Material Lab is closed until further notice. Find out more

Clerkenwell Design Week 2019: Top Material Trends


From vinyl to velvet, Clerkenwell Design Week is the place to spot the materials that are hot right now. Perhaps the biggest event in the architecture and design calendar, this year’s festival was busier than ever, with a huge range of exhibitors revealing their latest collections as part of CDW’s 10th anniversary.

With Clerkenwell just a few tube stops away from us, we took some time to whip round the show. With so many inspiring materials showcased, picking our favourites was tough! Here we share our top selection, which we expect to feature prominently in upcoming industry collections.

Recycled Materials

Sustainability is at the top of most specifiers’ list of priorities, so it was hardly surprising that recyclable materials were everywhere at Clerkenwell Design Week.

New and creative ways of making beautiful materials out of would-be waste were on show across exhibitions. These included the spectacular ‘BottleHouse’ installation, a collaborative project between small and WSP Designs, which aimed to reimagine the typical materials associated with construction to advocate a circular economy.

Product designers’ work was also littered with recycled materials. Specialist seat-makers Woodmancote Retro tapped into two trends at once with their use of recycled shampoo bottles to craft stylish mid-century inspired stools.

Screenshot 2019-05-31 at 14.24.40.png

Acoustic Solutions

Along with sustainability, the wellness trend is one that is sweeping multiple industries, with designers and architects striving to find innovative solutions to improve our health and wellbeing.

With studies proving that workplace acoustics play a key role in improving employee productivity and happiness, materials that enhance natural acoustics were popular throughout Clerkenwell Design Week.

Some of our favourites came from Soundtect, who marry acoustic materials with great design to ensure that they can be implemented in a beautiful way.

Back to Nature

It’s long been thought that being outdoors has a positive impact on our wellbeing, so this perhaps explains the nature-inspired material trend that was everywhere this CDW.

Flooring manufacturers like our partner Modulyss revealed their latest collection Fluid&, with a colour palette inspired by the natural world.

Karndean Designflooring, another Material Lab partner, took the natural trend further still with their Inspired by Nature pop-up, featuring elegant wooden flooring in a nod to the ‘great outdoors’.


Pastel Shades

It isn’t just natural palettes that are stealing the spotlight right now - pastel shades were also a prominent feature across exhibits at CDW.

Designers experimented with pastel tones in a whole range of materials, including eye-catching ceramic creations such as the beautiful bar in the Interface showroom, created using Johnson Tiles’ Savoy collection in the delicate ‘Leaf’ shade.

And that’s a wrap for another year. Did you spot anything we’ve missed from our list? Message us on social media to let us know, and stay tuned for more inspiration from our team.