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What to see at Clerkenwell Design Week 2023

From 23-25 May, CDW will bring the best of the creative industry together for three spectacular days in London’s most design-filled neighbourhood.

11/05/2023 7 min read
2022 installation by Interface

The UK’s leading independent design festival returns to its roots in EC1 from 23 – 25 May. Featuring more than 600 events in its 12th edition, Clerkenwell Design Show will be hosting their biggest programme to date and for the first time, partnered with their sister show, Design London.

Stay tuned for the latest from Clerkenwell Design Week 2023

2023 destinations

CDW 2023 sees two new venues on the list – Catapult and The Garden – running alongside returning favourites including Old Sessions House, home to the festival’s hub. Throughout, visitors will be able to explore an array of products and projects and interact with a network of emerging designers and more than 130 local showroom partners.

Design Fields, Spa Fields – international furniture and interior brands
Contract, Spa Fields – commercial interiors
Light, House of Detention – international lighting brands
Project, St James’ Church – workplace furniture and solutions
Elements, St John’s Square – architectural hardware and finishes
British Collection, St James’ Church – best of British interiors brands
Detail, The Order of St. John – luxury interiors
Platform, Cowcross Street – emerging design talent
Old Sessions House – brand pop-ups and activations
Ceramics of Italy, St John’s Square – Italian tile brands
The Garden (NEW), St John’s Square – outdoor furniture
Catapult (NEW), Sekforde Street – contemporary design for office, hospitality and retail

Conversations at Clerkenwell

Hosted at Spa Fields, Conversations at Clerkenwell will see insightful discussions between established and new design talent, industry leaders, journalists and institutes across three days. Opened on Tuesday 23 May with London-born-and-bred artist and designer Morag Myerscough, next up, in Mix Presents at 13:00 guests will have the chance to hear Mix Interiors‘ very own managing editor Harry McKinley host a panel discussion on the topic of maximalist interiors.

Joining us will be Zaha Hadid Architects’ head of interior architecture Kar Hwa Ho, design journalist and author Claire Bingham, Ultrafabrics director of branding Nicole Meier and Shayne Brady, co-founder and director of hospitality at Brady Williams. An unmissable conversation, book your tickets here

At 11:00 on 24 May, Yuri Suzuki will chat with journalist Elspeth Pridham about his work on the intersection of installation, interaction and product design, plus his role as Sound Design Partner at Pentagram. Closing the discussions at 15:00 on 25 May, Nipa Doshi of Doshi Levien will share her recent projects and thoughts on the significance of colour in design across a client base that spans furniture and accessories to textiles.

Yinka Ilori x Domus

Teaming up with multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori, Domus will debut their new collaboration, Yinka Ilori x Domus. Introducing the London-based designer’s eclectic mood-boosting colour palette and patterns across two new ranges, this new tile collection expresses joy and boundless possibility within surface design and interiors. To mark the launch, Ilori’s window display installation will be on display at Domus Clerkenwell on Great Sutton Street.

CDW Presents

British artist Steve Messam will be headlining CDW Presents, bringing his specially commissioned installation ‘Gateway’ to St John’s Gate. Known across the planet for his large-scale inflatables, the six-metre-tall artwork – sponsored by SketchUp – features 27 giant spikes hand-sewn in a striking blue textile and forms part of Messam’s ongoing series transforming how people view historical architectural sites. Visitors will also witness Messam’s creative overhaul of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic red telephone boxes, including K6 – originally designed for George V’s coronation in 1935 – and the UK’s first national telephone box, K2. Spread over three locations, the former is located on Cowcross Street, and the latter can be found on Clerkenwell Road as well as outside St James’s Church.

Made of Mushrooms

Brought to the show by PLP Architecture, SYMBIOCENE LIVING: Mycelium Building Block is an interpretive, artistic mycelium installation added to the CDW Presents series to encourage the public to envision and engage with fungi architecture. While the modular feature is made of mycelium blocks with a 3D printed timber shell, the blocks – akin to a watermelon – will be rearranged to create a unique formation containing abstract seating and towers on each day of the festival. This one-off installation is expected outside Clerkenwell & Social on St John’s Square.

The funghi conversation continues with AllSfär’s partnership with leading mushroom packaging manufacturer, the Magical Mushroom Company and their range of acoustic wall tiles called FIKA. Made mostly from mycelium grown exclusively in the UK by MMC, the organic tiles also contain industrial hemp. Visitors will be able to get a first glimpse of FIKA from 23 May at AllSfär’s new showroom on Baltic Street East.

Ones to Watch

As part of an open discussion about the climate crisis, Orangebox has invited Brompton Bicycles, Grown in Britain and UBQ to its Northampton Road showroom to present ideas and insights into three critical topics – including materiality, circularity and locality – throughout the festival.

