With Clerkenwell Design Week in full swing, design editor Augusta Pownall picks out five of the best new furniture designs showing there, including a height-adjustable stool and a bench designed by Foster + Partners.
Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day festival that sees design events take place all over the small London district, which is home to many architecture studios and furniture showrooms.
This year’s event takes place from 21 to 23 May, at venues including nightclub Fabric, St James Church and a former prison.
Here’s our pick of the five best new products on show:
Embrace table by EOOS for Carl Hansen & Son
Austrian design trio EOOS has added to its Embrace collection with “unconventional and sculptural” circular-topped dining and lounge tables, designed to encourage communication between people.
A steel wire structure is used in place of legs, joining the round wooden top with the cross-shaped base.
“The tables have a distinctive, sculptural expression that provides optimal functionality, as the table legs have been pulled into the centre to maximise legroom,” explained Carl Hansen & Son CEO, Knud Erik Hansen.
New dining chairs have also been added to the Embrace collection.
Grid seating system by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Established & Sons
This modular seating system by the Bouroullec brothers is one of four new designs from British brand Established & Sons. Each product is designed for the workplace, but to also function just as well in the home.
The design comes in either L or U shaped modules. The exterior can be customised to offer either a metal cage, wooden panels or soundproof upholstery. Shelf and table options are also fully adjustable to create standing or sitting workplaces.
“The working environment is no longer about meeting rooms, task chairs and desk systems,” said Sebastian Wrong, design director of Established & Sons.
“Businesses and individuals want to inhabit a universal space that has a high level of design integrity and that includes comfort, flexibility, informality and functionality.”
Hula stool by Layer for Andreu World
For their first collaboration, design agency Layer has teamed up with Spanish furniture brand Andreu World for on a height-adjustable stool.
A contemporary swivel stool, the seat has a circular foot rest at the base which gives the seat its name, after a swivelling hula hoop. This foot rest and the seat itself moves up and down the central stem as required.
“We understand the importance of simplicity, resulting in objects that are intuitive to use and can easily fit into a variety of environments,” said Layer founder Benjamin Hubert. “Hula represents this approach, combining a strong sense of simplicity with an expressive form and format.”
Hula is designed to be hardwearing and is largely intended for contract use in bars and restaurants. It comes with or without a backrest and with the option of an upholstered seat pad in Kvadrat fabric.
OVO hallway bench, by Foster + Partners for Benchmark
British brand Benchmark is showing upholstered versions of its original OVO collection at Clerkenwell, as well as a new ebony finish to the pieces. It also expanded the collection produced with Foster + Partners, with a bar stool and a hallway bench.
Presented as part of a show called the British Collection, the updated upholstered pieces have been designed with bars and restaurants in mind.
“OVO is proving to be a very popular collection. Since its launch it has been specified for a multitude of projects and this has led us to evolve the collection to include upholstered elements,” explained managing director of Benchmark Sean Sutcliffe.
“We feel that these new elements help round out the collection making it an even more versatile choice for commercial and hospitality projects alike.”
Crawford bed by Tom Fereday with Lane Crawford for Stellar Works
The three-way collaboration of Australian designer Tom Fereday with department store Lane Crawford and Stellar Works was the result of the store’s Creative Call Out Sydney in 2018, for which the prize was the chance to create a collection for the brand.
The resulting Crawford collection comprises a lounge chair, table range, dining chair and bed. The solid timber bed has a low backrest and a linear steel frame that also provides an integrated bed head.
“I develop products based on the principle of honest design,” says Fereday. “This involves celebrating the materials and manufacturing processes behind my furniture and striving to create enduring products that are meaningful to people and our environment.”