Every year in London the famous design hub in Clerkenwell opens its doors in May to a series of showroom events, exhibitions and special installations from leading UK brands and companies across the world.
This three-day design festival is programmed in every designer’s itinerary and definitely something in London I could not miss. Celebrating its 7th year the award-winning* CDW has firmly established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival and annually attracts the international design community to this small area of London for a series of exciting events. On display are a selection of projects from some of the most innovative talents on the capital’s design scene, including creative polymath Kia Utzon-Frank, design editor Max Fraser, Seetal Solanki of Matter, Fiera editor Katie Treggiden and Tree Couture.
Integral to the festival are the local resident design showrooms, who partner with Clerkenwell Design Week every year, providing the festival with a stimulating programme of topic-led events including talks, workshops and product launches. These participating companies include high-end furniture, lighting, kitchen and bathroom brands and also material manufacturers.
Alongside the bigger practices, the ‘Starchitects’ and design brands also offer free events in smaller creative spots and open up their doors for people to have a nose around their studios. One of my favourite exhibitions was organised by Ash Sakula Architects which gave people the chance at building their own home in their showroom. I was able to take a virtual tour of a house and test design elements for myself. Was perfect as I could channel my inner architecture and enjoy a free beer at the same time.
One of the other main attractions that brought people over to Clerkenwell this year was the debut of GO – an advanced prototype of the new 3D- printed wheel chair created by Industrial designer Benjamin Hubert and his experience-driven agency
Another great expo was the 2016 British Collection which was located in the barrel roofed Crypt on Clerkenwell Green, of St James’s Church. Some of the UK’s most exciting homegrown talent showcased their latest furniture, lighting and product designs within this unique space. These exhibitions brought the area to life, allowing visitors to explore international and British design, as well as interior accessories in one dedicated space.
Ben Adams Architects got people out and about in the area by organising a guided walk through historic Clerkenwell’s hidden alleys and streets where we had the opportunity to explore the area’s evolving character. There was also a panel discussion on what’s next for this unique neighbourhood in Old Street. With so much innovation and Inspiration around every corner in Clerkenwell it was definitely worth the visit.
Not only was it a great experience I also got to have a taste of the recent emerging designs of the most talented architects and designers in the UK. Can’t wait to see the events organised and amazing ideas that fill the streets next year!