Back to top

Official Clerkenwell Open Review

“The time has come to mingle with like-minded people and network in real time again.”

The BCFA Clerkenwell OPEN trail event took place over two days in early September with the aim of providing a clear statement and a focus that Clerkenwell was once again “alive”, the showroom doors were gratefully unlocked and once again were “open for business”.

Over 60 leading international brands took part including manufacturers of bathrooms, furniture, fabrics, flooring and furnishings, featuring new products for both the workplace and hospitality sectors.

This new event was facilitated and managed by two well regarded organisations in the interiors and design industry - The BCFA (British Contract Furnishing Association) and WOD (Women in Office Design).

The OPEN attracted a wide-ranging audience of decision makers and influencers, including architects, designers, clients/end users and property professionals who welcomed the opportunity to be able to network in person and exchange views.

An interactive online trail map took visitors on a journey to see the latest designs and products on offer, and many showrooms also ran their own exciting and innovative events over the two days.

The showrooms commented that as well as reconnecting with clients that they already knew, with so many changes in design practices during the last 18 months, it was a brilliant opportunity to meet up and engage with new contacts.

The vibrant social media campaign for the event was really welcomed and the buzz of interaction and engagement online was excellent.

“After what has been a challenging period for our sector, we felt it was essential to organise this event to provide a boost specifically to support the Clerkenwell showrooms so that they quickly regained their vibrancy and vital role within the contract sector. Clerkenwell Open categorically achieved this, and importantly also boosted the engagement and sense of community between the participating companies” – Jeremy Stein, Managing Director of the BCFA.

“The A&D community has missed out on networking and learning in last year and with Clerkenwell Open, we brought designers, specifiers and workplace experts together, to socialise and share ideas and knowledge through our seminars and workshops.” – Harsha Kotak, Founder of WOD.

Participating showrooms were encouraged to host their own events based around the themes of Well-Being in the Workplace and Sustainability. The outcome was an exciting range of workshops, talks, networking drinks and exclusive product launches.

A selection of some of the events were:

Talks:

  • Sagal: ‘It’s More Than Just Plants’ – Visitors learnt about the incredible, and scientifically proven, ways in which incorporating live planting can improve the atmosphere and spirit in the workplace. 
  • Staverton: ‘The Imperfect Storm — Time for an Environmental Awakening?’ – A talk about adaptation, mitigation and resilience, and how designers must be courageous in reframing the professional, intellectual and operational models we’ve been used to and dependant on.
  • Elite: ‘Movement and our Mental Health’ - Lee Jones discussed the importance of movement in the workplace and the benefit it has on our mental health.

Workshops:

  • Vescom: Free meditation and yoga sessions hosted by Satkara Yoga in Vescom’s courtyard, following meditation, breathing exercises and easy stretches.
  • Table Place Chairs: Sustainable Surfaces through Chocolate Terrazzo Making with BRIK x Spared
  • Hitch Mylius: Designer Workshop: DIY Macramé Hanging Baskets – a therapeutic afternoon of unravelling some of knots and mentally re-charging whilst learning the beautiful art of Macramé. From wellness and mental health awareness to team building, Macramé artist Isabella Strambio showed the many benefits of this retro craft.
  • Sedus: Cookery and Cocktails – Wholesome Recipes from the Sedus Kitchen.

Launches:

  • Ensemble: ‘Launch of StepUp modular seating and storage by Werner Works and WING by Systemtronic’
  • UltraFabrics: ‘New UfSelect Preview Brunch’ 
  • Shaw Contract: ‘Beam and Braid Launch’
  • Verco: 'Anna' their new flexible soft seating, launched on the first day of the event.

Networking Drinks:

  • MARK Product: Cream Teas & Bubbles
  • Bloq: Dutch Beer & Cheese Tasting
  • Workstories: Mix & Mingle Drinks
  • Davison Highley: Paella and Drinks evening

The Clerkenwell Open featured a seminar programme organised by WOD, including the topics of Sustainability & Circular Design, Workplace Design & Strategy, Furniture Dealers Network, The Future of Works, Diversity & Inclusivity in Design and The Office as a Hub for Collaboration & Wellbeing.

The Clerkenwell Open also encouraged all showrooms to take part in the COmmitment: a voluntary pledge from participating showrooms, signing a document to show that the interior design world has listened and responded to the environmental threat that is faced by everyone.

Companies signed up to a plastic-free event, no single-use items, no lanyards, no physical maps, free water refill stations, merchandise sustainably made or eco-friendly, product display showcasing manufacturing transparency and Clerkenwell Open route marking plastic-free (where possible).

We'd like to thank those who attended and helped put the buzz back into Clerkenwell. A special thank you to our participating showrooms for all their hard work and support throughout. 

To view more images of products showcased at the event, click here.