Cocktails, Guest Speaking & Progress at Clerkenwell Design Week

Posted on May 30 2022

Cocktails, Guest Speaking & Progress at Clerkenwell Design Week

Looking into my garden the day after the 11th Clerkenwell Design Week, drew to a close, I marvel at the "typical" British weather. Because as I write this post the sun in shining brightly, illuminating the layers of greenery on display from the lawn to the shrubs.

In my head (there's nobody else around, I ask) "Where were you from the 24th to the 26th of May?", when a couple times I felt so chilly, I had to reach for not only my umbrella, but a long sleeved cardigan and scarf.

But, that's enough about the weather. I promise.

Guest speaker

Clerkenwell Design Week took place over three days, in various showrooms, nightclubs &  unusual venues. Informative talks, demonstrations & fun parties kept the majority of visitors entertained for the duration.

On Wednesday the 25th I was invited to be a guest speaker alongside my colleague Simon Hamilton, of Simon Hamilton Creative at the showroom of lighting specialists, Fritz Fryer. 

Our topic was how to create The Perfect Interiors Cocktail in which we both shared our different approaches to successfully blending lighting, colour & art to achieve a home (or workspace) you love.

Real talk: I was a little nervous before the event. I practised my presentation several times, even circling the block before we were due to start. Although not my first time public speaking, I have perhaps, stood in front of hundreds of people in the past, most bravely back in the day when I had a terrible skin condition.

It was an honour to be included and doing well was my way to show my appreciation.

In the end we smashed it - our hosts, Fritz Fryer enthused. They then rewarded us, plus all the guests with some absolutely delicious passion fruit cocktails!

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What can you learn at Clerkenwell Design Week

Showrooms are an essential part of the interior designers toolkit.

Product designers, interior studios & leaders in the industry use these physical venues to attract new customers, reveal product launches, network with industry specialists & showcase their existing catalogues.

Innovation, style & collaboration are at the forefront for many of these showrooms that allow access to designers, architects & private clients from the commercial & residential sector who want to specify the use of a particular item in their project.

If you're after lighting for your office, a bespoke kitchen or even an office chair made from recycled plastic, by appointment you can visit a showroom to be guided by an expert on how you can place an order with the brand.

I attended several talks. The first with leading interior designer, Oliver Heath, and Laura Light of Interface - a commercial carpet tile & flooring specialist, based in the heart of Clerkenwell - on Creating +positive spaces by designing for cognitive & sensory wellbeing.

In this fascinating hour long talk I learned how the industry is moving towards designing more inclusive work places to cater for the needs of ALL individuals from the disabled to the neuro-diverse.

In another talk at the Humanscale showroom, hosted by leading interior blogger & writer, Kate Watson-Smyth, with panelists Simon Hamilton, Roddy Clarke, Financial Times journalist, Harry Peck, sustainable furniture designer & Elizabeth Margles, chief marketing officer at Humanscale.

I learned how major players in the industry are championing, educating & utilising sustainable products to help turn the tide of what is sometimes seen as a wasteful industry.

Apparently our ocean floors are full of discarded fishing nets, that are causing a major hazard to marine wildlife. Although the statistics were quite depressing, I just can't understand how we as a species are so wilfully destructive. 

It's like leaving a mess in your own front room. Not cleaning up, shamefully not caring but expecting someone else to do it for you.

However, it was heartening to be involved in this conversation about how the interior design industry is addressing the problem of waste, destruction & pollution of our planet.

The takeaway for me was whatever little each one of us can achieve individually by adapting how we use & consume our planet's resources is a big contribution towards improvement.

I listened to a discussion on Diversity & Inclusion and whether the industry as a whole is missing the point on what diversity & inclusion means.

The conclusion arrived at by the panel was this broad topic can only be challenged through conversation, action & awareness. There are many changes to be made, which take time, but have to start somewhere.

From designing for all types of human to promoting all types of humans into positions where informed decision & change can take place.

Again although initially daunting & disheartening, the mere fact this topic was included in CDW is a sign positive change is taking place. 

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Conclusion

For me, Clerkenwell Design Week 2022, was an amazing success. Across a fairly small area of London creatives were encouraged to showcase their incredible products, demonstrate their skills & expertise, talk to new customers & in some cases take orders to bring in revenue.

Designers, product makers, artists, architects & members of the public were able to convene together to celebrate our passion for changing lives through interior design.

Although the sun didn't shine (much), the heavens opened (too much) and the breeze caught my breath, I felt the overall event was well organised, everyone was really friendly, the cocktails flowed and most importantly, I learned new things about this ever evolving industry.

Attending Clerkenwell Design Week has encouraged me to look at my own design practice, the products I sell & the direction I would like to take my studio in.

It is an exciting, challenging & changing time for interior design. I believe it can be used as a tool to build our self confidence, self-esteem and happiness and I'm excited for what will happen next.

Leave me a comment below and share your experience of Clerkenwell Design Week 2022.

 

 

 

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