The doors have closed on another year’s instalment of the Surface Design Show, and we’re back from London with bags of inspiration.
Long anticipated, last week’s show was met with open arms by an industry starved of physical event attendance since 2019. As such, a strong sense of community was felt amongst attendees, in addition to the presence of two years’ worth of newly graduated talent providing dynamic innovation at every turn.
We were extremely proud to present the results of two years’ work in the form of our Smile Plastics installation (originally made for SDS21), aiming to change peoples’ perceptions of plastic. Having fully immersed ourselves in the show over a three-day period, we’re now keen to share our top trend spots – sure to inspire your upcoming projects. Without further ado…
Waste not: Transformative materials
As the saying goes, “waste not, want not”, and at the Surface Design Show, this sentiment certainly rang true.
From Blast Studio’s lamp shades 3D printed using London’s waste, to Attua Aparicio’s Glass and Ceramics Square - an ongoing experiment exploring how to combine waste borosilicate glass into ceramics, and Nature Squared’s CArrele Collection, comprising high-performance tiles made from eggshell waste diverted from landfill. The inventive transformation of what is largely considered “waste” was rife.
Emily Hatton Surface Design also stood out for her colourful, Abstract Waste Series – a collection of 3D tiles made with organic household and industrial waste materials.
Au naturel: Biomaterials
In addition to the transformation of would-be waste, was the reimagination of bio-based materials. Especially evident at the Colour Hive x MIX Magazine pop-up, Surface Spotlight Live – curated by Sally Angharad – and New Talent.
Highlights included Architextural’s Organoid surfaces, Johanna Hehemeyer-Curten’s SONNET155 project – a fully biodegradable material, Helena Eston Studio, COAT’s climate positive paint and The Colour Flooring Company’s Corka – a carbon negative flooring solution.
Story block: Narrative in pattern
Storytelling plays an extremely important role in our work, and so we were buoyed by the plethora of other designers also placing emphasis on communicating their product narratives visually.
We particularly liked Wonder Wall Studios, Quirk & Rescue, The Monkey Puzzle Tree, Nathalie Nijk, Emese Barna and Parametric Walls, who all – in varying degrees of statement – told the story of how their material came to fruition through pattern, colour and texture.
Glow up: Translucent surfaces
A prevalent theme at the show was translucent surfaces – a trend we’re no stranger to ourselves (see our new Spectra range).
Exhibitors such as Daedalian Glass Studios and Andra Munro Design offered products that were delicate and ethereal yet commercial and versatile. Ranging from textured glass to paper-thin porcelain, and our own recycled plastic with flecks of the surface’s previous life, this trend perhaps felt the most reflective of the past two years with surfaces providing gentle clarity amidst an otherwise chaotic world.
Stay tuned to the blog for more highlights from the Surface Design Show as part of our Plastics Unpackaged series, where we’ll be sharing insight from our Materials Matter talk with Smile Directors, Adam and Rosalie, Emily Skinner of Evan James Design and Paul de Zwart of Another Country – hosted by Roddy Clarke.