Clerkenwell Design Week 2022, our highlights
It’s been two long years since the industry flocked to the streets of Clerkenwell to celebrate all things design. Having registered for our badges in January, the ODCreate design team were rearing to hit our favourite showrooms to discover new trends and products to inspire us and use in upcoming projects.
There was no doubt that the themes and trends this year would be influenced by the new ways of working and attitudes towards work and work places that have emerged over the pandemic years. Flexibility, wellbeing and sustainability were the dominant themes of the festival and key influences on our favourite pieces of the day.
Leaving from our Liverpool Street office we were delighted to discover Farringdon was just one stop away on the just-opened Elizabeth Line. After an impressively quick, smooth ride we exited the station to the familiar pink signage that guided us up through the streets to our first stop, the Bene Showroom on St. John Street. In from the rain, we were greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a slice of apple strudel. While we settled in we got to try out their CASUAL range of furniture and the first trends of the day began to emerge. The CASUAL range was designed to foster a sense of community and belonging in the workplace that is comfortable, flexible and versatile. We also spotted a selection of chairs that took our fancy including a chair upholstered in a leather jacket style with a diamante skull detail. Now to find a client who will approve us spec-ing it!
Next stop was Frem where we were shown around by a sales rep who promised not to bore us. True to his word, we were shown bespoke board room tables as well as a range of chairs and soft furnishings with statement stitching, that created rich texture that would add flare to any corporate setting. Our favourite pieces from Frem were the Oasis soft mobile booths. With flexibility at the core of their design, the booths are easy to move and can be brought together to allow larger groups to collaborate. With multiple charging points, lighting control and an acoustic ceiling these booths are highly versatile which makes them a great fit for many of our client’s flexibility requirements. Another range which is great for flexibility and creating bespoke interactive spaces is the Novus collection ranging from seating to storage and mobile easel boards!
After a few more stops we made our way to Milliken to see our lovely rep Louise, who took time out of her busy day to talk us through some of their new offerings. At Milliken sustainability has always been vital. From their highly sustainable showroom to their nature-inspired new designs we were blown away by some of the developments they’ve made that we believe will be real game-changers for our clients. We could speak at length about their beautiful new designs but what truly captured our attention (and hearts) was their newly developed technology, Tractionback 2.0. This technology is an adhesive backing that can be applied to any floor tile that not only attaches it to the floor but can be easily lifted and relaid. This will not only save Tackifier costs for our clients but labour time as well. Most importantly it means that product that is not at the end of its life cycle can be moved and reused! We want to see more of this in the fit-out industry which is responsible for such considerable amounts of waste.
Vescom was our next stop. The relatively small showroom was a treat to the senses to visit. The colour palettes and ombre textiles were beautifully curated around a big ‘mushoom’ made of 100% recycled plastic! Yes! So many colours and textures in one space remained soothing yet bold and we left feeling invigorated.
Up the stairs and on to another favourite, Camira where we received a very warm welcome from Alexia. Their newly renovated showroom was completed only the previous day but was looking fabulous and fully prepped for a busy design week. Their new range, Quest SEAQUAL is crafted from a complex process of turning plastic into soft, durable and vibrant fabrics. Coastal landscape painter, Maggie Cochran, was so inspired by the range she made a painting using colours in the range’s palette. The painting is integrated into the display echoing the colour and intention behind the design. Reuse and recycling initiatives like these, we hope will soon become the norm. Most importantly, they are necessary for our planet to thrive but they are also key for us to meet our project sustainability goals. No doubt you’ll be seeing Quest in our upcoming projects!
Our final stop of the day was Vantage Spaces, where we had an interesting presentation about biophilia in the workplace. Vantage Spaces provide plants for commercial design and also create custom biophilic walls and art pieces. We particularly liked their CDW design, fit for the occasion.
It would be safe to say that every showroom we visited that day contained plants. They are becoming as common as chairs in workplaces and we are here for it. Studies show the positive impact these touches of nature have on workers and thanks to companies like Vantage Spaces, plants can be crafted into self-watering and self-feeding artworks and design features. We were very impressed by their offering and as a cherry on top, we were given succulents to take with us, which I am happy to report are bringing us good vibes on our desks.
And that’s a wrap on day 1. We’re pleased to see designers and manufacturers have really shifted their focus towards creating a more sustainable future. Flexible, tech-enabled furniture stood out as the world embraces hybrid working. People’s well-being is moving more centre stage as workers readjust to returning, at least in part, to the office. That’s all part of a future we can get behind!
Thank you Clerkenwell Design week. You did not disappoint. We’ll be back next year to see what’s next.