Over in Brunner’s revamped new showroom on Rosebery Avenue, new Boards by Osko + Deichmann will be displayed in the UK for the first time. From light whiteboards and rolling stools with clever cut-outs to work on and standing tables with mounting options, Boards aim to enhance collaboration in workspaces.

Meanwhile, pioneering green-tech Danish furniture brand Mater will present an interactive installation titled ‘Wastedream’, centred around the brand’s new patented waste material Matek. Highlighting their investment in circular waste production, visitors are invited to explore the installation at the manufacturer’s London showroom, Mater Earth Gallery on St John Street. Products on display will include the likes of Mater’s respected Conscious collection, Eternity chair and more.

Over in St John’s Square, BAUX’s exhibition is dedicated to the future of design and wellbeing in an installation designed by artist Morag Myerscough. A free-standing installation which takes the form of a museum-like exhibition, the installation has been co-designed by BAUX and Swedish design studio, Form Us With Love. An internal hub allows visitors to experience the BAUX Acoustic Products in more depth, with detailed background on each biodegradable ingredient, colours and variations across the range of Wood Wool Tiles and Panels, Pulp Panels, and Felt Screens made from recycled PET bottles.

Belgian brand modulyss will also host a series of talks and workshops in their Clerkenwell Road showroom. Sustainability, inclusivity and the role of AI are among some of the key topics led by Tarek Merlin, director of Feix & Merlin Architects, neurodiversity consultant Rachel Morgan and designer at Zaha Hadid Architects, Tim Fu.

Life Is Beautiful

Visitors to the Arper showroom will have the chance to discover for the first time in the UK Arper’s latest collections. The newly restyled Clerkenwell showroom will explore Arper’s new concept Life is Beautiful, a reflection on the meaning of beauty. Visitors to the showroom will find themselves immersed in a selection of fluid settings, aimed to encompass everyday life’s activities in a positive, soft and colourful way. Latest 2023 collections on display include: Ralik by Ichiro Iwasaki, Semiton by García Cumini, Roopa by Doshi Levien, Shaal by Doshi Levien and Aava 02 by Antti Kotilainen.

Al Fresco Furniture

In their Cowcross Street showroom, Fritz Hansen will celebrate the introduction of its first outdoor furniture line, Skagerak by Fritz Hansen, within a curated indoor garden feature. Designed in collaboration with Hugo Passos and Aurelién Barby, each piece of the new collection is sold as a flat-pack and made from the highest quality, sustainably sourced FSC-certified teak.

Elsewhere, visitors will find Jennifer Newman Studio‘s revival of the classic Alfresco bench and Huddle table at St John’s Square and nearby, Mediterranean-inspired Ethimo will present their 2023 collection, featuring the Bold table and Bulbi – a series of concrete vases by Studiopepe. Meanwhile, Case Furniture will be at Groupwork (Clerkenwell Green) displaying their Eos outdoor furniture collection by Matthew Hilton, and visitors at Danish manufacturer Norr11 will get to witness the newly launched outdoor editions of the popular Studio sofa and Hippo lounge chair.

All Things Cork

Launched in 2022, Kent-based manufacturer, Recork, specialises in stylish cork flooring made from 85% natural cork harvested from Portuguese cork oak forests called Montado. Claiming to be the only manufacturer that turns production waste used for bottle stoppers into flooring planks and accessories, Recork will be showcasing their latest rug collection made from sustainably sourced cork, wool and cotton – in partnership with Portuguese brand Sugo Cork Rugs.

Highlights at Light include The Monkey Puzzle Tree, who will be touting the North of England in a collaboration between former textile buyer Charlotte Raffo and a series of Yorkshire artists who have designed and produced local fabrics and wallpapers. Hit The North, a modernist-inspired wallpaper, will be on display, featuring artwork by graphic artist Drew Millward printed onto sustainable Portuguese cork.

Best Of Bathrooms

Over at Design Fields, German ceramic specialist Villeroy & Boch, now in its 275th year, will launch an extensive range of bathroom taps and fittings –as well as a new designer collaboration. Also joining the line-up – and new to CDW – is Fiora from Spain. Its semi-modular bathroom furniture collection, Rok, features modern straight lines while offering great versatility with its various design and customisation options.

Meanwhile, recently opened on Charterhouse Street, the BAGNODESIGN Architecture + Design Gallery will display its new mixer range, Chiasso –alongside its furniture line, Alpine, which can be configured to work for multiple settings.

Register for your free pass

With an anticipated 30,000+ people expected, London’s most creative district is set to be bustling. Exhibition venues will be open from 10am – 6pm Tuesday, 10am – 9pm Wednesday and 10am – 5pm Thursday.

Visitors require a badge for free access to all exhibition venues – register here to secure yours and purchase tickets to events here.

See you in EC1!


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