Clerkenwell Design Week is one of my favorite festivals. It’s small enough to get around in a day (although increasingly, I’m there for all three!), the sun (almost!) always shines, and it has a real ‘festival’ vibe with showroom parties spilling out onto the streets, interesting installations, and of course, ice-cream!
My favorite installations this year: Glaze by Cousins & Cousins in collaboration with Gx Glass – an interactive space made of candy-colored glass panels;
…the Invisible Store of Happiness by Sebastian Cox and Laura Ellen Bacon in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council;
…the Johnson tiles transformation of the entrance to the Farmiloe Building created by Verve – an installation of colored and mirrored tiles, arranged so that you saw all the colors of the rainbow looking one way, and your own reflection looking the other;
…and Agora on the Green – a collaboration between Scandinavian Business Seating, Article 25 and Russ & Henshaw, which invited passers by to take a seat, add to its design, and even raising money for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
The main hub of the festival is the Design factory at the Farmiloe Building, and this is where the more established brands can be found. Anglepoise launched three new editions of the Original 1227 desk lamp by London-based surface pattern designers Eley Kishimoto.
I loved &Then Design’s limited edition Flora in copper – designed in collaboration with Scarlett San Martin.
Sean Dare of Dare Studio was launching this fabulous pink sofa – I love the gold legs: a grown-up take on a feminine 1970s-inspired corner sofa.
Husband and wife team Baines & Fricker were showing their SB01 and BF02 collections. The latter is their colorful take on a pew – although I think it might raise a few eyebrows in church!
I loved this tailoring detail on Cornish furniture manufacturer Mark’s Fold Sofa.
Next I moved on to Platform, Clerkenwell Design Week’s space for up-and-coming designers – in the spooky subterranean setting of a Victorian former prison. I loved this little orange-legged stool by Amy Whitworth.
The Naive chair by etc.etc. has been stripped down to the bare minimum, with none of the fun removed – each piece comes in a range of bright colors that can be mixed and matched. This all-yellow version is perfect for me.
There is a real trend about at the moment for embracing the imperfections of natural materials, such as ‘waney edges,’ – the wobbly outside section of wood that goes right up to the bark, which is normally trimmed off to create consistent straight planks. What I love about Richard Hardy‘s collection is the way it combines this sustainable approach with a sense of fun.
Ambrose Vevers’ furniture is all hand-made in the South-West of England – he even fells the trees himself.
Additions is the space for small home accessories at the Crypt on the Green, the brick-walled crypt underneath Clerkenwell’s St James’ Church. I spotted Gemma Kay Waggett‘s quilted textiles almost as soon as I walked into Additions and was immediately drawn by their complex patterns and understated palettes.
I am a big fan of Billy Lloyd‘s ceramics. This collection of mugs was being shown as part of a curation by Charlotte Abrahams called This Is Craft.
This is the debut collection from N and N Wares and I’m already a huge fan. This one stopped me in my tracks – just beautiful.
I love Matt Pugh’s little wooden birds, so was interested to see more of his work. These candlestick holders come in a set of five and I think they work just as well without a candle – as abstract forms adding a pop of color to your interior scheme.
Alicja Patanowska hand-throws ceramic forms to turn discarded glassware (which she collects on the streets of London in the early hours of the morning!) into functional plant-pots, in which you can see both roots and stem.
And last but not least, Homeware and paper goods brand Hjem (Home in Danish), is based in the French Alps and run by Emma Richmond – it launched in October 2014 and this was Emma’s debut show, so it was really exciting to see her work. I’m looking forward to seeing more from her at the London Design Festival in September.