Fun with Design, Highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week, London, UK

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London is the design capital of the world, and nothing says this louder than the number of design events and shows that take place every year in this city.

Clerkenwell Design Week is one of those events that not only showcases the abundance of talent in London but also displays how design is an integral part of its culture.

Clerkenwell in London is the heart and home to UK’s design industry. Located in the ultra-cool east-end of London, it boasts of over sixty furniture and interior showrooms, a wealth of creative businesses and more architects and designers per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) takes advantage of this creative hub every year for 3 days.

With over 150 events, a series of pop-up exhibitions and installations, talks, performances, music and workshops, the festival is a showcase of cutting edge design from some of the biggest names in the industry.

CDW is different from any other trade shows or exhibitions as it is not based under one roof but is spread across the area where many showrooms open their doors for visitors offering tours while sipping champagne or eating chocolates. It is therefore a festival for designers to celebrate their work and showcase their talent.

There was a huge selection of new products on show this year which brought a fresh perspective to design and its purpose. Here I have picked a few designs which reflected a fun attitude.

The Swing Table, by Duffy London

The Swing Table, by Duffy London
The Swing Table, by Duffy London
The Swing Table, by Duffy London
The Swing Table, by Duffy London
The Swing Table, by Duffy London
The Swing Table, by Duffy London

The idea behind this design is that "we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing" (George Bernard Shaw).

Putting a little extra fun into dinner time and boardroom meetings, this four poster table uses its structure to suspend a central lampshade and eight hanging chairs that sway playfully. This design creates an exceptionally divergent experience and aesthetic, creating a room within a room, with chairs that float around the table.

What better way to lure people into meeting rooms? I would love to have one for our office. Wouldn't you?

The Shadow Chair, by Duffy London

The Shadow Chair, by Duffy London
The Shadow Chair, by Duffy London
The Shadow Chair, by Duffy London
The Shadow Chair, by Duffy London

This was not on display at CDW but I saw this on the designer’s website and really liked the idea behind it. I think the name also influences the way you look at any design.

Carry On, Stool from Offect

Carry On, Stool from Offect
Carry On, Stool from Offect

Carry On is a portable seating solution that is based on a strong belief in the need of flexible working places. Carry On is not only physically flexible; but the handle on top also signals the user on how it should be used.

I found the round bucket like shape very comfortable and the idea very inviting.

The UP Dinning Table, by Duffy London

The UP Dinning Table, by Duffy London
The UP Dinning Table, by Duffy London
The UP Dinning Table, by Duffy London
The UP Dinning Table, by Duffy London

I liked the concept of a table floating on top of balloons but also felt that it needs clever lighting to highlight the impact of this design.

Hush, by Freyja Sewell

Hush, by Freyja Sewell
Hush, by Freyja Sewell

Freyja Sewell sets out to create a private space within a public world, constructed from natural, biodegradable materials. Hush provides a personal retreat, a luxurious escape in the midst of a busy hotel, airport, office or library.

I like the thought of having a "ME" space in our increasingly densely populated environments.

Conclusion ...

I believe that every design has a story to tell and these witty and young stories caught my fancy. But this is only the glimpse of what was on show at CDW as it was packed with lots of ideas and information. It is fast becoming the international design festival to be seen at.

New designers get a launch pad at CDW and for others it’s a feeling of belonging. And while mingling with my colleagues and industry friends - I too felt like I belonged to this community which gives an extension to my creative dreams.

Please write in your thoughts to harshakotak@yahoo.com