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Celebrating Clerkenwell Design Week: Facts, Figures & 2018

As SEEN has mentioned before, Clerkenwell Design Week was a joy. From the big bold installations of Design Fields to the small independent designers, it struck SEEN (and not for the first time) how much good work there is going on in London at the moment. The capital has, of course, always been a magnet for talent home-grown and from abroad. Globalisation and the internet mean that collaborations, training, education and publicising new designs and initiatives are easier than ever, Brexit notwithstanding. This year’s CDW drew over 34,000 design professionals from 73 countries at London’s most important commercial design festival.

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The eighth edition of Clerkenwell Design Week was sponsored by Renault, delivered huge benefit to London’s creative hub with over 57,000 new business leads generated during the three-day festival. With more than 200 brands exhibiting across the 7 venues and 92 showrooms, CDW brought life to the area from 23rd – 25th May and further cemented the festival as a key event on the international design calendar. Indeed, 64% of visitors were architects or designers. Looking back it’s hard to imagine that so much was packed into just three days.

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This year’s festival focused on refining the visitor experience and access to the extensive combination of exhibitions, installations and over 300 live events. The eye-catching way-finding, designed by Space Agency and sponsored by URW++ was a vital aspect of this and guided visitors easily through the Clerkenwell Exhibition Trail, along which visitors experienced immersive installations including the ambitious 8m tall Beacon (SEEN’s favourite piece) at Design Fields and The Bolt: A Celebration of Craft, an impressive structure created by Giles Miller and Shinola. The trail was particularly ingenious, not just for the eye-catching displays but also for the little tucked-away shops, tents and pop up display spaces..

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The Conversations at Clerkenwell series, sponsored by eporta, staged in a specially designed talks space located within Design Fields, included a host of design thinkers and influencers including Doshi Levien, Sebastian Cox and many more. The eighth edition also welcomed 25 fringe partners, including the Museum of London, who organised themed walks on the past, present and future of making in Clerkenwell and Craft Central who presented a collaboration with TfL, celebrating TfL’s unique heritage of design with a specially commissioned collection of thirteen brand new Underground-inspired brooches. SEEN admired these very much.

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Daren Newton, Managing Director of Clerkenwell Design Week, commented: “The eighth edition of Clerkenwell Design Week was hugely successful and has proven that the festival is a substantial player in the global design scene. The festival saw some of the best global design brands occupy the unique setting of medieval and Victorian Clerkenwell and we have had brilliant responses from exhibitors and visitors alike.  The new layout for the festival was cemented this year through enhanced wayfinding, making the festival a much more complete experience – aided significantly by the great weather! We are now very much looking forward to next year.”

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Max Fraser, specialist in contemporary design was announced as Content Editor last month and going forward, will advise on the content curation, strategy and programming for Clerkenwell Design Week. He will also take on the same position on 100% Design (20th – 23rd September), the cornerstone event of the London Design Festival. SEEN looks forward to it.

Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 will take place Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th May. It’s heartening to think that even though Brexit negotiations are starting this week, London continues to be a crucial hub for worldwide design expertise, and indeed, is going from strength to strength.