Last month, Clerkenwell came alive once more as designers from all over the country flocked to find the latest interior design trends. This is the design pinnacle of the year, where the best design and furniture brands have the opportunity to showcase their new work up for purchase. This event brings bespoke crafts in all manners of designs, for various functions.
Clerkenwell already houses a range of furniture and architectural studios, making it the ideal hub for this event. The displays, showrooms, exhibitions and pop-ups are spread out across different venues to encourage a thorough exploration of what’s on offer.
This year’s display by the smart materials company, FENIX, had our furniture team in a frenzy. Their nanotechnological material, FENIX NTM, has revolutionised surfaces and countertops in designs; its ultra-high-tech treatment makes it extremely durable, whilst being soft to the touch but entirely anti-fingerprint. This latter feature clearly benchmarks a premium quality of material; when furnishing an office environment this is indispensable where multi-use surfaces and worktops can become covered with marks and smudges.
FENIX NTM goes further than being merely heat-resistant but actually utilises heat to repair any microscratches on the surface. The material is also water-repellent, super-hygienic and resistant to mould, making it the ideal countertop for teapoints and breakout areas. The surface material is available a variety of colours inspired by nature and is certainly recognised as a surface of the future.
The quest to bring the outside inside has definitely become an area of focus over the past year, with an increased awareness of its impact on employee wellbeing.
There were some interesting inclusions of natural influence, most notably Di Classe’s take on lighting in their Foresti, Orland and Rami installations. The lamps use faux forest and woodland brush to imitate the sun’s light through trees, creating interesting shadow patterns on walls. It is a simple imitation such as this that can alter the atmosphere of an indoor environment significantly and contribute to an uplifted mood.
Wooden benches, table tops and chairs are steadily featured across brands, heavily implementing the rustic look and feel to the traditional desk arrangement. Our attention was drawn to Hayche who have used a blend of smooth wood with a chic modern design in their WW colour collection. Much of their work also features this eclectic style: a sleek yet subtle implementation of wood combined with a contemporary twist.
This year has honed in heavily on the effects each industry has on our carbon footprint, with some serious assessment and scrutiny of our waste both personally and professionally. Corporations, in particular, are being penalised for their resourcefulness and how sustainable their waste distribution is across the company.
A group of students from Chelsea College of Art had set up a stall combatting the neglectful use of the tote bag. They were raising awareness that this plastic bag alternative was not always the best resource, as so many are handed out for free and then unused, resulting in their environmental efficiency being lost through production. These students were offering the opportunity for visitors to recycle their old tote bags or ‘refresh’ them using a screen press installation to customise them.