Clerkenwell has an impressive density of furniture showrooms, so it seemed a natural step that the London district should stage its own design festival. During the first, annual Clerkenwell Design Week, its showrooms laid on special exhibitions, talks and parties, while the Farmiloe Building - the festival hub - hosted a broad range of shows by an interesting mix of emerging and established names.
The last 18 months have seen many a brand open a Clerkenwell outlet, including Modus, Knoll and the Poltrona Frau Group. The latter transformed its space on St John Street into the 'London Design Village', showing highlights of the 2010 collections of Poltrona Frau, Cappellini, Cassina and Alias. A few doors down, Japanese bathroom specialist, Toto, opened its first European store, bringing with it its supersonic 'Washlet' toilet systems and minimalist bathroom fittings.
Over at the Farmiloe Building, non-Clerkenwell-based designers got a look in. Some showed new products for the first time, including Cornish brand, Mark, while others gave those that couldn't get to Milan a chance to see their products launched at the Salone del Mobile, including Tom Dixon. Shoreditch design studio Scene put on an impressive collaborative show, titled Scene Plus, with unusual pieces by independent designers.