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In terms of its status as a design destination, what does the future hold for Clerkenwell?

We ask 6 experts from inside and outside of Clerkenwell to offer their opinion on the future of our (current) design hub.

10/02/2021 2 min read

Natalie Thomson

Director, Head of Strategy, Buckley Gray Yeoman

24 years ago, our first studio was in Clerkenwell and we still consider it our neighbourhood. Working on projects in Clerkenwell is a privilege – few other London neighbourhoods so nonchalantly balance artistic sensibilities alongside commercial prowess. Clerkenwell is London and the world at once – independent eateries, pubs and old industrial warehouses sit alongside its bounty of furniture and product showrooms that inspire and realise our work. Clerkenwell’s future is bright because its identity and community is so established in the industry.

Garry Mason

Head of A&D, Tsunami Axis

Like most industries, design has adapted to the challenges of the past year to broaden its reach – both virtually and through innovative ways of bringing product and client together. Clerkenwell will remain an important hub for design in the foreseeable future, if in a slightly devolved way, seeing activity dissipating beyond EC1A. As a company that has always resided outside of Clerkenwell, Tsunami Axis hopes it will continue to be able to balance Clerkenwell’s rich resource with the wider design world.

Annelie Kvick Thompson

Partner, Grimshaw

We believe progressive and forward focused design can shape a bright future, where innovation thrives through human contact and the exchange of ideas. The vibrancy of Clerkenwell’s businesses and people supports this. At Grimshaw, we have always explored new ways of working and, similarly, Clerkenwell has been adapting to new ideas for decades. By continuing to evolve, it can drive the transformation of our cities and workplaces for the future.

Matt Davies

Sales Director, The Furniture Practice

Manufacturers will continue to recognise that having a well-located showroom is key to be able to service the design community and to showcase their products. Designers and clients haven’t the time or inclination to cross London, so it continues to make sense to have a design hub. Where better than Clerkenwell? Ideally situated between the West End and the City and with a vibrant social scene that’s waiting to be re-awakened.

Claire Williams

Creative Director, Ocee Design

Clerkenwell has always been a creative and diverse hub, bringing together an eclectic mix of the best in design and creative thinking. In our opinion, that’s not going to change. We head into 2021 with a real sense of optimism, confident that the streets will be busy and the showrooms buzzing. Having said that, physical spaces will be enhanced and supported by technology. AI, product configurators, virtual spaces and better use of data have been quickly embraced – and this will only carry on.

Jonathan Parr

Market Leader UK & Ireland, Vitra

Clerkenwell is an infamous design destination for architecture, design, media and tech firms. The design culture of this area is unique and has developed over many years. It is for this reason that many refer to Clerkenwell as ‘the heart of the London design community’. I believe this will stay the case. However, London is full of other great design destinations, which together make London a world leading design destination.ω

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