Surface inspiration

Surface inspiration

March 2020

The 2020 edition of the Surface Design Show, which took place recently at London’s iconic Business Design Centre from the 11th to 13th February, impressed with more subtle surface material options and inspirations than ever before. TSJ reports.

February’s Surface Design Show 2020 inspired with the best in surface innovations.  More than 170 exhibitors showcased outstanding examples of the latest in surface design, with nearly 5,000 architects, designers, and specifiers visiting the event over the packed 2 ½ days.

With a focus on Close to Home…Locally Sourced, the show looked beyond aesthetics and into manufacturers’ impact on the environment, from the processes used in mining or manufacture, through to the carbon footprint sustained during sales and distribution.

Over the course of the show, there was a full schedule of insightful discussions and talks including the popular Opening Night Debate, supported this year by RIBA and Architextural, and the lively PechaKucha evening, hosted by Chris Dyson of Chris Dyson Architects.

Co-located within Surface Design Show was Light School which educated visitors of the importance of the relationship between light and surface by bringing together leading manufacturers and suppliers with architects and designers looking to specify their products. A highlight of Light School was its stand out seminar programme – Light Talks; a series of sessions collated by the Institution of Lighting Professionals.

As well as established brands, Surface Design Show is committed to supporting and promoting up-and-coming designers in the materials sector with its New Talent section which was expanded for 2020. It was curated by chief creative director at Trendease International, Jennifer Castoldi.

The New Talent area allowed designers, who have been in the industry five years or less, to have a devoted exhibition area, giving them the opportunity to showcase and engage face to face with a hard to reach and targeted audience. The 32 New Talents  included That’s Caffeine, a start-up that creates products from waste coffee grounds and knitted textile specialist Charlotte Clayton.

Launched six years ago the Surface Design Awards has become an integral part of the show, growing in stature to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm.

The 2020 Awards had over 100 entries from 12 countries including as far afield as America, India and Australia. There were 14 categories in total, from Retail and Public Building to Commercial Projects and Housing, including new categories Public Realm and Affordable Housing. The entries comprised the best in architecture and design from across the globe; Giles Miller Studio, Mikhail Riches and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Steven Holl Architects from the USA, and Kris Lin International Design from China were among those shortlisted.

Stone Gallery - an industry-leading event for architects and designers to meet and specify natural stone - was officially supported by Stone Federation GB, whose Stone Knowledge Hub formed the focal point for the event.

New for 2020, award-winning practice Squire and Partners created the Stone Knowledge Hub, designed to highlight innovative uses and applications of stone.  The bespoke installation table, made in collaboration with Italian furniture maker Lema SpA and high-end natural stone supplier SolidNature, showcased a variety of stone types from a host of leading suppliers. Exploring innovative textures, light, colour, pattern and sustainability to create a tapestry of inspiring materials from around the world, the display was illuminated by independent lighting specialist Atrium.

Squire and Partners and Stone Federation GB hosted ‘talks round the table’ on all three days of Surface Design Show at the Stone Knowledge Hub.

This year’s show had the chosen theme of ‘Close to Home’, which looked at a sustainable approach to design. The theme addressed the current climate emergency debate in the context of the surface and materials sector, for both the UK and international markets.

Many Stone Gallery exhibitors are exemplary examples supporting the theme through home grown products in countries renowned for specific materials. This includes Italian marble producer Marmi Faedo; owner of the only Grolla marble quarry in the world, which is located a short distance from the company.  Mármoles Serrat, a Spanish family business founded in 1965, has a Gris Pulpis quarry in close proximity, highlighting the use of the area’s natural materials without a reliance on importation. LSI Stone is a Portuguese natural stone supplier whose limestones are extracted from the best Estremadura quarries, located in the most important repository in Portugal. With sustainability at its heart LSI Stone’s recycling system is organised to allow the complete reuse of stone, letting what once was considered waste for the company to be reborn as a raw material to other industries.

