There's a new Design week in town. Clerkenwell Design Week celebrates the east London neighbourhood that is host to thousands of architects and designers and 60-odd design showrooms. This community came together for three days in May to show off the best in British and international design talent. The festival aimed to bring out the social and creative networks that make Clerkenwell special and the whole area had a real buzz to it, with many happenings spilling out onto the streets. The festival was also an excellent opportunity to check out some of the launches fresh from the Milan catwalk. Overleaf, there's a selection of some of the highlights from the week.
Marcel Wanders' Tulip armchair for Cappellini seems to take the piss out of lobby furniture that specialises in giving the sitter privacy – the descendants of Arne Jacobsen's Egg chair. The back of this chair is so high and so enclosing that you disappear into it. And as the name implies it looks like a tulip.
Republic of Fritz Hansen
Danish designer Kasper Salto presented his new stackable Nap chair for Republic of Fritz Hansen at the B-Loose showroom in Clerkenwell. The name is an abbreviation of three sitting positions – normal, active and passive – Salto has designed the chair to fit them all. Moulded out of polythene it comes both with and without armrests and it is scored with thin grooves to prevent the sitter from slipping about on the plastic.
Modus' showroom, which was designed by creative director Michael Sodeau, hosted a Pecha Kucha. It was packed to the rafters on the night so only a lucky few got a seat in the new Ten sofa. Launched in Milan and also designed by Sodeau it has a strict frame, but a soft and cosy interior of feather cushions. But what really makes the piece is its beautiful cover of Harris Tweed fabric.
Matt Elton runs his own carpentry workshop, ME Design in east London, where he designs and builds all his pieces. At the Farmiloe building in Clerkenwell he displayed his Vernon 14 desk as part of the Scene Plus installation, organised by the Shoreditch design collection Scene.
Vernon 14 is made from white oak with a spray lacquered top, drawers and back panels,
giving it a Bauhaus feel. "It's an expensive process," says Elton, "so I'm not expecting to get too many sold."
Moroso always has such a wealth of things on display at the Milan furniture fair, so it was good to get a second look at some of the collection during Clerkenwell Design Week. The Doshi Levien Paper Plane armchair is a lighter take on upholstered furniture, without removing any of the comfort, as the shape of the chair envelops the sitter. The Doshi Levien- designed Jacquard fabric is produced with Swarovski crystals to add some sparkle to the minimal design.