Having recently joined the WAN Interiors Team, this was my first Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) - a three-day event created to celebrate Clerkenwell at the heart of the design industry. There was a tangible buzz with so much great stuff going on - from exhibitions to workshops, showrooms and seminars to pop-up shops and parties - and I was keen to cram in as much as I possibly could.
CDW spans 40+ furniture showrooms, but limited for time, I decided to home in on the three historic venues part of the CDW trail: the Order of St John's Priory, The House of Detention and the Farmiloe Building. First stop was Ross Lovegrove's striking Solar Tree, which is currently installed outside St John's Square. The 6-metre tree features clusters of LED lights at the tips of ten stalks, and definitely earns the accolade of being both beautiful and revolutionary. Next stop was the gloomy but atmospheric The House of Detention, which proved an evocative setting for an eclectic mix of up and coming designers, including Hackney-based James Tattershall, whose furniture blends functionality and playfulness to great effect, as well as Quarterre, whose clever products: Branchline, Hood and Shadow manages to offer a stylish storage solution for bikes. Industrial, cavernous and full of warren like rooms on every floor, the Victorian former lead/glass merchants, the Farmiloe Building, proved to be an ideal venue for the high end contemporary design collective, which included Anglepoise, Beau McClellan and Matilda to name but a few. Their stands and work were especially eye-catching, particularly Beau McClellan's stunning lighting installation, Eclipse, which changed colour and reflected the light as it suspended from the ceiling.
CDW is now in its third year, and as well as championing and showcasing home-grown design talent - Imogen Heath, Dare Studio and Bark Furniture caught my eye - CDW continues to attract and support design creatives from around the world.
An impressive amount of the design work on show displayed considerable ingenuity, innovativeness, beauty and style. Furthermore, for such a big event, CDW still feels true to its creative roots, and in terms of offering designers and design creatives from across the globe a fantastic opportunity to gather, inspire and showcase their work - CDW is definitely up there among the best. My first CDW more than lived up to expectations, and with CDW 2012 establishing Clerkenwell as the hub for the international design community for yet another year, things certainly look bright for CDW 2013. I'll definitely be going back (but will keep away from the retail section next time; I didn't really need another Anglepoise lamp).