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Clerkenwell’s cobbled alleys house more creative businesses and showrooms than anywhere else in the UK, so it’s only fitting that they also host one of the most vibrant design festivals of the capital.
Celebrating its 10th edition, Clerkenwell Design Week returned to London to celebrate the area’s architectural and creative history, unveiling the trends set to dominate the scene over the next few months.
Comprising of seven main exhibitions showcasing the very best of established and up-and-coming international talent, Clerkenwell Design Week also offered visitors the opportunity to attend talks, workshops and events that brought together the intersection of nature, science and design.
A multitude of trends were uncovered, however, we’ve identified 3 key themes that were on everyone’s lips this year.
Arguably the biggest theme we’ve seen at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, sustainability was the focus of several projects, installations and talks.
Iconic designs made from sustainable materials were displayed all over the different shows, but the project that had everyone talking was without a doubt BottleHouse™. Translating the problem of plastic pollution into a social enterprise through innovative yet low tech techniques, BottleHouse™ used 2000 disregarded plastic bottles to create a temporary but comfortable and stable shelter. The project by small. in collaboration with WSP Design Studio has the potential to generate a global task force, with local communities helping to collect the ‘bricks of the future’ to build shelters. BottleHouse could provide security, protection, stability while helping the environment.
Through their products, more exhibitors silently discussed the challenges and opportunities that are emerging in the new age of sustainability, while many talks analysed how the changing consumer behaviour is making ‘eco’ the new design standard. The manufacturers that effectively adopt sustainable design practices are positioning themselves to successfully respond to the growing demand for greener products, as well as sparking innovation in product development.
Globalisation & Flexible Living
Globalisation is still one of the strongest forces in architecture and design. Different cultures blend harmoniously to create an eclectic atmosphere, rather than a uniform setting influenced by one single region. In this global context, it becomes imperative for brands to consider the authenticity of their products, materials and techniques, in order to protect and emphasise the integrity of their designs.
Embracing the fusion of cultures, Curiousa & Curiousa’s display of lights focused on the natural material of Dupion silk, with its mixed imagery of English gardens with the influence of Chinese lanterns.
Globalisation also raises the need for a more flexible lifestyle. In today’s society, we’re able to move freely from one place to another, while always remaining connected. Matching this flexibility with a collection of modular units that suit the way we now live and work, Gwendoline Porte’s RAILS are playful and ergonomic. Inspired by railway tracks and the concept of ‘journey’, these functional sculptures are lightweight and easy to handle. Ideal for modern office spaces, hotel lobbies and home living areas alike, the RAILS units can be stacked on top of one another to form a column, or separated to create a stool, chair or side table.
Energy & Playfulness
There’s no arguing that colour has been staging a comeback in interiors. Stepping away from the minimalistic Scandi aesthetic, colour is now being embraced in all its glory. However, what we see emerging now is an explosion of light, colour and reflections, where no hue has been left behind. Pops of orange and powerful greens are paired with vivid yellows and bright teals, setting the scene for the new meaning of colour – a return to childhood. Doodle-shaped furniture in candy shades and bright tones alike filled the House of Detention with Platform, a show that celebrated the world’s most exciting young talent. Trouping Colour, a project born to create opportunities for young designers to join forces and tour prestigious events and venues, showcased surreal and unexpected furniture pieces that became a humorous, exaggerated version of themselves.