Surface Design Show 2018: Highlights
Held in London (February 6-8), the Surface Design Show spotlights the latest developments in laminates, conglomerates, textures and finishes across a vast array of materials from Europe’s most innovative manufacturers.
Among international heavyweights such as Finsa were many smaller brands, including start-ups, offering more experimental decorative surfaces with less-defined applications.
Here, we highlight some of the most interesting developments to emerge at the 2018 edition.
- Repurposed Waste: A number of products presented at the show focused on repurposed waste material, with an eclectic mix of waste sources being translated into new surfaces.
British design studio Lucentia Design showed its Shimmer polycarbonate rigid sheeting, made from recycled car headlights. The material has a metallised silver colouring due to the metallic skin on the inside of headlight units.
The Surface Spotlight Live stand offered a collection of advanced and inspiring materials curated by international trade platform Treniq. These included Chinese studio Bentu Design’s 3D tiles that combine demolition leftovers and ceramic waste with concrete to form smooth-finished wall tiles.
Other reimagined waste materials included glass bottles, coffee, paper and yoghurt pots, transformed into a range of surface ideas.
- Experimental Aggregates: As noted at London Design Week 2017, the trend for conglomerates and terrazzo-inspired materials continues with designers experimenting with aggregates and substrates in a variety of scales, materials and colours, offering individuality and surface intrigue.
British studio Solomon & Wu showcased Foresso, a wooden terrazzo material made using chips and curls of timber set in a colour-tinted resin binder. The latest collection includes chips of walnut and pale sycamore in a dusky pink binder and shards of oak in a deep green binder.
Dutch designer Marjolein Stappers showed Oesterplat on the Surface Spotlight Live stand. The engineered composite combines marble and concrete with oyster shells. Meanwhile, Italian company Mogu S.r.l presented its mycelium and hemp composite. Fungal mycelium acts as the binder and hemp hurds are used as an aggregate.
- Dynamic Colour Applications: New surface finishes and unique colour applications influenced by process or material qualities resulted in a number of exciting material products.
London-based Silo Studio showed its dyed marble with a lively application of colour that uses the material’s porosity to draw the pigment in. German designer Meike Harde’s dyed wooden surfaces feature subtle nuances and gradients of colour, achieved through a process that uses the movement of colour pigments in water to create uniquely coloured surfaces on a mass-produced scale.
UK brand Alusid, highlighted at last year’s event, showcased a series of new glaze options on its recycled waste material Silicastone, adding a tactile, high-shine quality to the surface. Meanwhile, Portuguese ceramics company Skuare79 launched a selection of striking titanium coated ceramic tiles.
- Organic Pattern: Scottish start-up Mirrl launched its eponymous artisanal material at the show. The solid surface is made up of layers of different-coloured resins on a birch plywood substrate, resulting in an all-over, organic pattern reminiscent of lichen.
The technique is inspired by Japanese lacquerware, and the opacity and translucency of each colour layer can be controlled to create bespoke options. Suitable for both interior and exterior use, Mirrl can be used for worktops, bathroom surfaces and exterior wall cladding.
Austrian company Organoid presented its range of pressed organic decorative surfaces. Raw, natural materials such as hay, lavender and seed husks are mixed with an ecological binding agent and then pressed into a thin surface sheet. Leaves and flowers create decorative patterns on the surface that are complemented by the raw material’s natural smell. Natural scent is a fresh approach to bringing biophilic design into our built environments. See Living Spaces in our 2018: Colour & Materials Look Ahead for more.