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Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Clerkenwell Design WeekIt has been almost a week since Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, the 10th anniversary of the prestigious event and the largest edition yet. This year proved to be the busiest for Connection yet, and we were delighted to see so many of you come through our Great Sutton Street showroom, to take in both new and existing commercial furniture ranges.

After taking the bank holiday weekend to relax and evaluate the goings on of the week, we have a few key trends to take-away from the week…

Wellbeing in Design

No longer just a trend, Wellness is now at the forefront of most workplace design concepts. Talent acquisition is an ongoing challenge, with 48 percent of people reporting that the design of an office would affect their decision to work for that organisation, according to a recent survey by YouGov. Employee retention rates are also now a KPI for many organisations, keeping staff happy and healthy is a top priority. Yet, a 2018 report by Health and Safety Executive found that stress was the cause of 57 percent of all working days lost due to ill health. It is vital that both space and product design help to combat this.


Some of the Connection team were lucky enough to attend the ‘Wellness in the Workplace’ talk hosted by OnOffice magazine with architect Jenny Jones, entrepreneur Aki Soundunsaari and lighting expert Neil Tomkinson. Some excellent thinking points were raised throughout this discussion, with everyone agreeing on the positive impact of biophilia in workplace design. As pointed out by Aki Soundunsaari – “no one dislikes nature”. In fact, employees with access to natural elements, such as sunlight and greenery, report 15 percent higher levels of wellbeing and creativity, as stated by Interface’s Human Spaces report on Biophilic Design in the Workplace.

We were never far away from plants or greenery during CDW, whether this was some mini potted cacti or a full floor-to-ceiling biophilic installation. Nature also seemed to inspire this year’s colour trend, as various shades of green in multiple different fabric finishes were seen in a vast majority of showrooms and on the exhibition stands.

Privacy & Focus

Privacy pods and booths were prevalent throughout CDW. Whether it’s a soundproof booth to take a private phone call, or a pod with a reclined seat for an afternoon power nap, privacy options were everywhere. The biggest problem with open plan design is distraction. A report on workplace distraction by online learning company, Udemy, found that nearly 70 percent of workers feel their focus is interrupted daily.
The same report also found that employees aren’t always vocal about distraction in the workplace. Many companies have ‘teamwork’ high on their list of values, which has led to increasing pressure to work collaboratively. People are unlikely to highlight when others are distracting them as they don’t want to ‘let the side down’. Providing private spaces for quiet, focused work can improve not only productivity, but also morale and wellbeing.

Written by George Eltringham, Digital Marketing Manager