CDW Preview

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Preview articles are always a touch tricky to put together – even with the might of the Clerkenwell Design Week marketing machine behind you – simply because, of course, we haven’t actually seen what’s happening yet.

It’s easy to just gather as much information as we can and throw thousands and thousands of words at you – but would you find that useful? Would that help you navigate the sights and sounds of Clerkenwell? Probably not.

If you do want every single CDW detail, then we suggest you simply go to the website. It’s all there. We, however, would like to give you an alternative – something bite-sized and easy to follow, which you incredibly busy, time-conscious people will hopefully find helpful.

First though, let’s give you (end especially those of you who don’t know the event and the borough) a little background. One of the best-loved events in the design industry calendar, Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day annual festival gathering Clerkenwell’s long-established design community together. Now in its fifth year, the event has increasingly become a must visit showcase for the UK and international design community. The 2013 show attracted over 50,000 registered attendees and 250 brands from the UK and across the globe.

The name Clerkenwell comes from the Clerks’ Well in Farringdon Lane, where London parish clerks performed the famous Medieval Mystery Plays throughout the Middle Ages. Since the Industrial Revolution, the area has housed craft workshops, printers, clockmakers and jewellers. Traditional crafts, such as printing and bookbinding still flourish, as do graphic designers. In the last two decades, Clerkenwell’s unique variety of buildings have been transformed into central studio and workshop spaces, attracting an unprecedented concentration of architectural, design and creative practices.

The global businesses that have made Clerkenwell their home have shaped the borough into the UK’s most important generator of creativity and innovation. Serving an infinite variety of other Clerkenwell has become home to a plethora of new media agencies, graphic and interactive design studios and more than 200 architectural practices – more per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. In addition, Clerkenwell houses over 60 design showrooms, which form the true hub of the festival.

So, to help you plan your week, here are a number of bite-sized CDW selections. Please note that some events are by invitation only – go to the comprehensive CDW website for more information, venues, times, dates etc.

The CDW Hubs

Design Factory at The Farmiloe Building will showcase leading furniture, lighting and product design from around the world. Alongside some of the most exciting home-grown designer-makers, the show will present a diverse range of the best in international contemporary design.

Detail at The Order of St. John will reflect principles of fine craftsmanship and high glamour, showcasing the best and most prestigious names in the luxury interiors world. Selected brands will feature throughout the venue’s majestic church, crypt and cloister garden. After its successful inauguration in 2013, CDW will increase the venue’s interiors offering, to include two new pop-up marquees on St. John’s Square.

Clerkenwell Design Week returns to the subterranean House of Detention, to introduce Platform, a new show that recognises some of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming design talent. Exploiting the venue’s atmospheric architecture, Platform creates a stunning backdrop for a curated collection of international and cutting-edge design.

For 2014, Clerkenwell Design Week will launch a new show, Additions, dedicated to small design pieces and interior accessories. The show will take place at CDW’s newest venue, the Crypt on the Green, St. James Church. Additions will present a carefully curated group of international brands and emerging talent – making it a festival hotspot for all interior designers, retail buyers, specifiers and the hallowed members of the press.

The Products

The week kicks-off with the UK unveiling of the Desso/Philips LED light transmissive carpet, which has been developed in partnership between the two businesses. The project team behind the collaboration will share their journey from concept to reality and showcase the unique carpet/lighting flooring solution.

Brunner will be rejoining the festival this year at its spectacular new home. Designed by McDowell+Benedetti Architects, the three-storey showroom will house the brand’s latest ranges, from the Hoc Bar and A-Chair collections by Jehs+Laub, to the Fina Club range by Wolfgang C. R. Mezger.

The Poltrona Frau Group will bring its recent Milan preview to the festival, showcasing the impressive new collections from Alias, Cappellini, Cassina and Poltrona Frau.

SILENCE-OCULAR-TILES-Bolon will launch its new Silence collection at this year’s festival. Inspired by the forests, lakes and wide skies of the brand’s origin, Sweden, the Silence range features unique 3D effects that reflect light, thus the flooring will appear differently depending on the direction from which the light falls. To mark the launch at its newly refurnished showroom, Bolon has invited world-renowned choreographer Alexander Ekman for an artistic collaboration, supported by a playful film, which will also be unveiled at the festival.

The Boss Design Group will unveil new table and seating solutions from two of its iconic brands – Boss Design and Lyndon Design – at CDW. Designed in collaboration with leading British designers, the new products will take centre stage at a number of events being held to celebrate British design and manufacturing prowess at the Group’s fantastic Clerkenwell Road showroom. Keep an eye out for Toto, a new multi-purpose chair suitable for meetings, dining and customer areas, designed by Mark Gabbertas, and Zandy – an eye-catching café chair available with plastic seat and back or upholstered seat and plastic back for added comfort, designed by Paul Brooks.

BuzziSpace will be introducing wood into some exciting new products – which will include BuzziMilk and the Nordic range of seating.

Inspired by the landscape, history and personality of London, an interactive installation will showcase the new BarberOsgerby-designed Mutina tiles, Mews, at the Domus showroom.

Hot on the heels of Milan, Knoll will present all its new collections shown at Salone, including the new Barcelona chair – Relax – which is a softer, more luxurious version of the enduring design.

Wagstaff Interiors: Hitch Mylius will be launching the HM106 collection of benches and sofas, designed by Magnus Long, at the Wagstaff Interiors showspace. Get the first glimpse of the range, and have your caricature drawn as you enjoy the Best of British-themed beers and barbeque food.

