Clerkenwell Design Week returns with its biggest and boldest show to date

This spring, Clerkenwell Design Week will return for its eleventh edition, taking over London’s most creative district from 24th – 26th May.

Since it made its debut in 2009, CDW has become one of the UK’s leading independent design festivals, providing a welcome platform for brands to showcase their products and for the 100+ resident showrooms to open their doors to new audiences. Clerkenwell boasts a deep layer of historical heritage, from clock making to gin distilling, along with a vibrant network of architects, designers and creatives that add a rich dimension to CDW. For 2022, the new identity for CDW has been inspired by the printing and craft industries that have traditionally been part of Clerkenwell’s creative history. The branding combines several typefaces, from traditional serif fonts that reference publishing and the old printing press, to contemporary display faces, which have a geometric and architectural quality. These styles can be seen through much of the designs and products displayed at the festival. When the individual letters are combined, they create a bold and expressive typographic style.

There is much excitement around CDW 2022 and its return to the design calendar since the 2019 edition, which welcomed 34,185 attendees and over 300+ exhibiting brands including major industry names such as Deadgood, Ercol and Benchmark. 2019 included leading names like Established & Sons, who debuted works from renowned designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Konstanin Grcic; Stellar Works launched the Crawford Collection by up-and-coming Australian designer Tom Fereday, and Thonet celebrated 100 years of Bauhaus at CDW with new interpretations of side tables by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

This year CDW’s festival route has been extended to include Charterhouse Square which will see Orticolario’s Delenimentum installation taking centre stage. The gigantic version of the legendary Adirondack Chair created in 1903 by the designer Thomas Lee is a playful and photo-worthy addition to this year’s show.

Visitors can expect a show full of the latest designs, innovations and creative ideas, plus installations celebrating the fascinating history of Clerkenwell, as well as hundreds of design-led fringe events, pop-ups, workshops, talks and showroom presentations. Once again, CDW will host a series of talks in Spa Fields by leading designers and architects tackling topical and newsworthy issues.

Across EC1, there will be nine exhibitions, in both purpose built and historical venues, all showcasing a curated mix of leading brands and emerging talent covering furniture, lighting, textiles, surfaces, accessories and product design from around the world. New for 2022 is Covered Sponsored by RAK Ceramics, an exhibition dedicated to interior surfaces. Forming part of a new festival location in Charterhouse Square, Covered will display the best in surface design and material innovation. Also new for 2022 is Contract where visitors can view the latest products for commercial interiors.

Clerkenwell’s subterranean House of Detention, which was previously a prison in the mid-19th century will showcase Light + Rising Stars where a host of new and upcoming designers will exhibit alongside leading lighting brands. Pop, the former cold store turned nightclub will be essential to visit hosting brand activations and immersive experiences throughout the 3 days of CDW.

Above: Scale Rule, the NextGen Design Pavilion Render for CDW 2022.

Each year CDW Presents showcases specially commissioned, site-specific street spectacles across Clerkenwell.

In a partnership that has spanned five years, CDW will once again collaborate with Scale Rule to present the NextGen Design Pavilion. This year’s design concept for the NextGen pavilion exemplifies human impact upon the earth and in turn mankind’s responsibility to protect and shape it for better, a highly topical issue following COP26 in 2021.

The domed structure illustrates a deconstructed planet, which is formed, fractured and reconfigured from natural materials including timber geometric segments. The pavilion celebrates sustainability through its modular production methods, recycled materials and future re‐use, encouraging people to rest and socialise within its bounds, making use of and leaving their positive trace upon the structure.

Conversations at Clerkenwell has always been a highlight of the show, with a specially designed venue in Spa Fields. Designed by Fieldwork Architects, the concept for the CDW 2022 talks space reimagines the traditional Victorian bandstand as a focal point within the park, a place for gathering, discussion, entertainment and shelter. Rather than a traditional forward facing seating arrangement, the nature of the bandstand form allows the focus point to be partially in the round and engage the audience as a discussion, rather than a presentation. As a place for debate, the talks space is required to be both inward and outward looking. The mass of the bandstand has been inverted within a solid cube, focussing attention and sound on the speaker via a centrally located geodesic formed dome and circular seating below.

Additionally, BAUX, maker and supplier of acoustic panels, will create an immersive sound experience, the ‘BAUX House of Acoustics’ in Brewhouse Yard. Designed by BAUX co-founders, international design studio ‘Form us With Love’, the dynamic installation will display the engaging and versatile capabilities of their new globally launching acoustic ceiling panels in holistic interior concepts. The space will be open to all, demonstrating acoustic properties with talks and live music, across the three days.

Billi UK will be supplying drinking water with water taps located throughout Clerkenwell – visitors can bring their own bottles and fill up – a sustainable nod to the traditional Clerk’s Well that gave the area its name.

Growing in synergy over the eleven editions of the festival, Clerkenwell has flourished as one of London’s creative hotspots. From CDW’s humble beginnings with less than 40 participating showrooms back in 2010 to over 115 confirmed for 2022, this year’s show is truly bigger than ever before.

CDW’s exhibitions are hosted in distinctive spaces around the area linked by a route running through the centre of EC1. There are nine exhibitions, each with a different curatorial focus, ranging from cutting edge international design, to emerging talent, lighting, luxury interiors and the best of British design.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, there is great enthusiasm and excitement among creatives in the area about the new edition of CDW and the return of the pink trail.

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November 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide