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– Written by Abbey Bamford – May 15, 2024

TDC’s guide of must-see projects at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024

This year's Clerkenwell Design Week will run from Tuesday 21st May until Thursday 23rd May, with a focus on emerging talent, material trends and merging craftsmanship with innovation.

Clerkenwell Design Week returns with its most extensive program yet, showcasing more brands and installations than ever before. On that note, visitors won’t be short on variety as this year’s festival transcends a diverse range of sectors and subject matter, from innovative farming by-product designs and the renaissance of natural stone and wood to AI-crafted cocktails and industry discussions on neurodiversity.

LeftBrain AI Cocktail Party

Here are the top new collections, creatives and trends that you should watch out for during the Clerkenwell Design Week.

What’s new?

Fritz Hansen’s latest collection Inviting Workspaces will make its debut Cowcross Street showroom and explore both commercial and residential working environments, displaying furniture and accessories from designers including Jaime Hayon and Jørn Utzon. Elsewhere, Domus will present its colourful exhitbion of tile designs at its Great Sutton Street showroom to celebrate its 10-year collaboration with brand partner Mutina.

Fritz Hansen’s Utzon stool

New sustainable projects include SCP’s Peonia armchair by Wilkinson and Rivera and British lighting manufacturer J. Adams & Co’s collaboration with tile expert Solus.

The former features a low-lying sculptural armchair made at a specialist factory in Norfolk using 100% natural and sustainable materials, while the latter will launch in J. Adams & Co’s new St John Street showroom and will showcase how the teams used repurposed materials from the site and factory offcuts to create stunning terrazzo tiles and worktops.

J. Adams & Co’s Strata pendant

Championing emerging talent

Emerging talent has always been spotlighted at Clerkenwell Design Week, and this year is no exception. At Platform, visitors can see a collaboration between Selfish Customs and local makers in East Anglia, which repurposes farming by-products such as raw fleece, reed and barley straw to create unique homeware.

Barcelona-based designer Isabel Francoy will also debut her La Sobremesa collection, which blends wicker weaving and glassblowing with modern design.

Tabitha Bargh’s Poly lights

At Light, designer Tabitha Bargh will present her new lighting collection titled ‘Poly’. Lighting designer Tabitha Bargh’s project Poly makes use of a rather unconventional waste product: estate agent advertising boards made from Correx. This material is a typically unsustainable and non-biodegradable polypropylene, however, Bargh has found a way to repurpose it for this collection.

Tapping into trends

Some design and architecture companies have noticed that stone is currently experiencing a renaissance and emerging as a highly sought-after material, which features in some of Clerkenwell Design Week’s projects.

Keep an eye out for an installation commissioned by British suppliers Albion Stone and Hutton Stone and created by architecture firm Artefact. Brick from a Stone was curated to demonstrate the low-energy process involved in producing stone bricks, which are made from seemingly “imperfect” stone of which there is an excess in quarries and mines around the UK.

Stone Tapestry: Beyond The Surface by Stone Federation

Another project that responds to this trend is Stone Federation and Squire and Partners’ explorative structure named Stone Tapestry: Beyond the Surface. This installation aims to demonstrate the sustainability, versatility and beauty of natural stone, featuring materials not only from Albion Stone and Hutton Stone but also from Britannicus Stone, Dunhouse Quarry and Tradstocks.

Wood has remained a prominent material for many brands at Clerkenwell Design Week this year, particularly in the British Collection.

BenchmarkxLDN MET Group. Credit: Lakruwan Rajapaksha

Foster + Partners and Benchmark will present a new adaptable storage system, featuring full carbon footprint labelling, a lifetime repair service and a take-back scheme, while James UK will unveil its Holton chair, reviving traditional Windsor chair-making with a contemporary aesthetic that celebrates joinery as art.

Independent makers such as Matthew Burt and Dovetailors have responded to the trend by turning furniture into art forms. Burt’s Making from the Collection offers its timeless designs as part of a made-to-order service, while Dovetailors will showcase a new range of stools with organic shapes resembling sculpted wood.

International platforms

Three new international pavilions will make their debut at the festival this year. The Italian Collection will feature 31 brands on the first floor of Design Fields, showcasing furniture, lighting and textiles. Catapult will host the German Collection presenting its country’s acclaimed brands and furniture, while the Danish Collection will take over the Paxton Locher House.

Conversations at Clerkenwell

The festival’s talks programme will begin on Tuesday at 11am with a conversation between influential business woman and activist Mary Portas OBE and journalist Becky Sunshine, during which Mary will talk through her life and work and delve in to her passion and achievements across retail, fashion and the wider UK business landscape. 

On the same day at 2pm, Design Council will host a talk on Designing a World of Mass Circularity and how can design help us ‘re-industry’, using tools such as big data and AI to shape consumer behaviour and create circular business models that drive the green transition. Thomas.Matthews founder and designer Sophie Thomas, materials expert and director Chris Lefteri, WWF senior policy advisor Paula Chin and Electrolu’s Barry Waddilove will make up the panel.

Ben Bransen of Seedlip and the Hidden 20% podcast

On Wednesday, Ultrafabrics will speak on unlocking the power of sensory design for neuro-Inclusive environments alongside companies like Gensler, Pantone, Seedlip and Squire and Partners at 2pm.

Later in the week on Thursday, Stykus will unpack what our products and environments might look and feel like in 2025, led by Lauren Chiu, Stylus’ Head of Colour and Materials Trends. 

Clerkenwell Design Week is free to visit and you can register now here.

Read more about last year’s Clerkenwell Design Week on TDC’s blog.