Daren Newton, founder of Clerkenwell Design Week

By Matt Balmer
May 20, 2019

May 2019

Who better to give us the inside track on what to look out for this week than Daren Newton, founder of Clerkenwell Design Week


When was CDW founded and why?

My first conversation regarding the concept for CDW probably started in late 2009 and we delivered the first event in May 2010.

There had been several attempts at creating an event for the local design community but the concept was completely wrong. The area was so perfect for a design festival we could not let the opportunity pass.

What’s new for 2019?

Lots of amazing new products and ideas at CDW this year. One thing that springs to mind is a company called Aectual – they have a cool bit of kit that uses a huge bio-based digital printing robot to create floors of any size and design.

What are you most proud of regarding CDW?

We have achieved too many mile stones in the last 10 years to pick just one, but the fact that I can travel to any cultural city in the world and bump into a fan of CDW – that global reach always makes me feel immensely proud.

I’ve just discovered…

I’ve just discovered some fascinating historical tales about the area due to our project CDW Presents Once Upon A Time, which challenged Chelsea College of Arts students to design vinyl installations re-interpreting a number of significant stories across Clerkenwell. From wife sales to prison bombings to the world’s first underground railway and Britain’s last public hanging, the area is brimming with significant events.

Who inspires me…

I’m often inspired by young design talent. They remind me of the energy, excitement and enthusiasm when first entering the design world.

I’ve always been a fan of…

I’ve always been a big fan of watches. It’s possibly an obsession, maybe because they combine product design, fashion and technology.

I have recently discovered a French brand called MARCH LA.B, who create modern watches with a vintage feel – beautiful.

My highlight of the last 12 months…

My home building project.

I originally bought the property because of its beautiful views of the countryside and I have recently finished a build project that included fitting 11 metres of sliding glass doors on the back. I’m not sure if the highlight was finally enjoying the view or the fact that the builders had left my property!

What is your favourite coffee shop/restaurant in Clerkenwell and why?

This is possibly the hardest question to answer as it depends what mood you are in on the day,

I would say The Exmouth Grind has it all, really good coffee, easy food, nice atmosphere and if you’ve had a particularly hard day they also make a very nice espresso martini!