Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 Showrooms

As well as the myriad of pop-up design stands and exhibits at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015, Clerkenwell is known for its impressive array of design showrooms. We visited a few of our favourites that were open during CDW.

West One Bathrooms always intrigues us for their display of both classic and often surprising bathroom designs. One of the ranges that caught our eye was the Vir Stil collection (below left) for Kallista designed by New York designer Laura Kirar. Kirar’s collection was inspired by different design periods including Danish Modern and traditional Japanese forms. From these inspirations she’s created an elegant collection that retains a classic sense of refinement together with subtle modern touches and materials. The console top comes in Calacatta Borghini marble with finishes in bronze, chrome or nickel. 

We also took a look at bulthaup’s showroom, which never fails to impress for its focus on perfect design and innovative kitchen solutions combined with a real sensitivity for the existing architecture of a building. We really liked the bulthaup b2 kitchen workshop (below) which really is designed to be functional and spatially economical.

We were also intrigued to see their arrangements of vintage tools and furnishings. In line with the young designers from our previous blog post, bulthaup also seems to be harking back and drawing influence from classic and older design sources.

Havwoods certainly went for a standout display method, their collection of exquisite wood floors was showcased atop an old fashioned Routemaster bus. Havwoods flooring can really transform a room, their exquisite quality and range of finishes would suit both a classic and modern interior.

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015

Clerkenwell Design Week was a truly inspirational festival, a real celebration of craft and design. CDW2015 showcased both established and emerging designers and companies. There was a really refreshing variety of work, but what we were most struck by was the shared sense of nostalgia. There seemed to be a focus on looking back to historic design movements for inspiration as well as keeping craft alive.

We spoke to the designers and craftsmen at TedWood about their work. Started by Ted Jeffries, TedWood uses sustainably grown British hardwoods for their contemporary wooden furniture, which is not only stunningly designed but holds a family value and history. They'd brought their working bench from their studio in Sussex to exhibit alongside pieces of furniture and lighting, having been passed down from Ted's grandfather and father who both used it. It's exciting to meet young designers who really are keeping this traditional craft going, but reworking it with their own contemporary designs. The leather shades on the lights (below right) were made by Ted's mother, a true family collaboration.

This Robin Day chair (below left) caught our eye as soon as we walked in. Day undoubtedly transformed British design and high street furniture, his 'Polyprop' stacking chairs has become one of the best selling chairs of all time. It was his postwar modernist furniture though that has been so influential to contemporary design as he developed low-cost but sensitively designed items.

His influence was evident in Stellar Works 'Utility' range (below right) which centres on this idea of function and efficiency. Their return to industrial design is counterbalanced by their use of soft leather and smooth woods.

Stellar Works Laval desk (below left) is a collaboration between French furniture maker Laval and Danish design studio OeO. The collection aims to merge a sense of French elegance and simplicity with a more modern need for comfort and utility.

Tomas Alonso’s Offset Table (below right) designed for Maxdesign responds to the need for flexibility in modern working home offices. The table can be broken down and customized for varying lighting, cable and size requirements. Alonso describes it as ‘a place to eat, a place to work and a place to meet all at the same table’.

It was great to meet the team at James UK as we really value their emphasis on British craft. All of their furniture is made in the UK by a team of skilled carpenters and upholsterers. The Norton Cove sofa (below left) is a larger take on the typical armchair.

Furniture brand H were inspired by a belt-making loom found in Oaxaca, Mexico for their Loom chair (below right). They've been collaborating with a textile designer whose colour choices perfectly balance with the hardwood frame.

Thonet's iconic range has been updated to suit contemporary interiors. Their display focussed on their design history showing the evolution of Thonet’s curved wooden designs to Marcel Breuer’s curved tubular steel designs.