted in a bathroom furniture collection to be launchrf at the festival. Inspired by craft processes and handmade in the UK, the collection marries traditional cast iron and enamelling techniques with English carpentry.
Making the most of the British weather, Gloster will also be furnishing the entire Cloister garden with its high-end, contemporary style outdoor furniture.
New to Clerkenwell Design Week 2014, Additions will take over the Crypt on the Green at St James Church. It will be the main hub for a curated collection of small design items and home accessories, targeting retail buyers, interior designers and specifiers.
Amongst the products exhibited will be Toghal’s heritage African homeware designs, Urbanara’s high-quality home textiles and accessories and Tunisian-born Hend Krichen’s beautifully handcrafted vessels.
“I'm delighted to come on board and join the established team at this exciting time,” says show director, William Knight. “Clerkenwell Design Week is still growing, but has come a long way since its launch in 2010. The festival is now a must-attend event in the international design calendar, attracting thousands of architects, designers, specifiers and buyers from around the world every May.
“We are very excited about our fifth edition this year, not least our new show Additions. There is an increased number of showrooms and exhibitors, some really interesting installations and activities to get the visitors involved, as well as our star-studded talk programme. We will be bringing in some of the best industry names to celebrate this important milestone in the heart of creative London.”