Clerkenwell’s favourite design festival returns from 23-25 May with hundreds of design-led events, exciting workshops, engaging talks, and more. Read on to discover ICON’s guide to this year’s edition of Clerkenwell Design Week
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Bolon
1. Bolon Studio, Bolon
During this year’s edition of Clerkenwell Design Week, Swedish design brand Bolon showcases its range of woven flooring named Bolon Studio, which is designed to have a playful appearance and can be hyper-personalised by users.
From honeycomb pathways to cubical staircase patterns, the Bolon Studio collection is available in nine geometric shapes that can be mixed and matched, including hexagons, diamonds, triangles, chevrons, rectangles, and a number of curved shapes.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and London Metropolitan School of Art, Architecture and Design
2. Colours of London
London Metropolitan School of Art, Architecture and Design has selected a group of BA Product Design students to present 23 columns – each one a personal response to the colours and dynamic landscapes of London.
During Clerkenwell Design Week, visitors to Colours of London, located at YOTEL on Clerkenwell Road, will be asked to vote for their favourite design, with the winning student having their colour palette mixed as tester pots by Mylands, Britain’s oldest, family-owned and run paint and polishes manufacturer.
Photography by Gareth Gardner featuring artist Morag Myerscough with Elvis at her studio in Hoxton, 2021
3. Morag Myerscough x Baux
London-born-and bred artist and designer Morag Myerscough opens the festival’s talks programme, Conversations at Clerkenwell in Spa Fields on Tuesday 23 May (11:00 am). She will speak with Editorial Director of WGSN, Bethan Ryder, about her unique approach to transforming places and championing community through joyful installations and artworks.
Meanwhile, on St John’s Square, Myerscough is also responsible for creating the exterior wall of a freestanding installation from leading acoustics specialist, Baux. Designed by its in-house team along with Form Us With Love, this special exhibition highlights the work of eight students from Scandinavia’s finest architectural institutes.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Nipa Doshi of Doshi Levien
4. Talks Programme, Conversations at Clerkenwell
The jam-packed schedule of eighteen talks, curated by Katie Richardson, across the three days is always a big attraction. The programme will open with designer and artist Morag Myerscough and other highlights include Soho Home’s Design Director James Patmore and Soho House’s interior designer Domhnall Nolan; British/Canadian designer Philippe Malouin; Design Council CEO Minnie Moll; Note Design Studio; Pantone; Doshi Levien’s Nipa Doshi and Pentagram’s Experience and Sound designer Yuri Suzuki.
Themes that will be explored include: The meaning of ‘taste’, sound design, colour trends for 2024, defining Scandinavian design, communicating design circularity, diversity in design, Maximalism, and the future of wellness within the hospitality sector. The role design and designers play in the climate emergency will be explored throughout the programme and a ‘Sustainable Living’ series will see one talk each day dedicated specifically to the topic.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Mater featuring Wastedream
5. Wastedream, Mater
Danish design label Mater creates beautifully minimalist furniture made from waste materials such as coffee bean shells, sawdust from wood production, and plastic waste. Conscious Chair 3162, designed in 1958 by the renowned Danish furniture designer and architect Børge Mogensen and Esben Klint, is made of FSC wood and Matek, recycled fiber-based waste materials and recycled plastic waste from Grohe.
During Clerkenwell Design Week 2023, Mater, the pioneering green-tech Danish furniture brand, will present an interactive installation centred around the brand’s new patented waste material Matek, highlighting its investment in circular waste production. The installation will take place at Mater’s London showroom, Mater Earth Gallery, which sits in the heart of Clerkenwell Design District.
Titled ‘Wastedream’ (a play on the term waste stream) this installation establishes both Mater’s sense of optimism and responsibility as a brand to protect our planet and ensure a more sustainable future. Visitors to the showroom are invited to explore the interactive installation, which highlights the importance of circularity in furniture design, by demonstrating the endless capabilities of Mater’s pioneering waste material Matek.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Kirkby featuring Formation
6. Kirkby Design
A creative textile brand with a fresh, modern direction, Kirkby Design isn’t afraid of colour or pattern. During Clerkenwell Design Week, the company is opening up the doors to its showroom where visitors can explore Kirkby’s latest collections.