CDW will see the UK launch for Fritz Hansen of Analog, a dining table by Jaime Hayon, and the return of a design classic, the Drop chair by Arne Jacobsen.

Emphasis-Desk-10Hands will be showcasing its new executive workplace collection, PURE, and will also be providing ‘best of British’ afternoon treats as you peruse.

For Clerkenwell Design Week, Steelcase will be turning THREE. THREE is a launch event for two of the company’s newest products, B-Free and Ology. The event will focus on their contribution to the three aspects of wellness in the workplace: physical, psychological and cognitive. The Steelcase London WorkLife will be divided into three areas: a wellness gallery, a theatre experience, and a product applications area where CDW attendees will have the opportunity to explore product applications designed to promote every aspect of wellness as well as enjoying some wellness focused entertainment and healthy refreshments.

Gallery desking partner Tangent is to preview its stunning new Mesh modular reception system during Clerkenwell Design Week. Designed by Neil Wilson, the products, which are the result of a partnership using Porcelanosa’s new architectural material KRION, enabled Neil to design a visually engaging series in a composite material, which has significant benefits in the built environment. The design is a visually striking array of angled planes, arranged in modules to suit the environment and then finished on site to give a seamless monolithic effect.

Talks and Seminars

At the Frem Group showroom, Dr Craig Knight will explain how the design and management of office space can affect wellbeing, health and organisations’ bottom line.

Domus Tiles will exclusively launch the new ‘Mews’ range, designed by ‘Mutina + Edward Barber + Jay Osgerby’. The designers will give an insight into the new London inspired range with a talk at Domus’ Great Sutton Street showroom. The esteemed duo have amassed an impressive body of work since founding their studio in 1996 and came to the prominent attention of the nation more recently when they created the Olympic Torch for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Focusing on key industry issues, Connection will discuss the value of embracing BIM (Building Information Modelling) with interior designers, specifiers and furniture makers at the festival, following a recent announcement that, by 2016, Level 2 BIM will be mandatory for government contracts.

As part of its ongoing research into the workplace, Orangebox will present its latest white paper report, looking at shared, collaborative workspaces, as well as the new challenges of mobile hand held technology.

Wagstaff Interiors will be presenting the CPD approved seminar ‘Is Noise an Issue in Your Office?’ Mark Stevens of Acoustic Comfort will discuss how design, layout and new technologies can help improve the acoustic landscape of the workplace.

Here’s one not to be missed! Milliken will be hosting the Mix Interiors debate  ‘How creative is our industry?’ Interior designers and architects will discuss what it means to be creative and exactly how creative we are. The seminar will be chaired by our own
Mick Jordan.

The project team from Desso/Philips will share their journey from concept to reality as they showcase their exciting carpet/lighting flooring solution.


Davison Highley
will ask ‘Why do we prefer certain office layouts and how do they affect our wellbeing?’ Space Works Consulting explores the psychology underlying our office behaviour, including collaboration, shelter and personal space.

Enjoy sumptious drinks and canapés as Jack Pringle, Chair of Article 25, leads an auction of some stunning artwork and design pieces at the stunning new Scandinavian Business Seating showroom. You will also have the chance to enter into a draw for a number of luxury prizes. All proceeds will go towards the work of Article 25, who provides design expertise wherever there is disaster, conflict or poverty.

Workstation invites you to xperience an engaging presentation from Alexander Lorenz, designer of Herman Miller’s newest innovation, KIVO. This will be followed by an audience Q&A, with a networking opportunity over informal drinks.

Milliken welcomes Andrea Mason, Literary Kitchen founder, writer and creative writing teacher, who will share exercises such as ‘writing through drawing’ and ‘psycho-geography mapping through memory and space’. These methodologies can help anyone improve their ability to communicate through writing. Might well be one for us!

At The Gallery, Silverline will host a talk on 3D printing with John Robertson, a specialist with 20 years’ architectural CAD-modelling experience and more than 10 years in rapid prototyping and 3D printing. There will be a fascinating information session on ‘making design real’ with a Q&A session.

Form Us With Love will discuss the ever increasing need to invest in design at the Scandinavian Business Seating showroom. From both a strategic and communicative perspective founder Jonas will explore how a thorough process with analyses, strategy and industrial design can position a brand. Always with the same ambition, shaping the leading design brands of tomorrow.

Catherine Counsell, Camira’s Design and Development Manager, will give an insight into how Camira’s sustainable development ideas are born, grow and evolve – including fabrics made from nettles, hemp and now recycled jute from coffee sacks.

Humanscale will host engaging talks and panels on a range of topics throughout CDW. The schedule of events includes: Ergonomic Impact, a lunch and learn presentation by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University that will detail the economic impact of ergonomics interventions. Holistic Wellbeing in the Workplace, a panel discussion chaired by David Blood, ergonomic furniture specialist and comedian, will look at solutions for creating a thriving workplace. The Adaptable Workplace: Ergonomic Design and Productivity, a lecture by Professor Alan Hedge on the impact of workplace design on productivity, promises to be a fascinating breakfast event, while Women in Property, a panel discussion chaired by journalist Clare Dowdy, will look at women’s leadership challenges in the dynamic property sector.

Steelcase Design Director John Small will discuss how design can support and encourage wellness in the workplace, while you can also join the company for its new research seminar to find out why wellbeing is a bottom line issue.