Surface Design Show: Material Directions


This week, the Surface Design Show takes over Islington's Business Design Centre. As its title suggests, the exhibition is a showcase for manufacturers and designers to share their latest surface materials, as well as an opportunity to hear about material and colour trends from a selection of industry experts.

Trend forecaster and design writer Sally Angharad has shared her annual insights into material directions for 2019 and beyond, with a specially curated exhibition and lecture. Recognising five key trends, Surface Spotlight offers an array of materials and colour palettes to consider for the years to come.

MOGU Home Soft Acoustic absorption ©MOGU.jpg

Mogu - Home Soft Acoustic absorption

The first, Mindful Matters, is one that we share a very current interest in. Picking up on ideas relating to our theme Reuse/Relife, this trend pinpoints sustainable design and conscious practice as the core driver for makers and consumers alike.

It highlights the notion that adapting manufacturing methods towards a circular economy, and with it creating ethical alternatives to materials made with harmful substances and processes, will create a new form of luxury. New material developments from the likes of D’Werk Plaats, Roxanne Lahidji and Mogu, bring with them contemporary fossils, organic textures and embedded detail, whilst the colour palette consists of warm neutrals and organic shades.

D'werk Plaats.jpg

D'Werk Plaats - Oesterplat

Roxane Lahidji.jpg

Roxane Lahidji - Marbled Salts

Surface relief and three-dimensional forms are at the heart of Shape Shifter, a trend for interlocking forms that create light and shadow across surface coverings.

Modularity allows for customisation, as demonstrated by the new cork version of Giles Miller Studio’s Alexander tile. Geometrics are an inherent feature and allow endless variation of pattern and form, as highlighted by Bentu’s concrete San tile. Such variations of form also allow for unexpected material combinations, like the pairing of stone and wood in Stac Architecture’s Stacile range.

STAC TILE_5599.jpg

Stay Architecture - Stactile


Giles Miller Studio - Alexander Tile


Bentu - San

Shifts in perspective and visual depth are central within the trend In the detail, but the intricacies of these designs are flat rather than three-dimensional. Marquetry, veneers and metal inlays are common in this trend and are generally highly crafted as expressed in the work of Winter & Kurth and Fay McCaul. Whilst there is space for bold red and rich claret shades, the palette has a healthy mix of rich neutrals, all of which can be deployed in subtle monotone contrasts.

Fay McCaul-Decorex-9596_preview.jpeg

Fay McCaul - Tashkeel Tile


Winter & Kurth

Chaos and Order offers the chance for playful experimentation, where materials and colours have the opportunity to overlap, crossover and mix, creating exciting new possibilities.

The colour palette verges on primary, the perfect basis with which to make bright, bold and joyous colour statements such as the dyed plywood surfaces by Studio Meike Harde and dyed marble from Silo Studio.

Where the fluidity of colour gradients isn’t deployed, overlaid splashes of colour are. Arturo’s vibrantly speckled flooring range Arturo Flakes screams of the references to terrazzo that we’ve been seeing pop up everywhere over the last year. Whereas in textiles, colours and blended by mixing different coloured yarns within weave patterns, as presented by the Anker Flooro and Camira Fabrics Wired collections.


Silo Studio


Studio Meike Harde




Anker - Flooro

Patternation is present once again in Natural Pattern, but as the title suggests, in this trend it is inspired by nature. Although, as well as pattern, shape is also informed by natural forms and materials often come directly with the source. Examples of curved timber from Plexwood and Danzer stand out, whilst the remaining colour palette focuses on the familiar and comforting qualities of green.

a2-plexwood-panel-acoustic-wool-felt-flexible-ceiling-wall-furniture-special 72.jpg


Woodon walnut separeted_72dpi.jpg


The Surface Design Show is open Wednesday 7 February 11.00-21.00 and Thursday 8 February 11.00-17.00.