These include Formation, a hero collection of designs woven in a mixture of innovative qualities, including a layered pocket weave, chunky knit and sophisticated velvets; Segment, a creative collection of hand-painted graphics in a multitude of colours, digitally printed onto 100% recycled cotton from the fashion industry; and, Wallcoverings Vol. 2 Sustainable wallcoverings, printed on a blended ground of FSC certified wood pulp and corn fibre.
Corn fibre is a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice, as corn is a renewable resource that can be grown and harvested with limited impact on the environment. Additionally, the manufacturing process produces 30% less greenhouse gas than traditional wallpaper materials, such as vinyls and papers containing polyester.
Photography by Gareth Gardner featuring Accessorize, Stratford-upon-Avon, 2015. From the series Middle England
7. Double Vision, Gareth Gardner
To celebrate the launch of the latest toilet with integrated WASHLET, the NEOREST WX, TOTO invites architectural photographer Gareth Gardner to explore the world of architectural and interior photography. What makes a good architectural photograph?
It’s a subjective question that has no definitive answer, particularly in this post-truth age of fake news, AI images, photoreal visualisations and photographs that have been Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives.
This exhibition presents a selection of photographs by Gardner who has handpicked images from his 20-year archive that each sit at different places on the sliding scale with staged photography at one extreme and documentary the other.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Bioo Lux
8. Bioo Lux
Entrepreneur Pablo Vidarte will introduce his award-winning smartech label Bioo Lux, the world’s first lamp that can be switched on and regulated through human contact with a living plant.
Designed in Barcelona by design studio BAG Disseny, in collaboration with Bioo, and manufactured in the north of Portugal by local craftsmen in Porto, the translucent porcelain pot-lamp features a cork base.
Meanwhile, the installed plant works as a biological switch – with a simple touch the lamp turns on and off. An innovative lighting concept, the first edition consists of just 2000 exclusive pieces.
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Steve Messam featuring Paper Bridge
9. Steve Messam x Sketch-Up
British artist Steve Messam collaborates with 3D design software company Sketch-Up to bring his large-scale, inflatable artwork to St John’s Gate of the Order of St John and three iconic Clerkenwell telephone boxes.
At St John’s Gate, the site-specific piece, titled Gateway and measuring 6m (height) by 15.5m (length), will feature 27 giant spikes hand-sewn in a striking blue textile.
It forms part of Messam’s ongoing art series taking over historic architectural sites – and inviting the public to examine their environment in a new light through its deliberately ambiguous shape and size.
Steve will also take part in a Studio Talk at 4pm on Wed 24th May at Ultrafabrics. The panel talk hosted by Ultrafabrics x Pantone, explores the impact of colour in experiential design
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Amin Taha featuring 15 Clerkenwell Close
10. 15 Clerkenwell Close, Amin Taha
On 24th May at 5pm, registered visitors of Clerkenwell Design Week are invited to join a free tour by architect Amin Taha of one of the most hotly debated buildings in the area, 15 Clerkenwell Close.
The main structure and exoskeleton is made of limestone, not the typical concrete, which reduces the embodied carbon by 90percent. Taha runs his practice Groupwork from the Stirling Prize-nominated building and calls the top floor apartment home.
The tour will explore the history of the site, the building’s pocket and roof gardens as well as the studio space, where Case Furniture will be hosting a special showcase of the Robin Day Forum collection, which they have reissued ahead of its 60th anniversary. Spaces are limited, sign up here
Photography courtesy of Clerkenwell Design Week and Fritz Hansen featuring Plank Chair
11. Skagerak by Fritz Hansen
In its Cowcross Street showroom, iconic Danish design brand 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, which ages beautifully and requires minimal maintenance.
Photography by Martin Kosseson featuring Heiter X’s TerraFirma
12. Edible Tablescapes, Heiter X
Over at Old Sessions House, Heiter X is a sustainable food design and experience studio founded by Estonia-based Helis Heiter which presents Terra Firma, its unique and immersive edible tablescapes that explore the intersection of food, art, and sustainability.
Terra Firma serve as a platform for exploring the relationship between food and the environment, showcasing sustainable practices, and encouraging conscious consumption.
More than just a table, it’s a sharing plate, a serving vessel, and a topographic surface made from a combination of natural and repurposed materials, including raw clay, natural carnauba wax and biomass. The table surface is designed to grow sprouts, reminding us of the life cycle of food in our daily lives.
Register for Clerkenwell Design Week for free here