How was it for you? | CDW Highlights

This year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, held in May, was bigger and better than ever with a record number of visitors. We take a look back at some of the highlights…

Clerkenwell Design Week 2013 attracted record numbers to EC1. Over 50,000 visitors registered in advance to attend the three-day festival – up 55% on 2012. One of the best-loved events in the design industry calendar, CDW plays host each year to top brands from Britain and around the globe. This year more than 250 brands were showcased as part of the festival. This included 50 local showrooms such as international brands Vitra, Arper, Knoll, the Poltrona Frau Group and Porcelanosa.


From 21-23 May 2013, iconic local buildings such as The House of Detention and medieval Priory of the Order of St John opened their doors to play host to celebrated decoration brands and emerging design talents. And the Farmiloe Building on St John Street, a former Victorian Glassworks now used in films such as The Dark Knight Rises, was at the heart of the action, playing host to leading international brands including Foscarini, Pinch and SCP. Headline sponsor Jaguar displayed its new F-TYPE at the building, along with the results of its design contest for students at the Royal College of Art. Also at the Farmiloe, the London Transport Mobile Canteen was a pop-up collaboration between restaurant Canteen and Transport for London, where festival goers could enjoy tea and bacon sarnies. Elsewhere, EC1’s top cafes and restaurants got in on the act, offering exclusive deals to festival-goers.


Many festival features were new for 2013. Zaha Hadid Studios opened its Goswell Road gallery for the first time. Over in Charterhouse Square, Covered was a new venue focusing on surface materials from the likes of Corian, HIMACS by LG Hausys and Muraspec. Festival-goers could expect the unexpected as they wandered Clerkenwell’s streets, with installations appearing in the area including a ‘village’ of huts designed by Architecture for Humanity. In St John’s Square, the Mirare Maze from Mobile Studio was a take on a traditional maze, with walls made from clear acrylic.



The jam-packed festival calendar included a full schedule of talks from leading design lights such as Alex de Rijke, Tom Dyckhoff, Patricia Urquiola and Erwan Bouroullec. And CDW is even big enough to have its own Fringe – which this year included events by the Goldsmiths’ Centre, Craft Central, the Contemporary Arts Society and architecture studio Carmody Groarke.

With so many visitors from Britain and abroad pouring into Clerkenwell for the festival, this was a chance for the neighbourhood to showcase its history, creativity, and status as an international design hub. So our next question is… what’s in store for 2014?

We asked some leading design lights for their highlights of this year’s festival…

“In addition to bringing new brands to the area, CDW celebrates and consolidates an existing design community. The borough represents a one-stop destination for architects, designers and furniture showrooms. The great response we had from our events this year has delivered new contacts to our showroom and also strengthened our relationships with existing business contacts.”
Daniel Gava, general manager Arper UK

“I have been impressed with the raw energy and vibrancy of the festival. We recorded over 5,000 visitors to our stand, capturing the attention of the design community in an inspiring and memorable setting.”
Carlo Urbinati, co-founder of Italian lighting company Foscarini

“Clerkenwell Design Week is a great place to view new furniture collections. Highlights included the Kelly range for Tacchini, the Working Girl chair by Deadgood, and at Sé I just loved the range of materials they’re able to work in – in particular metal and marble together. Beyond furniture, the fair is also a great place to find statement accessories. “
Emilio Pimentel-Reid, interiors stylist and lifestyle editor

“2013’s Clerkenwell Design Week was better than ever. The Farmiloe Building itself was the epitome of shiny design set against a gritty industrial backdrop – a contrast us design nerds can’t seem to get enough of. The House of Detention was bursting with new design talent – Donna Bates’ Parlour Lights were my favourite. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Katie Treggiden, design writer and editor of

Need another design fix? 100% Design, from the same company behind Clerkenwell Design Week, takes place from 18-21 September 2013 at Earls Court London. 100% Design is officially the UK’s largest design trade event with over 25,000 visitors including architects, designers and retailers. For more information and to register visit