Surface Design Show

The Surface Design Show makes a comeback this February, and FX brings you this exclusive sneak peek

Words By Emily Martin

Familiar brands: Part of the exhibition line up will see returns from Armourcoat, renowned for its polished plaster, sculptural effects and innovative surface finishes; Textura specialists in contract wall coverings, and Surface Matter, which connects architectural materials with creatives for interior and exterior design projects. For Tile of Spain’s 2023 stand, expect an eclectic collection of products from 12 manufacturers from small formats and mosaics to 3D surfaces and technical slabs.

New Talent: Supporting emerging material designers has always been important to Surface Design Show. That is why the New Talent section will, for the fourth year in a row, be held in partnership with Trendease International. Its chief creative director, Jennifer Castoldi, will be curating over 30 ‘New Talents’ this year. The section will inspire and excite visitors with the ‘class of ‘23’, showcasing a fascinating mix of biomaterials, natural materials, digital print, textiles, furniture, wallcovering, weaving and biopolymers. This forthcoming edition will be the most international yet with new talents coming from as far afield as Sweden, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Malaysia, Korea and China and will give them the opportunity to learn from each other and to connect for a better future.

Surface Spotlight Live: Located in the heart of the exhibition will be Surface Spotlight Live (SSL), an area which gives visitors a chance to touch and compare the latest material prototypes. Centred around this year’s theme, ‘Shaping Communities’, SSL will highlight the importance of new exchanges between surfaces, people and environments. From material transformation to inclusive design, co-creation to sensory wellbeing, SSL will present designs creating thoughtful solutions for interiors and architecture. This section of the show will again be curated by leading trend and colour expert, Sally Angharad.

Stone Gallery: This section showcases the possibilities with one of the most sought-after materials and is supported by Stone Federation Great Britain, whose Knowledge Hub forms a focal point for its member companies. Stone Tapestry, meanwhile, is an installation curated by leading London-based architectural practice Squire & Partners, which explores innovative textures, light, colour and pattern to create a tapestry of inspiring materials from around the world.

Talks: The talks programme is always a particular highlight of Surface Design Show. The Main Stage, designed by Emily Skinner of recycling pioneers Smile Plastics, will host 18 different presentations and feature more than 40 speakers, inspiring a professional audience of architects and designers.

Opening Night Debate: Setting the tone for the live events programme, this year’s Opening Night Debate is hosted by Jonathan Smales, executive chairman with Human Nature, a leading proponent of sustainable development. The debate, which has CDUK as the official partner, will question how architecture and interior design professionals are dealing with the show’s ‘Shaping Communities’ theme.

Main Stage: The Main Stage will host a range of debates, panels, trend forecasts and insights into the latest surface design innovations. It will also be the venue for the Legends Live series of ‘in conversations’, where industry leaders interview someone they admire.

PechaKucha: The PechaKucha evening also returns for 2023 having previously been an entertaining talking point of Surface Design Show. This fast and furious speaking format sees eight speakers battling to get their message across, presenting 20 slides for just 20 seconds each. The evening will be hosted by Nicola Osborn, creative director of design studio Basha-Franklin.

Surface Design Awards: Now in its 11th year, the Surface Design Awards continue to set a benchmark for architectural and design achievements across the world. This year, the Awards’ judging panel is co-chaired by Jonathan Hagos, director of architects studio Freehaus, and Nasim Koerting, head of design at The Office Group, and features a diverse mix of industry professionals who have made a name for themselves amongst their peers. More than 110 projects have been entered into the 2023 Surface Design Awards with the finalists detailed below. The winners for each category, as well as the supreme winner, will be announced during Surface Design Show at London’s Business Design Centre on Thursday 9 February.



SIBU Design create ambience. With an art of laminating, SIBU Design unite beauty and function by combining a rage of different materials. Always being customer-oriented and flexible, they manufacture design elements of outstanding quality and thus ensure unique spatial experiences. Anticipating upcoming trends and incorporating them into product development, SIBU Design combine these trends with functional properties to meet their customers’ technical as well as visual requirements.

The Nature-Line is made from sustainable materials from a controlled origin are combined with a modern design. Due to the generous product format, large surfaces can be designed quickly, easily and dirt-free. Resulting in homogeneous and joint-free walls that are not only visually attractive, but also environmentally friendly.


Combining traditional craft, maximalist design and emotional design, Yejoong Choi wants to present a new view on traditional aesthetics using his maximalist views whilst adhering to the principles of modernism. Choi’s aim was to create furniture that is simple and inexpensive to construct, whilst simultaneously putting forward a new approach to aesthetics.

The project is called ‘Kkoch-Galam’ meaning ‘a river with flowers’. The project brings a new life to traditional Korean crafts. The collection is inspired by the seasons with each chair being named after each season. The patterned shell inlay on each seat represents flower blossoms, typical of each season, falling on the water’s surface.


Smile Plastics take waste plastics and other materials that are traditionally classed as waste and transform them through their unique processes to create large-scale, solid surface panels. With a tendency to focus on single-use plastic packaging and other landfill materials, Smile Plastics disrupt the unsustainable industrial ecosystems that have become the norm whereby finite and useful materials have very short, single lives. Smile Plastics new material ‘Heron’ is layered with feathery soft grey tones, a smattering of yellow hues, warm ochre flecks, and black and blizzard white. The heron panel was created from the staple kitchen fixtures that we use every day. Would-be discarded white goods make up the foundations of the Heron mix, bringing a unique aesthetic and colour palette that is less reminiscent of its original material make-up, and more like the appearance of the statuesque bird after which it was named.


Designer Walls is dedicated to offering interior decorative wall panels with surface texture beyond imagination. They off er innovative wall panel solutions from exclusive European designers and manufacturers who use the finest materials known in the industry. Using natural products with modern twists to suit today’s designs and architectural requirements, with a healthy appetite for recycled products.

The 3D Wood Wall Panels by Form At Wood, are luxurious, easy to install 3D wooden oak, ash and walnut panel shapes. Made from the highest quality wood from European sustainable forestry from the eco-conscious team behind Form At Wood, each panel type is the same measurements, allowing you to combine several of the Form At Wood shapes together, regardless of the panel shape. Thanks to the 3D shapes used, the panels improve the acoustics of interiors due to the sound-dispersing properties.


Since 1978, Kerrock have been growing and relying on their knowledge and experience, which positions them to be one of the leading manufacturers of bathroom equipment in Central and South-East Europe. Innovation, boldness, modernity and top quality are the main strengths that build the international reputation of the company Kolpa, d.o.o. Metlika and are the trademark of their brands – the Kolpasan high-end bathroom equipment and the innovative solid surface material programme Kerrock, which satisfies even the most demanding clients.

Kerrock has created a special design of washbasins, whose soft lines form the appearance of timeless elegance and gives a stunning look to any bathroom. The washbasins are environmentally and health friendly.


Rehau has been driven by ambition to enhance the lives of people by developing innovative polymer-based solutions that continue to redefine what is possible in construction, automotive and industry. With in-depth knowledge of materials and extensive experience in technologies and manufacturing processes, Rehau meet individual needs with customised solutions. Their tailor-made polymer products make life better in countless ways.

The Rauvisio crystal glass laminate is opening fresh interior design possibilities. The colour scheme offers designers around the world unique opportunities to design furniture and interiors, as well as reinventing plain surfaces by adding an exciting and vibrant component. Drawing inspiration from the bottomless depths of the ocean, the collection brings furniture to life. Depending on the light hitting the surface, the beauty of the deep gloss comes into its own, immersing the room in a unique mood.

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