A patch of central London is festooned with pink this week, which can only mean Clerkenwell Design Week is in session once more. Lovely old buildings such as the Farmiloe Building, House of Detention and the Museum of the Order of St. John have opened their doors to designers and design enthusiasts on the lookout for inspiration. Armed with a camera, Gizmag went exploring, and was pleased to see one or two favorites among the novelties.

Cork is cheap

Wandering up James Walk towards the House of Detention, Gizmag caught a glimpse of a familiar shape out of the corner of its eye. There in the grounds of St. James Church were three
Tetra-Sheds, which seemed somehow different to the sleek black finish we saw in December of 2011. Architect David Ajasa-Adekunle explained that the new cork finish came as a result of a manufacturing partnership. Cork offers insulation and noise reduction, which should only enhance its appeal as place for quiet introspection. We're told that the cork finish changes color when exposed to direct sunlight. One of the three Tetra-Sheds on display featured another welcome addition: an integrated photovoltaic panel. It sounds like business is booming at Ajasa-Adekunle's company, Innovation Imperative.

Hush turns Smush

Another familiar design, which also taps into our apparent desire for cocoons, can be found nestled in the last cell at the back of the Clerkenwell House of Detention:
Freyja Sewell's Hush. Sewell explains that where once the Hush acted as both a sit-in and a sit-on chair, for the sake of longevity the two forms have been divided. Both are made from the same material, but at a point in the process of its making, one has to choose between the cocoon (still named Hush) or the chair (spun out under the name of Smush). Again, it sound like Hushes are in demand.

Soft office furnishings and standing desks

Soft furnishings appear to be all the rage among Clerkenwell's office furniture showrooms, too. They're also cottoning on to the cocoon thing, apparently. Chairs, desks and meeting tables all seem to be enclosed in felt-like materials to create cozy spots for people to park up with a laptop. Gizmag chatted to a few sales reps to ask about the recent trend in standing desks (i.e. high desks one stands at, vaunted for health reasons). The view in Clerkenwell seems to be that this is more than a passing fad, though adjustable desks seem to be recommended to avoid fatigue.


For all the lighting on display, Clerkenwell Design Week is notably lacking in LEDs. Alas incandescent bulbs still seem to appeal to aestheticists (aesthetisticians?), the better to cast a warm glow on their ubiquitous paper lampshades. The designer-friendly fluorescent
Plumen is also popular, though, so it's not all bad news.

Take to the gallery for more highlights from the floor, including a somewhat blurred shot from the inside of a Hush, more Tetra-Shed appreciation, plenty of quirky lampshades, Duffy London's swing desk, and a handful of Zaha Hadid design curios.

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