The Surface Design Show countdown is on

By Elspeth Pridham
January 29, 2020

From 11-13 February, the Surface Design Show 2020 returns to the Business Design Centre in North London.

One hundred and eighty exhibitors will be showcasing the latest innovative surface materials attracting exhibitors from the UK and abroad. This year’s theme is Close to Home, which looks beyond aesthetics to designing with a conscience.

The show’s New Talent section will be expanding for the 2020 event to support emerging creatives.

Curated by chief creative director at Trendease International , Jennifer Castoldi, all of those chosen to exhibit have been in business for five years or less. Compared to 16 exhibitors last year, 37 will be showcasing – among them Atticus Durnell, the man behind the That’s Caffeine brand, who has created a material made from recycled coffee grounds that imitates granite.

Launched six years ago, the Surface Design Show Awards also keep growing. Judged by some of the leading creatives in the industry, the 2020 edition had an impressive 107 entries from 13 different countries including India, Australia, China and the USA.

The awards recognise and celebrate the best use of innovative surface materials in architecture and design from across the globe. Among the finalists are Chris Dyson Architects, Wilkinson Eyre and Steven Holl Architects.

The winners will be announced during the show on the morning of Thursday 13 February.

Highlights to look out for

This year’s opening night debate is once again supported by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and features the winner and two finalists from the RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist 2019.

Taking place on Tuesday 11 February, the talk will discuss Climate Emergency: Three winning ways to make a project sustainable, and will be chaired by Eleanor Young, executive editor of RIBA Journal.

Surface Spotlight Live returns for another outing this year – located at the centre of the show, it is curated by trend expert Sally Angharad and forecasters Colour Hive.

The theme will look 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.

Designing with a conscience will also be examined, from reusing waste materials to looking at what happens at the end of a product’s life cycle.

There will be a number of home-grown products on display including textiles from the North of England from exhibitors such as New Talent’s The Monkey Puzzle Tree and porcelain in the Midlands from H+E Smith.