Clerkenwell Design Week Wrap

By Peter Harris and Regina Connell

Getting to this a bit late in and among all the other shows we’ve been going to of late, but it’s well worth a wrap up because we think we’ve spotted some enduring talent there.

Clerkenwell Design Week

Every May for the last few years, lucky London has been the scene of Clerkenwell Design Week, THE go-to festival for indie design. The vibe is, of course what you’d expect, spread out over several extremely cool venues, from the Farmiloe Building (a former Victorian glassworks) to the Order of St. John (a priory church and crypt). Then, of course, there’s the House of Detention (a subterranean Victorian prison, and the center for up and coming design talent.) Hello LA and NYC, aren’t there more interesting venues for YOUR design shows? 

Photography by Rob Falconer for Industri Management

In addition to some debuts from some major design companies, here were some of our faves:

Buster and Punch was our hands-down favorite. With lights and furniture based on reused motorcycle parts, they designed everything from knurled brass light fittings to yes, ultra-custom choppers. We love what they say about themselves: “Buster + Punch can be described as a love affair between distilled luxury and daring distinction, translated into crafted design objects that celebrate custom living and being individual.”

Yeah, baby.

Buster and Punch Rockstar Bar. Image courtesy of Buster and Punch.

At Clerkenwell Design Week, Buster and Punch debuted the Hooked Collection, which they describe as the result of “unexpected collaborations” between designer Massimo Buster Minale “and bike builders, whisky makers & rockstars.” Irresistible. Our fave: the aptly-named Rockstar, the bar your inner badass has always deserved.

Something we’re also obsessed with: their maker video.

A beyond-lovely juxtaposition of music and images.

Hush by Freyja Sewell, image courtesy of Freyja Sewell

Freyja Sewell, a 2011 graduate from Brighton University with a scholarship to Japan’s Nagoya University of Arts. We love her values: reducing consumption by bringing sustainable, long-lasting products to the mass market. And we love her eye: the HUSH Chair, made out of felt and designed to create a little privacy in settings from your home to the office. Want one.

Dare Studio Leather Lamps, image courtesy of Inhale Magazine

British design is huge these days, and one of the groups garnering buzz is Dare Studio. Established by Sean Dare in 2009, Dare Studio is a family run company championing the skills of the finest craftsmen, setting a benchmark for the very best in contemporary design and manufacture. Loved their line of leather lighting that debuted there (so perfect for an au courant gent’s club), but also am loving their Katakana desk, a mix of retro, classic and modern resulting in a charming, offbeat elegance.

Dare Studios, Katakana Desk. Image courtesy of Dare Studios


Donna Bates Parlour Lights. Image courtesy of Donna Bates

Finally, a little nod to our apparently innate love of rus-in-urbe effect (wherever it springs from): Northern Ireland’s Donna Bates’s Parlour Lighting. Parlour Lighting is inspired by Donna’s early years growing up on a rural Irish dairy farm, and makes reference to the receiving jars used to collect milk in ‘the parlour’. Donna collaborates with the finest local County Down craftspeople, including master wood-turner, Mark Hanvey. Also love the name of her company: I do cartwheels.

That’s what seeing, living with, and creating great design should be, don’t you think?





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