Natural stone supplier Amarestone, members of the Ethical Stone Register and the Stone Federation Great Britain, highlighted a trend that customers are increasingly interested in where materials are coming from, the production methods and their impact on the environment. This customer movement in the stone industry towards sustainable and ethical production was a common theme with the Surface Design Show exhibitors.

BluePrint Ceramics had a really exciting offering of porcelain and ceramic tile products to showcase.  Nature is the most pictorial and luxuriant of BluePrint's new Wallpaper ranges, inspired by the vast natural world. Ranging from the elegant graphics of birds, butterflies and fruit, to the artistic floral effects, Nature is ideal for creating a stunning statement wall.

Inspired by Art Deco stylings, Tux is a monochromatic dream. The geometric patterns are decorative enough to stand out but retain an air of elegance, the black and white tones keep the range simplistic and easy on the eye.

For lovers of oversized, minimalistic or classic terrazzo, Melody provides a suitable option.  This range combines the charm of classic Italian terrazzo with contemporary colours to create a striking, decorative range that will add a modern elegance to any setting.

Finally, Bolt’s crayon shaped tiles make dramatic effects and come in a vast selection of colours. These unusual shapes and statement palette of colours allows the designer to inject a creative flair to a project.
0121 268 3240

Tile distributor Tiles UK shared a stand at SDS with Jackoboard and Norcros Adhesives.
Norcros Adhesives promoted their preparation, fixing and finishing systems for tiling and flooring, while Jackoboard focussed on their construction boards with an extruded polystyrene foam core, to form an ideal base for tiling.

Tiles UK were promoting their latest new product launch; a porcelain tile called InOut. This has a Pendulum Test Value of 46+ in wet conditions. Unusually for a tile with such a high slip rating, InOut has a smooth, rather than riven, finish, which makes it much easier to clean than most slip-resistant tiles.  

The new InOut range from Tile UK, therefore, is particularly suitable for installations where both slip resistance and a good aesthetic appearance are required.

Historic Stoke-based manufacturer H & E Smith has recently channelled its energy and expertise into a new Eco Glazed Brick Slips range.  This combines sustainability and style in an exciting new format.

Each brick slip is manufactured from more than 80% recycled materials and can be produced in a wide range of shades and different finishes to provide the perfect medium for a stylish impression, in any environment.  

The Eco Glazed Brick Slips are manufactured  using traditional tile presses and colouring techniques to create a distinctive, individual look.  In total, 20 shades are offered as standard, with the option for special orders from any RAL colour.  There is also a choice of matt and opaque finishes, depending on the colour specified.

“We’ve been delighted at the initial response,” says Fred Smith, Managing Director.  “For many years we’ve worked with architects and specifiers to deliver something unique and of quality to their projects, and this latest development seems to be making quite a mark both here and overseas in that regard.  

H & E Smith also showcased some of the other products the company produces, including traditional Embossed Victorian Tiles.  These are available in a wide choice of colours and feature a series of elegant cornices and mouldings.  

T: 01782 281617
About Surface Design Show

Located in Islington, at the centre of London’s design district, Surface Design Show is the event of choice for architects and designers. Held annually in early February, the 2½ -day exhibition has been the place where industry professionals immerse themselves in the latest materials for the built environment, gain new insights and network with like-minded designers, architects and suppliers.

Surface Design Show is the only event in the UK to focus solely on interior and exterior surface materials. It provides architects, designers and suppliers with the latest trends and innovations. From exquisite hand-crafted surfaces to the latest technological advances in architectural lighting, Surface Design Show hosts over 170 exhibitors each year highlighting the very best in surface design.  

The show also incorporates the Surface Design Awards, at which outstanding examples of progressive design and use of innovative surfaces in projects both in the UK and internationally are celebrated. Divided into interior and exterior categories each project is judged on a range of criteria including the type of surface, the use of materials and aesthetic design.
T: @surfacethinking

Surface Design Show 2021 will take place from 9th to 11th February 2021 at Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1 0QH

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