Rise of mindful materials: Sustainable spots from this year’s Surface Design Show


The Surface Design Show, showcasing the latest innovative and sustainable materials for both interior and exterior surfaces, opened its doors on February 6th-8th at London's Business Design Centre. Spotlighting work from over 180 exhibitors spanning 17 different countries, this year’s event revolved around the theme of ‘Mindful Living’ and “the ambition to design while doing good” - as stated by the show’s Managing Director, Nickie West.

New techniques and processes are emerging due to the built environment’s ongoing ‘healthy’ obsession for design that compliments the natural world - increasingly so as we look for forms of escapism from digital’s ever-tightening grip on the human race. The show enabled full immersion in a world ruled by zero-waste manufacturing and sustainable alternatives, creating a truly multisensory experience that invited visitors to touch, feel, and interact with the exhibits.

From anti-carbon custom worktops to bespoke, hand-silvered antique mirrors, the Material Lab team looks back on some stand-out mindful materials to emerge from the show.

Smile Plastics debuts new Earth-inspired collection

Left: Half moon shaped plastic pieces in Slate and Yellow placed atop a wooden table. Right: green leaf print, layered with square shape of slate plastic, layered with pale green paper rectangle.

Photo credit: @smileplastics - Earth Collection

We’re no stranger to Smile Plastic’s commercially friendly (and carbon-friendly) anti-waste materials, having showcased previous collections in our Material Library. The company’s 30th anniversary saw the welcoming of a stunning New Earth collection which caught our eye. Perfectly aligning with the show's Mindful Living theme, the range pays homage to the intricate patterning found in solid natural matter, accompanied by a colour palette inspired by the Welsh countryside, waterways, hills, and caverns. Having worked on both commercial and residential projects, Smile Plastics are a go-to for incorporating a touch of biophilia into workspaces and hotels alike - all while helping businesses lower their interior carbon footprint. Definitely one to watch!

Relic’s 100% recycled plastic

Copy of Beige Minimalist Mood Photo Collage.jpg

Relic Plastic recycled sheet materials

Renowned as an award-winning, anti-waste micro manufacturer, Relic crafts custom worktops, backsplashes, or virtually anything their customers desire, using locally sourced, 100% recycled plastic. Each product is entirely unique, as the team measures, mixes, melts, injects and finishes every project by hand. The result is an eye-catching, mindful masterpiece produced in a wide variety of colours - from blushed pinks to rich, earthy greens. An ideal, sustainable solution for designers looking to bring instantaneous personality and character to any commercial space, making it a firm favourite of ours at the show.

One-of-a-kind antique mirror glass from Mirror by Design

Two types of multi-coloured antiqued glass in square shapes.

Antiqued and plain glass mirrors to suit all settings.

From lavish hotels to glittering restaurants, Mirror by Design is a small family business proving that luxurious interiors don’t have to cost the planet. Utilising traditional hand silvering methods that were first introduced in the 16th century, their artisan craftsmen have spent years perfecting their trade, allowing antique mirror glass to transform into something magnificent. Boasting an impressive client portfolio including the likes of Selfridges and Hilton’s Doubletree, their custom-made mirrors inject opulence and grandeur into any space they adorn, and the same goes for their shimmering Surface Design Show stand.

Sign-up to our mailing list to find out more about new and innovative surface materials stealing the spotlight in the interior and architecture world. Or drop-in to our studio on Great Titchfield Street to experience how the likes of Johnson Tiles, VADO, Abode and Tektura Wallcoverings can transform your design brief.

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