21-23 May 2013, London
It must be the venues that make Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) feel that little bit different. Rather than a lifeless, end-of-the- line exhibition centre being the focal point of the festival - all mod cons but no character - CDW draws on a Norman crypt, a Victorian warehouse and a subterranean prison as the epicentres of the event.
The Farmiloe Building - a former Victorian glassworks that moonlights as a film set for action flicks when an ‘abandoned warehouse’ is called for - will exhibit the works of established design companies. British brands will include Young and Norgate, with new table, stool and cabinet designs, and Deadgood, which is launching a collection by Lee Broom as well as a new chair for the Working Girl series by David Irwin.
International brands are led by a strong Scandinavian showing - Swedish brand Mitab will launch its Mute chair, that accompanies the Boet stools of last September, while Muuto is exhibiting a range of iconic products from Norway, Finland and Denmark. Italy is represented by a cluster of brands including Zanotta, Lapalma and Bedont, while other European showings include Spanish design studio Viccarbe and German brands Zeitraum and KFF. Meanwhile, the Farmiloe’s third floor will offer a dedicated space for lighting brands such as Ochre, Vitamin, Living, MacMaster and Aline Johnson.
A short walk north takes you to the House of Detention, a subterranean Victorian prison, which hosts new and emerging designers - each allocated a cell in which to display their wares. Evil Robot Designs, whose bespoke sci-fi lamps and accessories delighted many last year, will return with new work, while Vienna-based designer Philipp Aduatz - known for his combination of traditional craft and contemporary techniques such as 3D laser scanning and CNC milling - will exhibit eyecatching products such as his Fauteuil chair.
The Priory Church of the Order of St John provides the best glimpse of medieval Clerkenwell, where the 700-year old building and 12th-century crypt will be leant to interior design brands such as Larkbeck, Prêt à Vivre and Virginia White. An installation by lighting designer Sharon Marston will see a contemporary chandelier of fibre optic cables at the entrance.
Another historic location, Charterhouse Square - graced with both a Tudor mansion and an Art Deco residential block - will host a pavilion dedicated to surface design that explores new flooring, wall coverings and surface materials.
All in all, more than 50 showrooms in Clerkenwell will be participating in the festival, be that by launching new products or by staging talks and receptions.
Last year’s offerings included chair giveaways, quizzes and film screenings. Many of these are organised independently of the event, and provide an organic link between the stage-managed design festival and the free-spirited local workshops and studios.
Venue Various hubs and showrooms in Clerkenwell
Admission Free, register online
Dates 21-23 May 2013