Another Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) has come and gone… Blessed with good weather, the streets of Clerkenwell were thronging with eager visitors; large numbers of attendees were reported by show participants in the pavilions and the established showrooms. By Thursday many of the showroom hosts were beginning to lose their voices –either because of their selling activity or attendance at the many parties! We certainly heard of a few people ‘camping out’ in their showrooms after a late night…
But what, if any, what were the main trends this year? In our view, there is a clear winner; but what to call it? We’re going with ‘Integrated Frames and Structures’.
In the world of the ‘paperless’ agile open-plan office, storage remains a dominant feature, but it’s now less about housing masses of documents and more about the other things that storage systems can do. Why divide a space with a boring screen, when a storage unit can act a space-divider? And as we see a continuing move towards bringing home comforts into our workspace, storage systems act as a kind of multi-functional divider, creating ‘rooms’ from which you can see tantalising glimpses of other rooms…
The storage unit is no longer a ‘solid object’; rather, it is a framework which houses all sorts of other objects like plants, display shelves, lighting, lockers, drawers and acoustic panels. Vitra were well ahead of the curve with their ‘Studio Office’ concept (displayed at Orgatec 2016), but this idea of 3D space creation is exemplified by CDW participants Icons of Denmark.
Others are also looking at this multi-functional approach; Spacestor’s Palisades is a good example. They are continuing to explore and develop the range, including square metal sections and a new system constructed from solid wood elements. All this is complimented with a rotating screen which is almost Japanese in style.
Frovi have their own unique take with units that are made with a very organic wrought-iron effect frame, called ‘Foundry’. They are also cleverly using vertical space in different ways; we liked their collaborative table featuring an extended vertical ‘A-frame’ that creates a gantry from which plants and lighting can be hung…
…and this leads us to another trend; these frames or structures do not exist necessarily as a separate element to the usual desks, chairs and breakout spaces, but rather as integrated elements. This was well demonstrated at Bisley’s fabulous new Clerkenwell Showroom which illustrates how the humble filing unit can be adapted and developed to provide a sense of place without soaking up expensive floorspace.
Its pleasing to see so many British manufacturers working hard to develop new solutions and bring them to market quickly. Frem was a great example – they introduced a modular frame system called ‘Novus’ which seems to be well-engineered and highly adaptable.
We were also very impressed with ‘Calvert’ by Sixteen3. Very strong and durable, this system can be used to form all sorts of spaces, including integrated display screens with meeting tables.
Further examples of stacking and framed systems were presented by Isomi, Ondaretta, Knoll (not CDW participants) the fabulous Dare Studios, and a handful of smaller specialist makers displaying in the Pavilions and crypts.
New Products: Task Chairs
There were many other great product previews and introductions including the fabulously-engineered new HAG Futu mesh task chair at Flokk.
Senator too have introduced a new task chair called ‘Ousby’; a fully featured and very nice-looking chair that functions well and hits the right price point.
New Products: Smart Storage
Dieffebe displayed some ‘intelligent’ storage systems with integrated planting and air purifying technology - they are ‘pushing the envelope’ of what storage can do. Their new ‘Echo’ locker systems (available from September) was previewed – it has great detailing, lots of size options, and possibly the best card/fob locking system we have seen.
Bisley continue to impress with the sheer scale of options available in steel or mfc. Their solution is ‘systemised’, meaning that it is possible to reconfigure lockers and sizes without having to start again. Their mfc or veneer cladding panels add a touch of warmth.
New Products: Green Landscaping
Mark Product Mark Product showcased their new range StudioSCAPE, which featured integrated planters in upholstered seating and dividing elements. They worked closely with Oasis to create an impressive display.
Hats off to Senator and Allermuir for their extensive new showrooms at Charterhouse Square. Apart from the great views, we were hugely impressed by the thoughtfulness of their product settings and the many new products on show. Its great to see Senator in the heart of Clerkenwell and this showroom is most definitely ‘on the tour’!
And its good to see Deadgood in Clerkenwell. This British business supports original British product designers and offer an eclectic mix of products that bring ‘heart’ to the workplace; the ‘Love’ chair is a great example.
Pavilions & Crypts
CDW offers a great opportunity to see, touch and feel products from interesting designers and makers who are not always in the public eye, and this year did not disappoint…
We went nuts for 4Koncept’s audacious use of massive anodised structural nuts and bolts along with chunky wood solids. We thought their focus room was pretty cool too.
Agilita had a neat ‘Skandi-style’ work cubby and some interesting touchdown workspaces with worktops that could be moved in/out/up/down for perfect user comfort.
DAMS are moving up in the world with this smart ‘Kastaway’ booth and suspended roof designed by David Fox.
Dare Studio impressed with their customary elegance, quality and attention to detail.
Tacchini’s memory lane collection chair was simple, eye-catching, and comfortable.
Domus were hidden way but had a great collection of occasional tables manufactured from materials including steel sheet, cast aluminium and even papier mache bonded with resin.
We liked Edsbyn’s discrete screens and their height and tilt adjusting draughtsman’s table; could this be the next step in sit-stand desks?
Furnitech’s contrasting wooden shells and black frames left a lasting impression.
Ethnicraft displayed interesting pieces hand crafted in solid wood. We admired their hand-carved African-influenced tables and sideboards.
Morfus offered a clever, warm ply-based modular storage system, designed and marketed by Architect Tim Williams. Could be just the ticket for studios and learning areas.
Rhubarb London delighted us with their eclectic ‘Uniform Chairs’; great fun – even the backs of the chairs are finished with thoughtful details.
Sellex showed their back bench and modular seating. This is cool, comfortable and memorable.
We hope you enjoyed our highlights! If you need any further information or help specifying these products, please do not hesistate to get in touch. You can also download a PDF of the Interion Clerkenwell Design Week Report for 2018 here: