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All's well in Clerkenwell!

Refresh PR’s senior consultant, Katie Burbidge, was out pounding the pavements of Clerkenwell at the end of last month, taking in the sights and sounds of the celebrated design festival, Clerkenwell Design Week:

Manchester PR agency hits Clerkenwell

60 showrooms, 150 events, countless pop up exhibitions and three journalist meetings. I am pooped! Ok, so I didn’t get to all 60 showrooms and all 150 events, but I gave it a good go. Here are (in my humble opinion) the best bits of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW), the festival that celebrates design’s creative richness, its social impact and its power for change:

Haworth Showroom: The Lunch Lab - A clever way to entice weary festival goers, Haworth’s Lunch Lab provided a haven from the CDW hubbub, looking at the relationship between food and mood. Experts shared their wisdom on all things food: food to make you happy, food to affect your mood at work, and when best to eat it, taking the term ‘power lunch’ to a whole new level. Oh, and there was cake there too. Lots of cake. But it was ‘Caketecture’ and therefore all in the name of work. 

Lulu Guinness ‘Be A Pin Up’ – Remember those retro Pin Art toys you used to stick your hand (or face) in to make a 3D imprint? Well, Lulu Guinness commissioned a huge version of this, which was placed along the route from the Farmiloe Building to the House of Detention, to mark the launch of the Clerkenwell Lips Clutch. Visitors were queuing in their droves to create full body poses and portraits. I don’t blame them; Lulu Guinness will be creating a gallery of all the pin impressions sent in from visitors on its Facebook page and will be giving away the Clerkenwell Lips Clutch (worth £450!) to the owner of photo with the most ‘likes.’

Camira Fabrics - A company Refresh PR’s client naughtone does a lot of work with, Camira teamed up with emerging graphic artist Emily Forgot to create a pop up showroom in the Farmiloe Building with a fun twist on a nostalgic British theme. Cheeky seaside peepholes and a swinging pendulum leg lured mischievous visitors to Camira’s corner of the Farmiloe Building, where they were treated to a sneak preview of David Fox’s new Nuna collection.

Camira's beach side theme was a hit with this Manchester PR agencyCheck out naughtone's Pinch stools bottom right!

House of Detention – scary. But cool. The Victorian prison housed an international design exhibition showcasing some exciting contemporary talent. Exhibitors went to town to customise their cells, with most of them creating one-off installations just for the show. I’m afraid my photos don’t do it justice – I was a bit overcome and only ended photographing the less eerie artefacts on display.

Farmiloe Building – This former lead and glass merchants’ house exudes dilapidated sophistication. When it’s not being used to showcase some of the most exciting names in design during CDW, it’s usually being decked out as a film set. This year, principal sponsor Jaguar had scattered its cars among exhibitors including Muuto, Ella Doran and Material Lab to give a satisfyingly eclectic edge.

And finally, there was one team of exhibitors that divided visitors, filling some with dread and others with hope: the Milliken Street Style Spotters. Who would be deemed stylish enough to have made the grade? If you didn’t get chance to check out the fashionistas that were chosen to feature on the ‘street style’ wall at 5tudioMilliken during the show, head over to Milliken’s Style Spotter blog to see some Clerkenwell Style Icons:

This year’s exhibitors have clearly set the standard high, and I’m told that many more hopefuls were turned away than were given a space – it’s not a case of ‘pay now, decide later’ with this exhibition. Companies keen to take part next year will have to pitch to – and impress – CDW’s organisers, who are by their own admission an unashamedly discerning bunch. And boy is the proof in the pudding – what a show!

Tagged with: , Camira, Clerkenwell, Clerkenwell Design Week, Farmiloe, festival, Jaguar, Lulu Guinness, naughtone