Clerkenwell Design Week returns with a stellar line-up of leading industry figures for its ever-popular talks programme, Conversations at Clerkenwell.

Throughout the three days of the festival, visitors can enjoy a thought-provoking programme raising issues that matter to architects and designers today, as well as in the future. Staged on the third floor of Design Factory at the Farmiloe Building, Conversations at Clerkenwell includes talks each day, delivering world class content right at the heart of Clerkenwell. The programme also offers an arena to introduce and discuss new innovations whilst networking with A&D professionals.

Tuesday 19th May
Kicking off the programme will be Ben Van Berkel of award winning international architecture practice, UN Studio, together with Mark Davy, founder of cultural broking and arts strategy firm, Futurecity. Van Berkel and Davy will look at how design can affect well-being based on a new research - commissioned by Canaletto - from Dr Brendan Burchell, Professor of Sociology at Cambridge University. Following this, Monotype and a panel of graphic design experts explore how graphic design works in public spaces- names include Jonathan Barnbrook Sarah Hyndman and Tony Brook.

In the afternoon a talk entitled ‘Modern Furniture in Heritage Settings’ will see UK-based, Israeli born designers Raw Edges discuss the emerging phenomenon of putting contemporary designs into historic settings with Fredrikson Stallard and Hannah Obee, Curator of Exhibitions and Special Projects at Chatsworth. This talk is chaired by Suzanne Trocmé of Wallpaper*.

Later that afternoon, lighting experts Carlotta De Bevilaqua of Artemide, British designer Terence Woodgate and Keith Bradshaw of Speirs + Major will discuss how interior, exterior and sculptural lighting affects the way we perceive spaces. This talk is followed by an open discussion, led by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, which looks at his architecture practice’s previous industrial designs and collaborations. Grimshaw will be joined by his Head of Industrial Design Cas Zdanius, Kurt Wallner of Poltrona Frau & Cassina and product designer Theo Williams.

Tuesday ends with The Design Guild Mark asking ‘Is there still such a thing as British Design?’. The discussion will be chaired by Jeremy Myerson with a panel including Barbara Chandler of The Evening Standard, designer Sebastian Conran, and Jason Wilary-Attew, Head Buyer of Furniture at John Lewis.

Wednesday 20th May

Wednesday 20th May starts with its headline talk ‘#BeOriginal’, where Elle Decoration’s Editor-in-Chief Michelle Ogundehin will chair a panel with some of the leading women in today’s design industry, including Patrizia Moroso, Nipa Doshi and Pip Prinsloo, Design Director at John Lewis. The group will discuss the importance of originality and independent creative thought in our world of increasingly passive consumerism.

Another key talk of the day is one hosted by fashion brand Camper which is to coincide with its new show at the Design Museum. Esteemed Camper’s designers Nipa Doshi and Tomas Alonso will join the musuem’s Head of Exhibitions Nina Due to discuss their unique work with Camper, as well as culture, commerce and commissioning.

Exploring the blurring boundaries between fashion, design and architecture, Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto, Bethan Gray, Morag Myerscough and Stephanie Macdonald of 6A Architects will be in conversation with design journalist Katie Treggiden.

Next on the schedule is ‘Moving with the Tides: The Thames as London’s future public space’ chaired by Sarah Gaventa, founder of Made Public. As London grows upwards and outwards, our public spaces are feeling the squeeze and the river has become a natural draw. Farrells, David Kohn Architects and Studio Octopi will discuss their proposals for ways to turn the Thames into the focus of public activity in London once again.

Wednesday’s programme finishes with a talk presented by Renault UK, and hosted by Anthony Lo, Vice President of Exterior Design at Renault Design. 2015 marks the first year that Renault UK supports Clerkenwell Design Week as headline sponsor.

Thursday 21st May

The final day of the festival starts with founder of Futurecity Mark Davy discussing the pros and cons of working on large infrastructure art projects with guests and fellow collaborators.

Following this Christopher Turner, deputy director of the London Design Festival talks to designers Michael Young and Todd Bracher about the importance of the London design scene in a global context. Formally based in the UK, both Young and Bracher chose to move their practices to Hong Kong and New York respectively.

In the afternoon, ‘Brutalism: Save it or Scrap it?’ sees Hugh Pearman, Architecture Critic at the Sunday Times and editor of RIBA J discuss the heritage of this controversial style of architecture with a panel of experts. Archiboo returns to the festival with ‘The Architects Pitch’, inviting architects to test their communication skills in front of industry experts and a live audience.

The final talk of Conversations at Clerkenwell, ‘Reclaim the street: designing the urban commons’ brings together four practitioners who will present their approaches to public realm design, drawing on examples within and beyond London. The talk will focus on the increasingly politicised sphere of public space and the indisputable value that it brings to its citizens.