Review of Clerkenwell Design Week 2017

Clerkenwell Design Week is the UK’s leading independent design festival which showcases UK and international brands in exhibitions, events, talks and seminars. Clerkenwell, a district in London, is home to some of the most creative designers and architects in the world, making it a global design hub. Clerkenwell Design Week reinforces this position by presenting insights into the future of architecture, street art and interior design. 

A festival atmosphere

The beautiful medieval and Victorian Clerkenwell area becomes inhabited during the festival by the world’s top design brands. Exhibitors use churches, nightclubs and even prison cells to showcase their designs and you are sure to come across wonderful design at every turn. The philosophy of top-quality design is always evident, with even the sponsors setting the creative tone. This year’s main sponsor was Renault, which was visible all around Clerkenwell as they provided electric courtesy cars for attendees. Bang & Olufsen was also another major sponsor, using the event to launch their latest wireless speaker system in Icon’s House of Culture with a beautiful exhibition. The combined design philosophy of all the exhibitors, sponsors and visitors made the atmosphere very special.

Immersive technology

While most showrooms featured new designs, there were also some extremely innovative and immersive experiences. Exciting displays of technology included virtual reality experiences with 3D walkthroughs of interior spaces, allowing you to make real-time colour or product choices and change selected finishes on pieces of furniture. There was also a virtual reality installation at Brewhouse Yard showing the Voice of Colour palette from Johnstone Trade – a leading decorative paint brand. This technology proved to be hugely popular at Clerkenwell this year. 

Other highlights

There were so many aspects to the festival which made it a success. Some wonderful hand-made furniture and accessories were on display in the smaller stalls and tents at the festival and were well worth visiting. Craft studios and design agencies opened their doors to allow attendees visit them. This added another unique element to the festival. There were also plenty of places to eat and drink and it was wonderful to just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere.

Another highlight for me was the event guide. This was an invaluable resource during my visit which helped to locate suppliers and also provided descriptions of products and talks available. It even highlights services and technical talks available at other times of the year. If you are going next year, don’t forget to pick this up.

Looking forward to next year

Clerkenwell Design Week is a fantastic way to stay up to date with the latest designs and trends in the industry. It’s very enjoyable, easy to navigate and many shows stay open until late in the evening. Next year’s festival is planned for 22-24 May 2018 and I advise signing up to the email list as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on one of the key international design events.

What are some of the other design events you recommend visiting?

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Written by: Twyla Howse

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