There have been murmurings for some time about a shift in design dominance away from Italian shores. For many years Milan was seen to have a momentum unrivalled by any other city in the world, but all eyes are now on London.

Along with London Design Festival in September, Clerkenwell Design Week has played a defining role in showcasing the city’s talent. A heady mix of open showrooms, pop up exhibitions and special installations, this 3-day celebration of design brings together 300 brands and over 30,000 visitors.

In terms of contemporary design, the Design Factory housed in Farrindon’s grade II listed Farmiloe building is always a highlight. A combination of big brands and home-grown designers, here you’ll get a good scope of what’s new and what trends will be emerging into the market over the next year or so.

While there was no seismic shift from the trends that dominated last years’ shows (natural materials and metallic finishes), there was a noticeable refinement throughout.  Raw textures had been tamed, lines straightened, shapes tessellated and a pleasing neatness created; craftsmanship had gone luxe.

Also to be found at the Design Factory was Conversations at Clerkenwell, a series of talks and discussions on topics from architecture to the curation of public spaces.

We had the pleasure of pondering the importance of originality and independent creative thought in a discussion chaired by ELLE Decoration’s Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Ogundehin.

Featuring some of the principal women in today’s design industry –  Patrizia Moroso, Nipa Doshi and Pip Prinsloo, Design Director of John Lewis, the conversation ranged from issues of gender and culture to buying trends and the tensions between what’s new and what sells. It was a fascinating hour that added another dimension to CDW, and if you’re planning a visit to next year’s festival, we’d thoroughly recommend it.

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