Editor’s pick: 7 surface design looks that made a statement in 2023

Hamish Kilburn, Editor of Hotel Designs, runs through some of the statement surface design looks in 2023 that raised the ceiling of creativity in hotel design…

room set with curved grey couch and round table and chair with Arte Kharga wallcovering behind

The surface designs that resonated loudest in 2023 were able to the tell a story and capture a scene through design, over following colour and pattern trends. These narratives were vivid, clear and mesmerising. While some manufactures focused on fantasy worlds, others put raw manufacturing and materiality into the spotlight to allow designs to sink, ethically speaking, deeper. This is what we have gathered and concluded after bearing witness to the plethora of surface design innovations that launched in 2023.

To help understand just how varied this year’s surface design looks here, here is our editor’s pick of seven surface designs that impressed us in 2023.

Stone Tapestry, designed by Stone Federation and Squire & Partners

visitors at Surface Design Show exploring the Stone Tapestry

Image credit: James Balston

Squire & Partners was invited by collaborators Stone Federation for the third year running to design an explorative natural stone showcase, which sits at the centre of the show’s Stone Gallery. In line with the Surface Design Show’s theme of ‘shaping communities’, this year the installation focussed on exploring some of the natural stones that have helped shape and create towns and cities across the UK and Europe. The design of the installation gave visitors a unique opportunity to explore the materials and be inspired to utilise the sustainable and aesthetic benefits of using natural stone.

Marvel Trevertine, designed by Atlas Concorde and HBA

Atlas Concorde Marvel Travertine in bathroom setting

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Earlier this year, Atlas Concorde and design studio HBA unveiled the labour of their recent collaboration in the development of the Marvel Travertine collection, a project of excellent ceramic surfaces accompanied by an exclusive proposal of textures and geometric patterns designed by HBA.

The partnership has been established on shared values and commonality of the corporate cultures of Atlas Concorde and HBA: more than 50 years of experience, international vocation, focus on innovation, trends, and environmental issues.

Ethical Stone Terrazzo by Parkside

Terrazzo samples from Parkside

Image credit: Parkside

In a process that sees stone waste collected from factories or sites across the UK and turned into new premium floor tiles, Ethical Stone Terrazzo is a British made terrazzo that supports UK industry in producing low carbon materials. Available through Parkside, it can transform commercial interiors with an unmistakable terrazzo floor that offers significantly lower CO2 emissions.

Emery Walker’s House from Morris & Co.

close up of a corner of an upholstered headboard in morris & Co pattern with leaves and birds in blue

Image credit: Sanderson Design Group

Recognising the loving and creative relationship between the families of William Morris and Sir Emery Walker, the collection offers something fresh and reawakened for every lover of interiors. With one of the highest numbers of new and re-introduced Morris & Co. designs of any collection this century, this release marks a moment to be celebrated by William Morris fans across the world. Every measure has been taken to maintain the high craft standards first established by William Morris, with hand-finished touches along with the highest standard of woven and printed qualities. Where designs reference those in Emery Walker’s House, the original colourway is usually offered.

Rusticork from Granorte

close up of cork panels with rough bark texture from Granorte

Image credit: Granorte

When we covered this launch, we called it ‘statement sustainability’ – and here’s why. The Rusticork collection of panels by Granorte create natural, bold and beautiful walls that come directly from the renewable bark of cork trees. Available in a range of striking decorative effects, all remaining true to the natural textures of cork bark, it creates a unique wall finish.

Granorte has used pigment dyes to bring even more creativity to the collection, enhancing striking textures in colours such as bluemoon, black, ash grey, terracotta and warm white, as well as natural bark. The panel is made from pieces of raw cork bark – faced to an agglomerated cork backing for Sandstone and Bark textures – for a product that’s natural and renewable, as well as close to original.

Editor’s choice: Kharga from Arte

striped grey and brown tones of illustrated dunes with palm trees in the Arte Zerzura wallcovering in the Kharga collection

Image caption: Zerzura | Image credit: Arte

There was, arguably, no greater example of ‘art outside the frame’ than the Kharga collection from Arte, which launched at the very start of the year, and certainly set a creative tone. The Kharga oasis was an important stop on the ancient trade route that connected various different oases in Egypt. In this collection, Arte traverses the terrain of the Sahara, bringing every aspect of the desert to life, from the dazzling afternoon sun to the star-studded sky at night and from the shapes of the dunes to the fine structure of desert sand. Even the details and materials used in the traditional carpets and robes of nomads are featured. In short, this collection is highly reminiscent of the mysterious desert life.

Hive by UNILIN Panels

Samples from UNILIN Panels

Image credit: UNILIN Panels

Hive from UNILIN Panels is the striking 3D decorative surface panel made with 90 per cent post-consumer wood. The product is made with UNILIN Evola-Belspan 100 per cent recovered chipboard. This is made entirely from recycled wood, with 92 per cent coming from locally sourced post-consumer materials including old furniture. The remaining eight per cent is wood waste produced by activities like roadside maintenance, sawmills and forest management that’s considered no longer usable by other industries. UNILIN has found a way to give a new life to this wood and making chipboard this way saves more than 900,00 tonnes of wood from incineration every year.

Arte, Sanderson Design Group, Parkside and Atlas Concorde are Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte