Clerkenwell design week report
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) is considered to be London’s most important commercial design festival. It takes place over three days and has approximately 35 000 visitors from 66 different countries. There are more than 100 showrooms and 200 exhibitors presenting their latest collections, products, materials and finishes. Luckily for you, I did the hard slog of cramming as much as I could into those 3 days and have identified 5 trends which you’ll see reflected in home interiors:
Wellbeing in design
The concept of wellbeing has been on the radar for a while, but this year saw an even bigger focus on finding innovative solutions to improve our health and wellbeing in the built environment. This is achieved through biophilic design where interior solutions and architecture is designed to connect occupants with nature, in order to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing. As such, many of the solutions presented at CDW focused on the inclusion of lighting, greenery, natural materials, colours and even textures that mimic nature. In the home, expect to see a greater push for natural light, plants, breathable fabrics as well as natural finishes and surface materials.
With environmental issues and the negative impact of climate change, sustainability in design is an ever important topic. Exhibitors showcased their environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions through the use of recycled products. Installations such as the BottleHouse® by Small and WSP Design Studio, used waste to make functional shelters designed for those in need. Woodmancote Retro produce mid-century modern furniture made of recycled cosmetic bottles-resulting in a bespoke product that not only looks good but supports the circular economy and lasts a life time. There is no doubt that if you don’t already own an item that has been recycled and repurposed you will very soon, with more soft furnishings and fabrics being made out of plastic bottles and other recycled materials. Hard furnishing and surface design will incorporate more discarded waste such as Silicastone which is made of unwanted manufacturing materials such as glass and porcelain.
Independent makers and craftsmen
The rise of designer-makers and craftsmen was evident during CDW with so many talented independent furniture, lighting, fabric and home accessory makers. With the help of technology, makers are able to enhance, simplify and streamline their offering while collaborating with others to create affordable, high quality products with longevity. STORE’s School School was a great example of this, selling homeware which was made through the collaboration between designers and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. There will be a greater focus on locally produced, independent creative companies that are able to deliver exactly what customers want, at affordable prices.
Mass customisation and personalisation
In today’s market place it’s widely accepted that consumers are creators, who increasingly demand a personalised service through product customization. Mass customisation allows consumers to design certain features of a product to suit their individual tastes, while still keeping the product cost closer to that of a mass produced one. Mass customization isn’t a new concept with Nike being one of the first companies to offer product personalisation with the launch of NikeID in the early 2000’s, but the furniture industry has lagged behind. Enter Roger Lewis Design, who showcased an ‘industry first’ with their Customizer app- allowing contract furniture clients to design their own pattern on a high quality fabric for the Sintra Chair. While it’s just the start, we’re certain to see more manufactures offering customisation for high quality interior products that’ll allow you to create a home that truly reflects your style.
Flexibility and adaptability
Expanding on the concept of personalisation, CDW 2019 saw an increase in modular furniture giving the user the flexibility to configure their environment. Over time, modular furniture provides longevity through adaptability and change, where static furniture solutions don’t. Modular furniture is particularly useful in offices, but can be just as relevant to residential interiors, by allowing for multifunctional uses, easy assembly, and smart storage. For residential properties that are getting increasingly smaller the world over, the use of modular furniture solutions will become even more prevalent.