This week design junkies from across the globe (well certainly from across London anyway) have been flocking to EC1 for the newest kid on the design festival block – Clerkenwell Design Week, or CDW as it is otherwise known.

Now in its fourth year, CDW has cut its teeth and well and truly grown-up into the UK’s leading independent design festival.  With the help of headline sponsor Jaguar, this year it boasts activity in more than 60 showrooms, a fringe programme, and some really exciting product launches, workshops and talks.

As always, a lot of the action centres around the House of Detention and the Farmiloe Building where you can see big international brands like Bo Concept, SCP and Foscarini alongside the funkier smaller brands such as Deadgood, Pinch, Theo and Dare Studio, to name but a few.

You can also take a peek at a nice selection of Jaguars in the courtyard, if you’re into that kind of thing.  They meant nothing to me of course but I did like the futurist copper model which looked like something Batman should be driving!

If you’re walking the showroom trail expect to see interesting collaborations and new product launches at the likes of Cappellini, Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Herman Miller and Vitra.  There are lots of great talks on too.

We attended ‘We Blog Design’ at Vitra to hear the likes of Katie Treggiden (Confessions of  a Design Geek) and Kate Watson Smyth (Mad About the House) discuss the ups , downs and what-to-do-next of blogging which was interesting and light-hearted.

Overall, the best thing about CDW is that there’s a real vibe of exploration and collaboration.  It has neither the over-facing size of Milan nor the frantic feeling of London Design Festival (LDF) and that makes for a really relaxed and jovial feel.  It was also absolutely buzzing with visitors during our trip.

Top Picks:

  • See inspiring lighting, clever design and witty packaging at Deadgood Ltd
  • Buy bright coloured things, bright oranges and yellows were everywhere
  • Look up at the oversized glass pendant lighting installation by Foscarini
  • Embrace upside down things at the ‘PowerFlower’ space by Plumen and Boskke