Clerkenwell Design Week 2023 | PDD


June 8 2023
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Clerkenwell Design Week 2023

It was great to be back at Clerkenwell Design Week this year with the sun shining, as we made our way through the showrooms and installation spaces to spot inspiring design trends.

Sustainability and nature remain prominent overarching themes, with continued focus on the harmonious wellbeing of people and planet. We are seeing these ideas translate more widely, beyond the more literal interpretations and applications of materials and manufacturing; to a greater focus on design for longevity (creating product love) and services to revive products at end-of-life (relove).

A playful edge to furniture and spatial design was also present this year, reflecting the changing needs and perceptions of the work environment. Contrasting details and features usually associated with residential settings emerged across the board, from colour applications and surface finishes, through to form and proportion, bringing a more relaxed aesthetic to commercial spaces.

Here’s a roundup of what caught our eye…

Framing Nature Clerkenwell Design Week 2023
Image Ref (from top-left clockwise): 1 – Muuto; 2 – Dare Studio; 3 – Interface; 4 – Workbench; 5 – Hawk Furniture; 6 – Hawk Furniture; 7 – Heiter X

Framing Nature

Through the evolution of biophilic design, we are seeing human-made structures and nature coming together more harmoniously to create immersive environments that grow and morph over time. New ways of interpreting nature into the built environment are surfacing through subtle small-scale textures, shifts in lighting effects, and spatial design that mimics structures in nature. Colour palettes are broadening, seeking to connect people to their local ecology and create a sense of belonging.

Objects for life Clerkenwell Design Week 2023
Image Ref (from top-left clockwise): 1 – Benchmark; 2 – Timber Robot Studio; 3 – Deadgood; 4 – Deadgood; 5 – Byard Works; 6 – Timber Robot Studio

Objects for Life

Moving beyond material and structural durability, the notion of longevity is being reimagined through furniture that taps into emotive and sensory design to encourage new consumption attitudes and behaviours. Shifting away from fast-furniture, we see pieces with personality that subtly evolve over time and through individual usage, with simple yet beautifully executed design details that speak of quality and artisanship. Upcycling services seek to give furniture a new value and be reloved beyond their perceived end-of-life.

Curious Combinations Clerkenwell Design Week 2023
Image Ref (from top-left clockwise): 1 – Deadgood; 2 – Curiousa; 3 – Lladró; 4 – Carysil; 5 – Deadgood; 6 – Deadgood

Curious Combinations

Playful furniture and lighting sees a merging between residential and commercial aesthetics as the boundaries between these two environments become increasingly blurred. Bold coloured frames create exciting functional features, adding a contrasting layer of pattern through their structure. Unexpected colour combinations on classic designs provide a modern twist that is both jarring and intriguing; while lighting is given an additional dimensionality through overlay of colour, pattern, and varying translucencies.

Contrasting relief Clerkenwell Design Week 2023
Image Ref (from top-left clockwise): 1 – Emily Hatton Surface Design; 2 – Baux; 3 – Svensson; 4 – Kasthall; 5 – Baux; 6 – Make Relief; 7 – Make Relief

Contrasting Relief

Previously flat and minimal surfaces are coming to life through crafted relief details. Contrasting combinations are created through experimentation with additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques, with surfaces inviting touch and interaction through exaggerated textures, repeat patterns and surface layering. Colour is being used in a different way; with simple and bold applications creating solidity from a distance, while relief details reveal more intricate surfaces closer up.

Material reduction Clerkenwell Design Week 2023
Image Ref (from top-left clockwise): 1 – The Vault; 2 – Aromas; 3 – The Vault; 4 – James Burleigh; 5 – Gresham; 6 – The Vault

Material Reduction

Sustainable approaches within furniture, lighting and interior accessory design are moving beyond just material choices, to focus on reduction of raw material usage and material waste in production. Simple geometry is used to create thin structures that maximise the strength of selected materials; creating a distinct design language that frames negative space and puts emphasis on core interaction points (the tabletop, the seat cushion, the planter).

Since you are here, take a look at some of our work in the Consumer Sector.

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Posted by Sarita Wilkinson
Insights Editor

Languages spoken: English.
The last thing that inspired me: Chinese teacups from a small café in Camden Town, London - the most amazing collection of colours and textures.
My dream project: Something multi-sensorial.
My obsession: Stationery - retro inspired, Asian influenced, graphically intriguing, sensorially indulgent and the 'unique'!