The Surface Design Show Review by Gemma Tovey

Surface Design Show logo

Celebrating its 10th year running, the Surface Design Show is held every year in February at the London Business Design Centre, it’s the “only UK event to focus exclusively on innovation and inspirational interior and exterior surface solutions”.

LocationGT headAs a student at the University of Huddersfield I have attended the show for the last few years and was very excited, although a little nervous!, to be reviewing the show this year for Scarlet Opus whilst on my placement year.  I visited the show on the preview evening, gaining a first look at the materials on display.  Being one of the smaller trade shows it was quite a relaxed atmosphere with exhibitors keen to talk and discuss their products.  Here’s my guide to the show, showcasing some of my favourite stands, themes, and products that are set to inspire Designers in 2013!

The entrance to the show presented some of the key trend predictions for the Spring/Summer 2014 season, setting the scene for a forward focused show.

Just around the corner was the Future Thinking area showcasing emerging innovative materials and products from the latest Designers.

Future Thinking

The gravity stool by Jolan Van Der Weil particularly caught my attention with its exploration of the powers of magnetism and force, check out Jolan’s video showing his process using specially designed magnet machinery!  I also loved the unique, organic shape of The Haeckel bowl by Emerging Objects, made out of wood and salt using the latest in 3D printing technology.  Whilst Organoid Technology showed the latest in biodegradable technology that uses renewable natural fibres that can be sprayed and hardened into moulds for both small and large-scale architectural applications.

After spending quite some time exploring the Future Thinking area, Vicalvi Contract was my first stop.  They presented their latest ceramic tile collection, TEX, in a soft colour palette, offering high end floor and wall covering solutions.  They also showcased some of their latest printed ceramic tiles with updated geo and pixellated patterns.

Vicalvi Contract

There were lots of beautiful new decorative tiles on show, all displaying a more traditional styling combined with a geo mix.

Decorative Tiles

1 & 3: Armatile sample and flooring.  2: Refin Ceramiche – Frame Collection.  4: Ceramic Sample – Material lab.

After helping to set up and paint the University of Huddersfield stand last year, it was great to see the work the students were displaying for this year’s show, including some digitally printed carpet samples from a collaborative project with Ege Carpets.

Huddersfield Uni

Somerset College were another university at the show this year, I spent some time talking to the students about their exciting final year projects and ideas.  Of particular note was Lawrence Newman’s fun flock ceramic panels – they had a really tactile feel inspired by sea creatures, as well as Aimee Taylor’s eye catching mirrored origami structures.

Somerset college

Heliot & Co were a fresh new surface design brand exhibiting at the show this year with their new diffusion range brought together by the same team behind Giles Miller Studios.  They were showing some of their new surfaces of etched mirrors, embossed wood, leather panels, marquetry, and stacked wood – all offering a super high quality finish.  I loved the simplicity of their designs and am looking forward to seeing how the brand develops and inspires a new range of simple yet effective decorative surface finishes.  Do check out their new website for some further product examples.

HELIOT & CO1: Etched metal – Autumn.  2: Etched metal – Future clash.  3: Stacked wood – Rustic.  4: Wood – Cairo.  5: Wood – Scales.  6: Etched metal Image – Heliot & Co.

One of the themes I noticed at the show was the use of metal and mirrored surfaces.  Ecomac’s latest acoustic aluminum panels grabbed my attention, with both a decorative and functional purpose.  Saligo Design’s hand crafted antique mirror glass displayed an aged and rusted quality, showing the beauty of imperfection.

Metal Montage

1: Ali Cashen – Somerset college.  2: Crusted Metal wall tile – Philip Watts Design.  3: Bronze cork – Extravaganza range from Decolan.  4: Aluminum Acoustic Panels – Eomac UK.  5: Jenny Sinclair – Somerset college.

There were many more surfaces to enjoy at the show so to finish I’m leaving you with a few of my favourites… enjoy!

The Best of the Rest

1 & 3: Engineered Veneers – Eden Anglo French Ltd.  2: Grand Thistle design – Timorous Beasties translated into concrete by Graphic Relief.  3 & 9: Objects In Glass.  5: Interlam Architectural Wall Panel – from the Art Diffusion range.  6: Lucem light-transmitting Concrete panels.  7: Close up of Notarianni Glass.  8: Irradiance glass sample – Daedalian Glass Design.

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