clerkenwell design week best bits

:: by Lizzie


Just in case you didn’t make it to Clerkenwell Design Week this year, or if you did and want to swap best bits, here’s the low down on what I liked the most at CDW15.


F A R M I L O E  B U I L D I N G :

Usually my favourite place to start, mostly because I love the building, but it’s also probably the biggest part of the event. Dubbed ‘Design Factory’, the contents of the Farmiloe Building during the event is a good mix of a few newbies along with the same old faces you’d hope to see. You can take a look at the full Design Factory list here. The majority of stands are furniture based but there are smaller scale collections of prints, stationery, terrariums (you couldn’t move for terrariums this CDW – blog post on planting your own coming soon), lighting and even glasses in the ‘retail’ section upstairs. Favourites in the building included Stella Works, Pinch and Dyke & Dean with their Lighting Pick ‘n’ Mix offering. Dyke & Dean sell a fair amount of marbled enamelware too which is right up my street and happens to be coming soon to SMUG so keep your eyes open for that.


O L D  S E S S I O N S  H O U S E :

A brand new venue for CDW15 and a building I had never been in before, Sessions House is absolutely stunning. It’s rarely open to the public and you wouldn’t necessarily realise what you were missing from the outside. Extremely impressive and crisply painted vaulted ceilings meet exposed and roughly plastered walls, telling a tail of many years, layers and colours. Culturally conscious brands such as Timorous Beasties and Gubi were selected by Icon to be in their ‘House of Culture’ as it was named. Nice collections but the building definitely stole the show. If you ever get a chance, peek inside!


I was a little disappointed with the Vitra Jean Prouvé Retrospective which was my next stop. I was hoping for vintage originals and lots of story telling but was greeted with newly launched ‘classics’ and a printed timeline. The free cup of tea and the little cork pinboard and desk shot (avec terrarium) pictured above sort of made up for it.


A D D I T I O N S :

Dedicated to small design pieces and interior accessories, Additions, housed in St James’s Crypt was a important spot for me to visit. Matt Pugh, long term SMUG designer, showed his new collection as well as some old favourites. Our SMUG exclusive Matt Pugh Owl in Pale Blue had been featured in Stylist’s Style List that day and Matt had a copy opened to the correct page on his stand. Good timing eh? Also worth mentioning are Not Another Bill who have been doing the rounds recently. I saw them first at Pick Me Up earlier in the year. They basically send you (or a friend if you sign them up) beautiful presents in the post at prearranged regular intervals. What’s not to love? I’d sign up myself if it wasn’t for the fact that we seem to sell almost all of their gift options at SMUG. I’m sensing the founders and I have rather similar taste!


Slightly off the beaten track, but well worth a visit, was a lovely accessories pop-up led by M.Hulot. The shop included beautiful work by Eleanor Bolton (and M.Hulot of course), both of whom are SMUG designers, so I stopped by for a good look and a chat. Another brand involved in the collective was Herb Lester Associates who ‘look for the usual and unusual’ in their beautifully designed travel guides. I own several and would highly recommend them for you next trip to Paris, New York, Lisbon etc etc…


C D W  P R E S E N T S :

Every year Clerkenwell Design Week presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Below is an image of Verve, a Johnsons Tiles intervention along the entrance to the Farmiloe Building which was rather lovely. My favourites this year though were Glaze on St John’s Square by architects Cousins & Cousins, a more low key wall mural by Monotype entitled ‘Celebrate’ and the perfectly pastel Vita Contemplativa by Gruppe (all pictured in the slideshow above).


Also pictured is the small flower garden/intervention along the side of Borne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell which I saw on my journey home. I thought it particularly inspiring as I’ve been working away on replanting our balcony this spring. More to come on that soon.