Anyone with an interest in the office furniture and fit-outs sector should have one date marked in their annual calendar – Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW). Now in its 12th edition, CDW took place from 23-25 May. The festival offered its biggest programme yet, featuring more than 600 events, 160 showrooms and 12 exhibition venues.
This year, CDW merged with its sister show, Design London, and witnessed thousands of visitors converging on the London neighbourhood to view the latest trends and products covering furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, materials and surfaces, textiles, lighting and decorative accessories.
As always, there was plenty to see, not least the launches and installations set within the district’s historical venues including the Crypt on the Green, the Museum of the Order of St John and the revamped Old Sessions House. Headlining this year’s CDW Presents programme was a specially commissioned installation by British artist Steve Messam who is renowned for his large-scale, inflatable artwork.
A key subject matter for many manufacturers is forging a more sustainable way of living – from biodiversity to reduce-reuse-recycle – and this was particularly evident at CDW. Everywhere on display were products made from natural materials, particularly sustainably sourced wood, circular economy projects and designing from waste themes.
There were lots of companies offering innovative biophilic designs – think office plant installations on steroids. Mycelium building blocks, an edible tablescape, felt seating made from PET and a chair relaunched in sustainable homegrown British timber, were just a few of the works created to highlight sustainability in the furniture world.
The event is definitely worth a visit to immerse yourself in the latest workplace trends. One of the biggest benefits of CDW is the ability to explore all the numerous showrooms that open their doors over three days.
It will come as no surprise to learn that ergonomics continues to feature heavily – by Fellowes Brands and Wilkhahn, for example – and plenty of exhibitors displayed furniture designed with a ‘lounge’ feel in sumptuous but hardwearing fabrics. Colours this year were certainly more muted, with soft and warm shades and an emphasis on deep purples, blues and greens.
Mobility was one of the dominant themes, highlighted through an astonishing number of available products – acoustic screens, TV stands, booths, flip tables, desks and seats. A good deal of which featured battery packs for added manoeuvrability. Dams, for example, showcased its practical but fun noughts and crosses removable seat blocks. Locker systems offering different locks – standard, digital, RFID and combination – were also headliners for many manufacturers, including Assman, Bisley and Dams.