Seeking inspiration, and something new? Portaire visited Clerkenwell Design Week to discover the latest brands, ideas and materials. Here’s the pick of the lot.
1. Melina Pendant, Hand & Eye Studio
Messy-looking electrical cords can sometimes spoil a beautiful light, but Hand & EyeStudio’s Melina pendant makes a virtue of them. It features dimpled glass shades suspended from bronze-coloured flexes, either taut or loose to create a sculptural outline. Melina comes in a single-shade version, or with four, five or six shades to create a greater impact.
2. Pieces rug, Nanimarquina
Italian rug company Nanimarquina has collaborated with Barcelona-based artist Clàudia Valsells on the Tones collection. Valsells is known for her colour sense and the new collection plays with a muted yet harmonious palette that includes rust, greys, blues, ochre and soft pink. The collage-like Pieces rug is a stand-out, which comes in a flat-weave kilim or hand-tufted version, both in 100% wool.
3. Hush fabrics, Ultra fabrics
All designers know that white isn’t just white: subtle tonal differences can create a different mood for different schemes. Recognising this, Ultra fabrics, specialist in animal-free leather-alternative performance fabrics, has curated a new palette, Hush, to express some of these nuances. Clerkenwell Design Week saw the showroom transformed into a space of peace and tranquillity with these 13 different whites and off-whites, complete with peaceful music and gentle fragrance.
4. Tactile dimmer switch, Object Cor
A more organic alternative to your usual lighting controls, Object Cor’s Tactile dimmer switches are made from cast bronze but have the appearance of riven stone or marble. Designer-maker and company founder Florence Carter –who started off her career as a silversmith – has taken three years to develop the product. Tap the surface to turn your lights on and off, or press and hold to dim.
5. Cobo London
Bring a touch of Brazilian modernism to your schemes with Cobo London’s hollow bricks. The original Cobogó bricks were a staple of mid-20th century Brazilian design and the style is stillseen today: now, Cobo works with Brazilian manufacturers and has brought theconcept to Europe. The glazed ceramic bricks are handmade and can be used for partitionwalls, facades, balustrades and more, and many of the products are revivedversions of original 1920s designs.
6. Flow bath, Anselm Fraser Design
South-east London based Jamie Fraser of Anselm Fraser made the first Flow bath for his pregnant wife: it borrows techniques from the boat-building industry to make, steam-bending timber strips to make the basic shape before it is carved to make the bath shape, then finished with a tough fibreglass and resin outer skin – the whole process taking three months. The olive ash version pictured shows off the beauty of the natural wood, but at Clerkenwell, Fraser showed a brand-new ebonised oak version, its moody near-black surface just showing the wood grain.
7. Sling chair, Jott
British furniture studio Jott is going the extra mile when it comes to sustainability, using native timbers and manufacturing with zero staples. Its new Sling chair is its first all-natural product, with an English oak frame, cotton webbing and a wool pad upholstered in recycled cotton. Like all Jott’s output it’s designed with the circular economy in mind – it’s not just built to last, but thanks to the company’s replacement parts scheme, the cushion cases and pad will be easily replaced.
8. Mozzi Able light, AGO
South Korean lighting brand AGO made its UK debut at Clerkenwell Design Week, showing a portfolio of products that are often as playful as they are practical. New additions include a portable table version of the Mozzi light, which sits on an elegant fluted base: the wider family of Mozzi products, including wall and pendant versions, all feature a dimpled glass shade that was inspired by aJapanese mochi rice cake that’s been gently prodded.
9. Eley Kishimoto Edition II fabrics, Kirkby Design
Fabric and wall covering house Kirkby Design has teamed up with south London design studio Eley Kishimoto – known for its daring and decadent pattern – for a second collaboration. We particularly liked the fabrics in a monochrome palette, including Flash (a classic Eley Kishimoto pattern, now translated into a wool bouclé), Jagged Roses, a spiky, graphic rose velvet and complementary wall covering, and the hexagonal Home Centre.
10. Klombok display system, Roar
Creative agency Roar knows a thing or two about commercial display, having created retail spaces for several football clubs. Now it’s bringing its expertise to product development with Komblok, which uses back-projection on a variety of materials to create an engaging way to interact with an audience. Technology meeting materiality in an innovative way.
11. Solid Nature
Not a product but a new space to explore, natural stone supplierSolid Nature has opened a beautiful showroom in Clerkenwell at Charter house Square. Architects Squire & Partners were asked to curate the look of the new space, where they have brought the beauty of stone and its infinite variety to the fore. A ‘tapestry’ of different stone types aims to demonstrate the myriad applications and finishes available, while eye-catching features, including a stone chair and ping-pong table, create alternative ways to engage with the materials.