CDW 2018

So this week is Clerkenwell Design Week 2018!  Very exciting for all in the Architecture and Design world to take a break from the Studio and wander around one of the coolest boroughs in London visiting showrooms and pop-up events to see what’s new and innovative right now.

This year I’m dragging the husband along with me, usually I meet up with some of my old KLC alumni but we’re all so busy at the moment we couldn’t seem to make it on the same day this year.  Nick does have a vague interest in Interiors, but more for the furniture design and craftsmanship element of it, I guess because he works with his hands he can appreciate the time, care and attention to detail that’s gone into creating something from scratch.

We were running late, but made it in time to attend the ‘conversation’ I had booked which was hosted by Charles Leon, the current President of the BIID, and included several well known and respected Designers on the panel, including Nicola Harding, Lewis Taylor and Rachel Forster.  They were discussing how innovation and culture shape contemporary design, it was a fascinating talk and some of the time the panel members disagreed on some level, which was actually very interesting and also refreshing because they were confident in their own point of view.

After the panel discussion and a wander around the Design Fields, we stopped for sustenance (ok, cocktails…) at Bourne & Hollingsworth to sample their new menu and people watch whilst perched on stools at the tiled bar.  I find ‘creatives’ to have the most fabulous dress sense (not me, I’m firmly in the black on black camp most of the time), and looking at their outfits as they saunter through the door of B&H just makes me smile on the inside.

We then picked up our little pink book which is the Bible of CDW, detailing all events and listing all exhibitors, together with a map of the trail.  We followed the Design Trail to my favourite venue, The House of Detention, which this year housed the Platform exhibition.  We discovered some fantastic new Designers here; beautiful woven lights by Louise Tucker, wonderful monochrome textiles by Beatrice Larkin, and some fascinating wooden pendant lights from Neb Abbott.

Next onto The British Collection, which was held at The Crypt on the Green, if you’ve never been then it’s definitely worth a look, a fantastic little venue and we met up with our suppliers from Benchmark Furniture to see their collaboration with Fosters & Partners.  We also saw a rather beautiful and eclectic boho chic style Kitchen from Devol in here, which is definitely going to make it onto a mood board this year!

On to Detail & Elements (which are both conveniently located next to a good pub in St Johns Square…this time we had a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc…we don’t normally drink on the job but when in London and all that..), where we saw some wonderful ironmongery from the House of Eroju, as well as had a quick catch up with our suppliers from Samuel Heath and Opitome.

After dipping in and out of a few showrooms, we made our way down to Fabric for the Light Exhibition, which this year I felt surpassed all previous years with the quality and standard of lights on show, as well as their broad range of price levels they accommodated.  Lighting can be so expensive and an area which can be easily overlooked if a client is running the project themselves, but good lighting is crucial to the success of a design and can make or break an Interior.  We met with Jay from Wever & Ducre, a brand from Belgium who are mixing it up by creating contemporary light fittings with a short lead time and at really reasonable prices.

Clerkenwell was definitely worth the trip this year, lots of new things and great to see an emphasis on handcrafted pieces and natural materials as well.  In previous years I have found CDW to be more heavily focussed towards Office design, which generally means lots of plastics and composite materials in bright colours, but I think they got the balance right this year and I look forward to heading over that way in September for London Design Week to see what else is new.

Jenny Quinlan
Director & Head of Design
Studio JQ Ltd

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