There’s no event quite like Clerkenwell Design Week. A small network of streets just north of Farringdon station plays host to the world’s highest concentration of architects, design practices and showrooms, giving the area a concentrated, creative energy which you won’t find at other design shows.
While Clerkenwell is most known for its furniture and lighting offerings, the commercial flooring industry also has a strong presence – all of our major suppliers have showrooms in the area, many based around Great Sutton Street. The large influx of visitors makes it a great opportunity to host events, share knowledge, and showcase their new collections.
Our first visit was to Forbo, whose showroom had been given an animal-inspired makeover to celebrate Flotex - a flocked floor covering which sounds delicate but is suitable for the most high traffic environments. As well as being celebrated in true Flock Star style by their animal mascots, Forbo also installed a preview of their newest Flotex designer collaboration – with abstract painter Phillipe Stark – to demonstrate how digital printing techniques allow them to turn flooring into a work of art. Flotex by Stark has its official launch on June 7th.
Two streets away, Milliken introduced one of our favourite new carpet tile collections, Crafted Series. Made up of just two designs in six colourways, the capsule collection is inspired by the texture and variance of hand-made textiles, and the soft, interlocking geometry manages to be both peaceful and vibrant. Tactile craftsmanship continues to be a central concept leading interior design, and it was great to see how Milliken has interpreted this usually domestic trend in a way which is appropriate to the commercial fit out market.
Amidst a sea of canapes and stylish wooden board games, Havwoods launched their Mansion Weave parquet collection and the Magna system for raised access flooring. By adding a magnetic backing to Havwoods’ engineered timber planks, the need for underlays and adhesive is removed, allowing for much quicker installation and easy access to the raised access flooring below. Over the past year we’ve seen an increasing demand for magnetic flooring systems in office spaces, and with this solution Havwoods has allowed specifiers to choose from their existing range of wood grades and finishes.
We also visited Modulyss on their eye-catching stand at Project (one of Clerkenwell Design Week’s themed exhibition halls) to preview their Delight collection. Five carpet tile designs; Blaze, Dusk, Dawn, Gleam, and Spark, offer plains and textured patterns which are united by the theme of shimmering metallic threads. Dawn and Dusk’s transitional tiles allow different designs from the collection to be used together, allowing designers to take a more playful approach to flooring. With hospitality design in mind, it’s easy to see how this collection will add glamour to hotel and lounge spaces. Its official launch is June 5th.
In between the fanfare for new collections, flooring manufacturers were also bringing their knowledge and artistry to the fore throughout Clerkenwell Design Week, with a series of workshops and installations.
Our Best in Show award definitely goes to Brintons Carpets, who filled a double-height wooden pavilion with stunning broadloom carpets, made in collaboration with design house Timorous Beasties. Their combination of naturalist and abstract patterns, punctuated by vibrant colours were clearly a huge hit with show visitors and press, and it was a joy to see carpet being produced with an artistry which is usually reserved for luxury rugs, as well as to see flooring being celebrated alongside the other disciplines on show as one of Clerkenwell’s biggest and boldest installations.
Vehicles also proved popular this year. Karndean based their pop-up stand around a replica of the Morris Oxford originally used by their founder in 1973, to celebrate 45 years in business and to show how far they’ve come since their inception in the West Midlands. Havwoods used a custom Routemaster bus to host coffee for their guests in true London style – a necessity for all those who were taking in the sights by walking the 2018 Design Trail.
The sheer number of manufacturers hosting showroom events made choosing what to attend very difficult, and we noticed some clear themes. A combination of feel-good fun and intellectual discussions, office wellness was at the top of the agenda. Whether being discussed in panel debates, explored through greenery and mindfulness workshops or given new interpretations in trend talks, healthy and sustainable workplaces are on everyone’s minds, which can only be a good thing. At Interface these events were illustrated by a series of stunning mood boards, making it easy for designers to visualise today’s bold carpet designs in their schemes.
If you’d like to see more trend reports from recent design shows, take a look at the selection below. Or, browse our commercial project gallery to see how we supply and fit these innovative flooring products to create beautiful workspaces.