Once again Clerkenwell became abuzz with activity as it hosted the annual Clerkenwell Design Week. The area in Central London is known as London’s Creative Heart – hosting more architects and creative businesses per square mile than anywhere else. Each year the event attracts students, designers and manufacturers from all over the UK to its eight exhibition spaces and over a hundred open showrooms scattered across the area. It offers a fantastic opportunity to meet the faces behind the product, and discover the thought process behind creating beautiful pieces of design.
The event oozes with style and inspiration – and of course Gracious Luxury were there!
Each of the eight exhibition spaces hosted collections of varying themes and focuses – including Design Fields for International contemporary design, Platform for up-and-coming design talent, Additions for small design pieces and accessories, Project for contract furniture, British Collection for home grown talent and finally Detail for luxury design.
The selection this year was as strong as ever, and the exhibitions had a real emphasis on user activity – displays were tactile, installations encouraged participation and the feel was dynamic and energised.
Amongst all of this activity, there were some shining stars of the show. Here are my top picks of Clerkenwell 2017:
Emma J Shipley
Possibly one of the most visually striking displays (located in Additions) was that of Emma J Shipley – a graphic artist based in London. Emma’s work harnesses the beauty of handcrafted design and each illustration is drawn by hand. The designs are whimsical – from mythological creatures, sea creatures, astrological imagery to special collaborations with Disney. The illustrations are printed onto luxury silk cushions, scarves, prints and accessories.
Lozi, a London based company creates bespoke, modern furniture. Hosted in British Collection, the elegant woodwork is simple and clean in style. The smooth and beautifully crafted pieces utilise a neutral pallet; with oaks, beech, pine and white. The clean lines focus on wood grain and complex joins, which give texture and detail to every piece. We particularly enjoyed the bespoke kitchen collection and the soft, warm glow cast by the pine-veneered sunset lamp.
MannMade London is yet another fantastic British company, specialising in handcrafted, made to order pieces inspired by the urban surroundings of its home in Battersea, London. Their exhibition at the British Collection focused on the launch of their new Battersea Collection, featuring their Edna mirrors in silver or a stunning rose gold, the Rozel dressing table and the Northcote shelving unit. Each piece is made from steel, dyed Valchromat and solid Walnut or Ash. The dark colour pallet coupled with crisp lines create a minimal, functional and moody feel with a touch of glamour.
One of the more unusual objects we saw at Clerkenwell was the flagship piece by Graypants – the Scraplight, at Icon House of Culture. The unusual light shade is full of texture in an earthy tone, and as you get closer to the piece you realise it is made up of laser-cut, recycled corrugated cardboard. Environmentally friendly, the light fittings make a statement and would suit spaces in both bold and neutral colour pallets.
Bang & Olufsen
Bang & Olufsen sponsored Icon House of Culture this year, and took full advantage of the atmospheric space with light installations, leading to their BeoSound Shape speaker system. The wall-mounted speakers offer an attractive acoustic solution to any space, and the modular system allows for you to choose exactly how you want it arranged. The wool fabric coated panels are tactile and eye catching, giving you the opportunity to create a focal point in any room – both practical and stylish, with incredible sound.
Clerkenwell 2017 was a yet again a massive hit and fantastic experience for designers, creatives and those who appreciate the art of interior design. If you were unable to visit this year, I hope you were inspired by our selection of highlights. Don’t forget – Clerkenwell 2018 will soon be around the corner, don’t miss it!
BA Interior Design (Hons)- University of South Wales