Elements of EC1

You can take a design show out of Clerkenwell but you can’t take Clerkenwell out of a design show… Here, we offer our guide to everything EC1 at this year’s ‘100% Design.’

This September sees the return – for the 23rd time, no less – of Clerkenwell Design Week’s sister show, “100% Design”. Each year, thousands of people visit the huge trade extravaganza, the centrepiece of the regular London Design Festival.

The theme for this year is “Elements” and the exhibition halls are divided into five main sections (no, not Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Space but Interiors, Workplace, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Design & Build and Emerging Brands). The event is a mecca for architects, designers, specifiers, retailers and developers. Basically, anyone interested in anything relevant makes sure they show up.

Even though it’s held in Olympia, Clerkenwell, with all its design pedigree, looms large. Many EC1 showrooms take part and there’s even a specific section paying tribute to the area called “Clerkenwell Presents”. Participating local brands this year include office-furniture companies Kinnarps and Okamura, office-equipment manufacturer Silverline and acoustics specialist Friends of Wilson.

The Italian furniture manufacturer Arper, a prominent name in our neighbourhood, thanks to its showroom on Clerkenwell Road, will be hosting 100% Design’s “digital hub” – just as it did for Clerkenwell Design Week in May. The Arper Bloggers’ Lounge is a space where digital journalists and bloggers can stop to network and upload, as well as recharge their batteries (literally).

But the big deal for Clerkenwell design fans this year is that local resident Max Fraser has been put in charge of all 100% Design’s creative aspects. The design commentator, who lives in the Barbican and used to have an office on Goswell Road, has helped to run and curate both the London Design Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week in the past; he really knows EC1 and all its design “elements”.

“100% Design was the first design exhibition of its kind in London and I’ve witnessed it grow up from its early years,” he recalls. “My involvement has been multifarious, from initially visiting as a curious young visitor before eventually being part of the advisory committee. Today, my work takes me around the world and I hope to bring some of those findings back to London.”

And the good news? He’s been appointed the content editor for next year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, too.

100% Design runs 20-23 September at Olympia. www.100percentdesign.co.uk

Next year’s Clerkenwell Design Week runs 22-24 May 2018 www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com