Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) is returning after a two-year break from 24-26 May, taking over London’s creative hub with promises to be the ‘biggest and boldest’ yet
Since it made its debut in 2009, CDW has become one of the UK’s leading independent design festivals, providing an important platform for brands to showcase products and for the 100+ resident showrooms to open their doors to new audiences. Clerkenwell has a deep layer of historical heritage, from clock making to gin distilling, and now hosts a vibrant network of architects, designers and creatives that adds a rich backdrop to CDW. CDW’s new brand identity for 2022 has been inspired by the printing and craft industries that have traditionally been part of Clerkenwell’s creative history.
There is much excitement around CDW 2022 and its return to the design calendar since the 2019 edition, which welcomed 34,185 attendees and over 300+ exhibiting brands including major industry names such as Deadgood, Ercol and Benchmark.
This year CDW’s ‘festival route’ has been extended to include Charterhouse Square which will see Orticolario’s Delenimentum installation taking centre stage. A gigantic version of the renowned Adirondack Chair created in 1903 by the designer Thomas Lee is a playful and photo-worthy addition to this year’s show.
What to expect
Visitors can expect a show full of the latest designs, innovations and creative ideas, plus hundreds of design-led fringe events, pop-ups, workshops, talks and showroom presentations. The show will again host a series of talks in Spa Fields by leading designers and architects tackling topical and newsworthy issues.
Across EC1, there will be nine exhibitions, in both purpose-built and historic venues, all showcasing a curated mix of leading brands and emerging talent covering furniture, lighting, textiles, surfaces, accessories and product design from around the world. New for 2022 is ‘Covered’ sponsored by RAK Ceramics – an exhibition dedicated to interior surfaces. Also ‘Contract,’ where visitors can view the latest products for commercial interiors. Clerkenwell’s subterranean House of Detention will showcase Light + Rising Stars – seeing a host of new and upcoming designers exhibit alongside leading lighting brands. ‘Pop’ – the former cold store turned nightclub – will host brand activations and immersive experiences throughout the three days of CDW.
Each year ‘CDW Presents’ showcases specially commissioned, site-specific street spectacles across Clerkenwell.
In a partnership that has spanned five years, CDW will once again collaborate with Scale Rule to present the NextGen Design Pavilion. This year’s design concept for the NextGen pavilion exemplifies human impact upon the earth and in turn mankind’s responsibility to protect and shape it for better, a highly topical issue following COP26 in 2021.
Conversations at Clerkenwell have always been a highlight of the show, with a specially designed venue in Spa Fields. Designed by Fieldwork Architects, the concept for the CDW 2022 talks space reimagines the traditional Victorian bandstand as a focal point within the park, a place for gathering, discussion, entertainment and shelter.
Additionally, BAUX, maker and supplier of acoustic panels, will create an immersive sound experience, the ‘BAUX House of Acoustics,’ in Brewhouse Yard. Designed by company co-founders, international design studio ‘Form us With Love’, the space will be open to all, demonstrating acoustic properties with talks and live music, across the three days.
Billi UK will be supplying drinking water with water taps located throughout Clerkenwell – visitors can bring their own bottles and fill up, in what the organisers say is a “sustainable nod to the traditional Clerk’s Well that gave the area its name.”
Showrooms & exhibitions
Clerkenwell has flourished as one of London’s creative hotspots – with over 115 participating showrooms confirmed for 2022, this year’s show is truly bigger than ever before.
CDW’s exhibitions are hosted in distinctive spaces around the area linked by a route running through the centre of EC1. There are nine exhibitions, each with a different curatorial focus, ranging from cutting edge international design, to emerging talent, lighting, luxury interiors and the best of British design.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, there is great enthusiasm and excitement among creatives in the area about the new edition of CDW, and the return of the ‘pink trail.’