It’s just over a month until the sixth Clerkenwell Design Week returns from 19-21 May. Hot off the press, here are 13 things you simply can’t miss when London’s design hub is celebrated once again

1 WordPlay

Monotype will host WordPlay, an outdoor showcase of type design. With six locations around Clerkenwell, Monotype will use a variety of typefaces to spell out vibrant words that will hang from trees, displayed on pavement, painted on brick walls, or on signage. Local businesses have supplied the materials for this creative installation to help Monotype demonstrate how dynamic type can be.

2 Verve


Monotype will be doing what it says on the tin by playing with words

Johnson Tiles will once again make an installation for Clerkenwell Design Week. After last year’s Prismatic Landscape, this year they will be designing the entrance to the Design Factory in the Farmiloe Building. Thousands of individually placed tiles will turn the building’s outer walls into a 3D display of colour. The installation, Verve, celebrates British manufacturing and design.

3 Fringe


Johnson Tiles will be creating a 3D experience outside the Farmiloe Building

The Fringe programme is a series within Clerkenwell Design Week that invites local creative practices including architects, branding agencies, and craft studios to open their doors to festival visitors. Fringe participants host workshops, displays and installations that are open to the public during the festival. Expect to see The Goldsmiths’ Centre and Craft Central, and architects Hawkins/Brown will also be running an exciting debate. Branding agency Visual House invites visitors for a rooftop party inside their studio.

4 Platform

Don’t miss the Platform exhibition, which holds up-and-coming designers in the House of Detention, a subterranean Victorian prison. Arguably the most interesting space of Clerkenwell Design Week, the main prison was demolished in 1890, but the dungeon’s interior still remains from the Victorian era with brick cave like cut-outs, metal doors, and dark lights. With dozens of design booths lining its walls, full of hot new design talent, hopefully it will not feel so spooky.

5 Champagne


The work of Danuta Wlodarska will be on show at Platform

While Clerkenwell is packed with world renowned designers, take a break and try the food and drink the festival has to offer. A main partner at the 2015 festival include Champagne Jacquart, who will be hosting a beautiful champagne garden throughout the festival in the garden of the Order of St. John. The champagne will be served in square glasses called Rose Cubes to amplify the drinks notes.

6 Food

Clerkenwell is not only known for their design studios, but also their restaurants. Ever popular spot St. John – with its bar, bakery, and dining room – offers deliciously cooked meals for any time of day. The restaurant is located in the heart of Clerkenwell right in the action of the Clerkenwell Design Week. The Modern Pantry, ahead of opening its second location very soon, will be partnering with Clerkenwell Design Week to provide their food for all festival goers.

7 Embracing Clerkenwell


St John Restaurant is one of Clerkenwell’s top restaurants

Every year Clerkenwell Design Week presents new street spectacles and design projects featured around Clerkenwell specifically for the festival. Leading pioneers in the creative industry use these projects to push the boundaries of design and entertain festival goers. This year’s exhibit focuses on celebrating and exploring the transformation of London’s public spaces in a city that is quickly densifying. Look out for a jewel like pavilion on St. John’s Square designed by architects Cousins & Cousins.

8 Conversations at Clerkenwell

Located on the 3rd floor of the Farmiloe building, the festival hosts Conversations at Clerkenwell, an arena in which new products are discussed and introduced as well as industry issues covered. Conversations at Clerkenwell also allows visitors and designers to network with fellow A&D professionals. For the three day festival, five talks will be arranged daily and are all free to register.

9 Additions

The Additions exhibition is dedicated to small design pieces and interior accessories, a hotspot for visitors, retail buyers, and interior designers. Check out some of the hottest new items in the design world to add to your home. Incredibly designed tableware, pillows, furniture and rugs are many of the products featured in the exhibition.

10 Open Showrooms


Small design pieces, such as from Hjem, form the basis of Additions

Since the Industrial Revolution, Clerkenwell has been home to craft workshops, jewellers, printers and graphic designers. The unique and historic buildings of Clerkenwell have been transformed through past decades into studios and workshop spaces for over 60 design showrooms and over 200 architectural practices, making Clerkenwell one of the biggest design hubs in the world. While visiting the festival, walk through the streets of Clerkenwell and discover the endless studios and workshops it has to offer as most will have their doors open to festival visitors.

11 The Invisible Store of Happiness


Bene will be one local showroom opening their doors to the public

Last year, American Hardwood Council partnered with Okay Studio to create different designs using a variety of American wood. This year the American Hardwood Export Council supports furniture maker Sebastian Cox and sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon in creating The Invisible Store of Happiness, located under St. John’s Arch. The wooden sculpture consists of a stream bent frame that consists of weaveable strips of wood designed to twist and flow into a creation of texture and shape.   

12 New Names


The Invisible Store of Happiness under way

The 2015 Clerkenwell Design Week is featuring eight new designers and companies that will showcase their work during the festival. Baines and Fricker, Alexander White, Tiipoi, Tania Johnson, HJEM, Kelly Hatt, and Wael Seaiby are showcasing throughout the four exhibitions. Do not miss these designers as they bring the newest and hottest designs to Clerkenwell.

13 Out of the Valley


Baines and Fricker are one design team to look out for

One of the new designers to Clerkenwell Design Week, Out of the Valley is a new design company by designer-maker Rupert McKelvie. Unlike the many other designers featured at the festival, Rupert’s 3D designs are not only sustainable, but liveable. He creates bespoke cabins with a focus on off-grid living that will make any camping experience seem glorious. Each portable and fully liveable, his designs feature solar, micro-hydro, glazing and other insulation technologies, as well as furniture that fits into any of his off grid living cabins.

Words: Dani Segelbaum

For the latest information, visit clerkenwelldesignweek.com

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