Surface Design Show 2023 took place at the Business Design Centre in February, with the overwhelming response from both visitors and exhibitors being: ‘It’s never been better!’

Some 175 exhibitors showcased the best in surface design, with over half of them being new to the show. Nearly 6000 architects, designers and specifiers visited over the two-and a-half days to be inspired by the innovative materials on display and the excellent speaker’s programme.

The overriding theme of the show was ‘Shaping Communities’, which explored an open dialogue amongst industries and brands, with the common goal of building stronger relationships between people and places.

“A brilliant variety of materials, SDS is always a great show to spot trends and to see how they are evolving” Hamish Kilburn editor of Hotel Designs

Located right in the centre of the Show, Surface Spotlight Live (SSL) featured ground-breaking materials for visitors to touch and feel, giving a truly ‘hands-on’ experience for architects and designers to enjoy and learn from. Curated by trend expert Sally Angharad and sponsored by CDUK, SSL presented a selection of surfaces, finishes and materials that celebrated the power of creative thinking, demonstrating how ethical innovation is providing positive design solutions.

“It has been a very good year for the show, creating a good opportunity to meet key players in the industry and for them to get to know our product” Armourcoat

The show had an incredible speaker’s programme, kicking off with the Opening Night Debate held in partnership with RIBA, titled ‘Climate Change and Future Proofing’ which featured a stellar line up of industry experts. The passionate session, hosted by Simon Sturgis, Founder of Targeting Zero, brought together a younger generation of architects, designers and clients. They not only explored the issues around the future durability and adaptability of current projects, but also how to ensure that the commercial value of projects can be future proofed against climate change.

Other talks included:

  • Sourcing Locally, hosted by Veronica Simpson, in conversation with Camilla Leech, Richard Renman, and Emily Skinner.
  • The PechaKucha included an all-female panel and was hosted by Nikki Osborn, creative director of Basha Franklin, with panellists including Oluwafunmbi Adeagbo, project architect of Morris & co, Natasha Bonugli, creative director and founder of Bon Collective, Nicola Rutt, founding director of Studio MULTI and Sofia Steffenoni, founder of Matter of Stuff.
  • Legends Live returned for the second year, in partnership with Mix Interiors and saw editor Harry McKinley interview Katrina Larkin, Co-Founder, Fora and Chief ESG Officer, The Office Group.

“It’s been consistently busy other every day this year, which is just amazing, and it’s great to see things back on track again post Covid” Jennifer Castoldi curator of New Talent.

Committed to supporting and promoting up and coming designers in the materials sector, the New Talent area was bursting with innovation. Sponsored by Canon UK and curated by Jennifer Castoldi, the 2023 New Talent section saw over 30 participants display a range of sophisticated designs from textile designs to augmented reality and 3D tiles. A recurring theme among many participants this year was the use of natural materials and dyes.

“I’ve really enjoyed the show, with great exposure and lots of feedback. It’s been busy with a wide range of people, an inspiring place” – Lara Pain New Talent

Winners of the 2023 Surface Design Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony on the last day of the Show. This year the judges were blown away by the quality of this year’s entries, which led to a Surface Design Show first with the decision to crown not one but two entries as the Supreme Winners: Glade of Light by BCA Landscape, won the Landscape & Public Realm category and the Winner of the Commercial Building Exterior category was MONC by Nina + Co with Smile Plastics.

Surface Design Show 2024 will return to the Business Design Centre 8-10th February.