Surface Design Show will once again be bringing the best in surface material innovation to London’s
Business Design Centre from 11-13 February 2020, with a focus on the trending topic of ‘Close to
Now in its fifteenth year, the show is a must-visit for architects, designers and specifiers looking for
material inspiration from the UK and around the world. As well as over 170 exhibitors, visitors can
also enjoy a packed programme of talks, plus the ever-popular Opening Night Debate supported this
year by the RIBA and the lively PechaKucha evening, which will be hosted by Chris Dyson of Chris
Dyson Architects, with speakers including: Daniel Campbell, director at Stiff + Trevillion Architects;
Luke Tozer, director at Pitman Tozer Architects; Joe Morris, founding director of Morris+Company;
Richard Wilson RA, a renowned sculptor internationally celebrated for his interventions in
architectural space; Jerry Tate, partner at Tate Harmer; Faye Davies, principal at Burrell Foley
Fischer; and Stella Ioannou, director of Lacuna.
The ‘Close to Home’ theme will look beyond aesthetics and into manufacturers’ impact on the
environment, from the processes used in mining or manufacture, through to the carbon footprint
sustained during sales and distribution. Designing with a conscience will also be examined, from
reusing waste materials to looking at what happens at the end of a product’s life cycle.
Returning exhibitors to the 2020 Surface Design Show include market-leading finishes specialist
Armourcoat, family-run tile firm BluePrint Ceramics, Innerspace Cheshire, which connects designers
with a wide range of design-led materials, James Latham, distributor of timber and wood based
panel products to the UK and Tile of Spain, a Spanish tile company encompassing more than 100 tile
manufacturers. Among the new exhibitors joining this edition of the show are British art studio Aster
Muro, which produces stunning contemporary frescoes, solid surface supplier KULA and Croatian
decorative glass producer Bokart, reflecting the global appeal of the exhibition.
Surface Spotlight Live is a section of the show which is wholly focused on the ‘Close to Home’
theme. Curated by trend expert Sally Angharad and forecasters Colour Hive the exhibit will take a
look at what the future holds for materials. Stone Gallery also returns for 2020 accompanied by the
Stone Knowledge Hub, supported by the leading industry body Stone Federation GB, which will form
a focal point for the event where architects and designers can interact with, and learn more about,
specifying natural stone.
In addition to materials for indoor and outdoor use, Light School is key component of the show,
reflecting the fact that London is the world’s capital for lighting design specification. Here, leading
manufacturers will demonstrate the relationship between light and surfaces, as well as showcasing
the latest architectural lighting products and innovations in lighting technology. Light Talks, a series
of sessions supported by the Institution of Lighting Professionals and collated by Rebecca Weir from
Lightbout.IQ will underpin this knowledge sharing.
Surface Design Show 2020 will host approximately 30 presentations from 50 speakers across the
purpose-built stages: Light Talks, Stone Knowledge Hub and Main Stage. The talk topics include
‘Materials Edit – a dedicated materials installation featuring one-of-a-kind inspirational objects and
materials’, presented by Hannah Malein, creative director of Colour Hive and head of trends for MIX
Magazine on Tuesday 11 February from 12:45-1:30pm. Touching on the show’s theme of ‘Close to
Home’, which addresses the current climate emergency debate in the context of the surface and
materials sector, for both UK and international markets, Jo Roan, associate strategy director at
PriestmanGoode talks ‘Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink’ on the Main Stage on from 1:45-
2:30pm on the 11 February.
As well as established brands, Surface Design Show is dedicated to supporting promoting up-and-
coming designers in the materials sector with its New Talent section appearing once again, curated
by internationally acclaimed speaker and forward-thinking chief creative director at Trendease
International Jennifer Castoldi. The New Talent area allows designers, who have been in the industry
five years or less, to have a devoted exhibition area, giving them the opportunity to showcase to and
engage face-to-face with a hard-to-reach and targeted audience . The 45 exhibitors here include
That’s Caffeine, a start-up that creates products from waste coffee grounds and knitted textile
specialist Charlotte Clayton. Appearing for the first time is New Talent Plus, a section of the show
that bridges the gap between emerging material talent and existing manufacturers.
The Surface Design Awards, now in their sixth year, are an intrinsic part of the show, with this year’s
edition attracting 107 entries from over 21 countries. The judging panel is co-chaired by Paul
Priestman, designer, co-founder and chairman of global design consultancy PriestmanGoode, and
Amin Taha, chairman of Groupwork and director of Amin Taha Architects. The remaining judges are
Nikki Barton, head of digital design at British Airways; Sean Griffiths, artist, architect and academic
practicing at Modern Architect; Charles Holland, principal at Charles Holland Architects; Glenn
Johnson, director of design at the Advanced Design Group of Collins Aerospace; Daniel Mota Veiga,
global head of product design for KEF / GP Acoustics; and Steve Webb, co-founder of Webb Yates
Engineers. The winners will be revealed during a breakfast reception on 13 February at Surface
For all things innovative in surfaces and materials, Surface Design Show provides the perfect
platform for architects, designers and specifiers to explore.
Tickets are free to professional and trade visitors. Registration opens in November.