Clerkenwell Design Week is spreading its wings for its fourth and largest edition to date, offering design pilgrims a boosted line-up of product launches, exhibitions, installations, debates and workshops across three action-packed days in May.
With over 250 product showrooms, a plethora of creative and design studios, and the densest population of architects in the world, Clerkenwell has emerged as the UK’s indisputable design district. While the festival may not elicit the same level of frenzy as the recent Salone del Mobile, it is nonetheless a testament to the city’s increasing appeal to heavyweight brands - and likewise serves as a gateway for fledgling brands to an international design platform.
For the fourth year running, the Farmiloe Building is hosting the lion’s share of exhibitors, with the likes of Dare Studio, Plumen and Swedese presenting their collections. Italian lighting brand Foscarini is making its inaugural appearance at the festival, taking pride of place in the atrium with a site-specific installation, alongside a showcase of its best-sellers on the ground-floor.
The subterranean dungeon at the House of Detention offers a one-stop hub for up-and-coming talent, such as Foundations Rugs, which is launching a diffusion range of hand-tufted rugs, while another returning venue Order of St John is a sourcebook for decorating trends.
On display at the festival’s new pavilion focusing on surfaces, ceramic artist Lubna Chowdhary is presenting a series of ten Domus-tiled tables, modeled after Enzo Mari’s ‘Autoprogettazione’. Meanwhile, Domus is premiering Patricia Urquiola’s new collection for the brand, ‘Azulej’, in its showroom on Great Sutton Street.
This year also sees a slew of archi-centric fringe exhibits spilling out across Clerkenwell. Giles Miller Studio has installed a stainless steel and brass 'pixel' sculpture in front of a medieval gate. In another pop-up pavilion, not-for-profit organization Architecture for Humanity has created a village of four themed huts that embody the ethos of the charity. And the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery has also opened its doors to the public for the first time, offering a look at a never-before-seen archive of architectural models of both past and future projects.