As a global design destination, Clerkenwell Design Week is set to return this May (23 – 25) with its biggest programme yet, featuring over 600 industry events over three days. The 12th edition also sees a total of 12 exhibition venues (see “notes to editors” for details) across Clerkenwell including: Design Fields, Contract, Light, Project, Elements, British Collection, Detail, Platform, Ceramics of Italy, Old Sessions House (the festival hub), and two new additions – Catapult and The Garden. While these unique venues will present over 300 design brands and emerging talent covering furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, materials and surfaces, textiles, decorative accessories, and lighting, an extensive network of more than 130 local showroom partners will host product launches, workshops and talks over the three days of the festival.
Among some of the headline names is London-born-and-bred artist and designer Morag Myerscough – who will open the festival’s talks programme, Conversations at Clerkenwell, in Spa Fields on Tuesday 23 May (11:00 BST). She will speak with Bethan Ryder, Editorial Director of WGSN, about her unique approach to transforming places and championing community through joyful installations and artworks.
Image: Formation by Kirkby Design. Image above: Steve Messam, Gateway. Image courtesy of Steve Messam
Textile highlights include Kirkby Design - a fun, creative collection of hand-painted graphics in a multitude of colours, digitally printed onto 100% recycled cotton from the fashion industry; Wallcoverings Vol. 2 Sustainable wallcoverings – printed on a blended ground of FSC-certified wood pulp and corn fibre. Corn fibre is a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice, as corn is a renewable resource that can be grown and harvested with limited impact on the environment. Additionally, the manufacturing process produces 30% less greenhouse gas than traditional wallpaper materials, such as vinyls and papers containing polyester.
Image: Formation by Kirkby Design
Inspired by the brilliance of Mother Nature, the magic of India, and the beauty of ancient Japanese crafts, tatie lou designs original prints annually. Created through a mixture of shibori dyeing, hand and digital drawing, and painting, each signature print is digitised and transformed into a suite of different colourways before being applied to wallpapers, fabrics, cushions and lampshades, as well as blankets and table linens.
Image courtesy of tatie lou
Headlining this year’s programme is a specially commissioned installation by British artist, Steve Messam – who exhibits internationally and is well known for his large-scale, inflatable artwork reimagining our everyday surroundings. At the festival, the County Durham-based artist will bring his distinctive public art – sponsored by 3D design software company, SketchUp – to St John’s Gate of the Order of St John. This site-specific piece, titled Gateway and measuring 6m (height) by 15.5m (length), will feature 27 giant spikes hand-sewn in a striking blue textile. It forms part of Messam’s ongoing art series taking over historic architectural sites – and inviting the public to examine their environment in a new light through its deliberately ambiguous shape and size.
“Gateway offers a dynamic and unforgettable sensory experience,” says Messam. “While the spikes tower above the public as they pass through the gate, the bespoke piece traces the internal space between the arches before bursting out beyond the bounds of the building.”
In addition to Gateway, visitors will have the opportunity to experience Messam’s artistic treatment of the iconic telephone boxes – sponsored by Budvar. K6, originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for the coronation of George V in 1935, is one of the most recognised telephone boxes; while K2 – also designed by Scott in 1924 – was the first national telephone box, many of which were initially installed in Clerkenwell. Spread over three locations, the former is located on Cowcross Street, and the latter can be found on Clerkenwell Road as well as outside St James’s Church.
Image courtesy of Steve Messam
Creating a more sustainable way of living – from biodiversity to reduce-reuse-recycle – remains a key subject matter for many design manufacturers and makers. Using modern technology and the latest research, many explore and propose new ways to challenge the status quo while tackling these industry-wide issues with a global outlook.
Find out more about Clerkenwell Design Week: