A tour de Force in Clerkenwell…….

May 10, 2013


We moved our studio to Clerkenwell 12 years ago and one can safely say that we were “ahead of the game.” Back then the area was far from design led!  It is amazing what has happened since then.  Clerkenwell is now by far one of the most important areas in Europe for Architecture and Luxuy Interior Design.  The icing on the cake has to be Clerkenwell Design Week which helps to firmly confirm this area’s importance in design.


With that in mind, I wanted to help to plan a fun tour of our favourite showrooms and events with some pit stops along the way to sample the also burgeoning gastronomical delights in the neighborhood.  So I hope you all have a blast and enjoy the events as much as we do at Callender Howorth.


Starting the day would be a coffee pit stop.  “Look Mum No Hands” is now an institution on Old Street.  It started as a bike shop / café and has grown to become a really funky, eclectic and inspiring place to start the day!


Next Stop…


Domus – this inspiring company is really leading the pack with some fantastic tile and stone finishes.  The showroom is itself a master class in Showroom design.  They will be displaying all of the most innovative and exciting new ranges, including one of our favourites – Patricia Urquiola’s new collection.


Tiles at Domus


Moving on to…. 


Poltrona Frau   

A true classic and tour de force in the interior design world.  “With more than 50 monobrand stores, 8 of which are flagship stores, stretching from New York and Rome to Paris and Milan, Poltrona Frau is the brand name that symbolises luxury with a discreet and universal elegance, craftsmanship and perfection.”  An unusual next stop…



Japanese company TOTO made its name in the UK with toilets that go above and beyond the call of duty, so to speak, including units with an arsenal of built in hoses, dryers and invisible deodorisers. But there’s more to this brand than high-tech toilets.


Toto toilet



Recently TOTO has collaborated with French design practice EliumStudio on a new range of bathroom fixtures and fittings called SG (Square Geometry). It includes a range of modular furniture, ceramic products including WCs and basins, stylish faucets and an elegant shower tower.

Don’t forget to try out one of those toilets before you leave, though – you’ll never look back.


Toto Showroom



On to another classic –  Vitra  – the real  “Daddy of furniture emporiums.” What can I say on this one – just go and see one of the classiest and most famous furniture companies in the world.


Now for one of my real personal favourites –we are using tons of their product on residential projects at the moment – truly inspiring and unique – BOLON– they are driven by an indomitable will to change the view of the conventional – whether it is a square view of flooring or an antiquated attitude towards entrepreneurship.”


Next…. a short hop, skip and jump now to Knoll– The celebrated British duo Barber Osbergy, designers of the Olympic torch, have been designing furniture for leading international brands for over a decade now and have just finished an exciting collaboration with global leaders Knoll. You lucky visitors can see the new collection for the first time. This is not one to be missed!


Knoll sofa


Cocktails and lunch…………..


Now would be a good time for a lunch pit stop.  Cicada is an institution on St John’s Steet and was one of  the first places on the scene  17 years ago!  Whilst the food and cocktails are legendary,  the interior design has also lasted the test of time too!  Sit on their terrace, sip a couple of cocktails (allowed as fun day) and watch the crowds walk by…..


After lunch hit the events that year on year become more exciting and inspiring – some of our favourites are….



Making Designers at the SCIN Gallery – a small and innovative space on Old Street with always something to make you smile and think….


The “Making Designers” exhibition will show the school work of well-known design stars, to inspire tomorrow’s generation of industry leaders. Before they were stars of their industry, top designers like Nigel Coates, Michael Marriott, Linda Morey-Smith and Matthew Hilton were curious school students exploring the DT workshops.


Architecture for Humanity


The Huts at Clerkenwell Design Week:

This year Architecture for Humanity is designing and building a village of huts for CDW – each with a different theme: Green Hut (clad with edible plants), Water Hut (pipes and bottles), Textile Hut (exploration of soft materials) and Remakery Hut (using objects from the Brixton Remakery centre).

Architecture for Humanity


Order of St John

“For 2013, Clerkenwell Design Week will present an exhibition of contemporary furniture and decorative collections in the buildings and grounds of the historic Order of St John.” Exhibitors include: OCHRE, Sharon Marston, Ginger & Jagger, Black & Key. 


Order of St John


A creepy space next that is often used for horror film movie sets……

House of Detention, EC1’s subterranean Victorian prison: “International and cutting-edge design”. Exhibitors include: Bridger & Buss, Carole Waller, Freyja Sewell, Kit Miles


House of Detention


The Farmiloe Building, a monolith of a building is truly eclectic and inspiring – gives a real urban feel to the exhibitions in this building as it is funky…!


“High-end contemporary design. This elegant Victorian former glassworks, provides a unique and striking backdrop for leading international interior design and architecture suppliers to present their collections in new and dramatic ways. “ Exhibitors include: BoConcept, deadgood, Holloways of Ludlow, Plumen, Dare Studio


The Farmiloe Building


And lastly a party you should register for at Domus – they throw good parties!!!


Wednesday: 18:30 Domus: A Doll’s House – A Miniature Preview

20 internationally-recognised architects including Zaha Hadid, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and David Adjaye have been asked by developers Cathedral Group to design and build a dolls’ house. These unique houses will be exhibited and auctioned by Bonham’s in November 2013 in support of KIDS, a charity that supports families with disabled children. “A Miniature Preview” is an exclusive opportunity to have a sneak peak at the work in progress from a selection of the architects.
Followed by Domus Aperitivo
(guest list only, register online at www.domustiles.com) until 21:00.

So that is a day and a half!  Have lots of fun and get caught up in the Clerkenwell Design week buzz and creativity – get inspired!

Mark Howorth



Map of Clerkenwell Design Week 2013 Tour