Five key takeaways from Clerkenwell Design Week 2024

30th May 2024

With a notebook full of new contacts and heads filled with ideas and inspiration, the team has been reflecting on another successful trip to Clerkenwell Design Week – and in 2024, Agilité was in the thick of the action. 

Our new office in Farringdon, London sits right on the doorstep of Clerkenwell Design Week and amongst the high concentration of creative businesses and architectural practices the area – and event – is synonymous with. This year was no different, as over 600 industry professionals (including us) hosted showroom events, exhibitions, panel discussions and exclusive product launches.  

Daniel Hunt, Agilité UK country head says: “Testament to Clerkenwell's status as a global design hub, this year’s event was a melting pot of innovation and inspiration and there was a real buzz to the place. It was fantastic to be able to meet our peers – and neighbours – throughout the week, and welcome people to our London office, too. We’re already counting down the days to 2025!” 

 

So, what did we discover? Here are our top five takeaways from Clerkenwell Design Week 2024: 

 

  1. Sustainable and circular solutions  

A strong emphasis was placed on sustainability once again this year, and among many of the presentations we visited, material selection was a common theme. There were numerous exhibitors showcasing eco-friendly materials and designs that promise to reduce environmental impact without compromising style or functionality.  

Circularity was a key theme, with recycle and reuse solutions such as Alusid’s Mas tiles, made using waste from the tile manufacturing process as well as Spark & Bell’s Florence wall light (created using recycled CD cases) both offering inspirational and versatile interior options.  

2. Waste not, want not 

Linked to the above, one of the biggest challenges clients face during a construction project is around site waste, so it was interesting to see how project/construction-specific detritus is being repurposed into everything from lampshades to worktops. One such example came from Tabitha Bargh, who presented ‘Poly’ a new lighting collection which transforms old Correx estate agent advertising boards into various stylish shades. We also saw terrazzo worktops made from repurposed tiles – products that wouldn’t look out of place in a stylish bar or restaurant, courtesy of J Adams & Co showroom. 

3. Technological integrations  

As well as the adoption of a design philosophy which prioritises sustainability, the seamless integration of technology into all facets of design – including furniture and fittings – has its own power (pardon the pun) to create energy-efficient spaces. It was interesting to be able to get up close to some bleeding-edge technologies and seeing what smart and connected workspaces are/will be demanding to cater to the needs of modern businesses was a real eye-opener. 

4. Flexible workplaces 

Continuing to reflect the evolving nature of the workplace, flexible and modular designs were prominent – with lots of exhibitors offering adaptable solutions for dynamic commercial environments that require versatility. This is a theme we noticed during a recent roundtable with AECOM, tp bennett and GDM Group, exploring the shifting requirements of landlords and tenants alike – particularly in terms of energy efficient solutions which have the potential to extend the property's lifecycle and adapt to changing tenant needs. 

Something we found particularly interesting was the unveiling of Benchmark’s new ILE range of modular workspace furniture (designed by Foster + Partners Industrial Design) which blends the beauty of bespoke carpentry with the practicality of reconfigurable elements — designed to last the lifetime of a workplace. 

5.Artisanal craftsmanship 

As is often the case with events such as this, there was a heavy appreciation for artisanal craftsmanship, with plenty of bespoke pieces on show – each highlighting the skill and artistry involved in bespoke pieces. This linked nicely to points raised in our roundtable, which explored the potential for bespoke joinery to add a significant impact, and ‘wow factor’ to a space. At a time when we’re still seeing a lot of clients wanting to support the local economy, it’s these kinds of intricate pieces that not only elevate a project but supports local creatives too – as well as reducing the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced items. 

Ultimately, it was refreshing to hear the industry and our peers talking about the route towards a more sustainable construction future – and embedding this mindset into the design culture. While there is, naturally, still work to be done in making the case for such solutions to clients, the foundations are clearly in place, particularly if our industry stays true to the underlying narrative of this year’s event. 

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