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  • Biophilic design highlights of Surface Design Show 2020

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    Biophilic design highlights of Surface Design Show 2020

    More than 170 exhibitors showcased the latest in surface design, with nearly 5,000 architects, designers and specifiers visiting Business Design Centre over the packed 2 ½ days of Surface Design Show 2020… 

    Surface Design Show 2020, which took place at London’s Business Design Centre from the February 11 – 13, sheltered more surface material and architectural lighting designs than ever before.

    With a focus on the trending topic of ‘Close to Home… Locally Sourced’, the show looked beyond aesthetics and into manufacturer’s impact on the environment, from the processes used in mining or manufacture, through to the carbon footprint sustained during sales and distribution.

    Standout exhibitors at the show included InnerSpace Cheshire, which launched a new surface product that combined natural materials, such as cork, to create an authentic biophilic connection between nature and the built environment. Smile Plastics, meanwhile, showcased its ability to create exquisite hand-crafted panels from varied waste-streams. Following being specified by Harris + Harris London for the Conscious Bedroom that was unveiled at the Independent Hotel Show London, the innovative company was a first-time exhibitor at the Surface Design Show. The company uses typically non-recyclable materials with a sustainable approach resulting in a textured layer of consciously design, contemporary surfaces.

    Monohrome table with flowers on

    Image credit: Smile Plastic

    Over the course of show there was a full schedule of insightful and entertaining discussions and talks. Biophilic materials and surfaces was a dominant discussion during the event. TEDx speaker Simon Gosling and sustainable architectural and interior designer Oliver Heath were among the professionals to put the topic under the spotlight. In an insightful panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a live discussion on the main stage entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design. Joining Kilburn on the sofa was Jeremy Grove (head of design and director, Sibley Grove), Richard Holland (director, Holland Harvey Architects) and Fraser Lockley (architectural consultancy manager, Parkside Architectural Tiles).

    Co-located within Surface Design Show was the ever-popular Light School which educated visitors of the importance of the relationship between light and surface by bringing together leading manufacturers and suppliers with architects and designers looking to specify their products. A highlight of Light School was its stand out seminar programme – Light Talks; a series of sessions collated by the Institution of Lighting Professionals. The new Light Talks theatre was designed by Rebecca Weir’s Lightbout.iQ. The design featured a range of surface materials creatively lit to emphasise the essential link between light and materials.

    As well as established brands, Surface Design Show is committed to supporting and promoting up-and-coming designers in the materials sector with its New Talent section which was expanded for 2020. Curated by chief creative director at Trendease International Jennifer Castoldi, the New Talent area allowed designers, who have been in the industry five years or less, to have a devoted exhibition area, giving them the opportunity to showcase and engage face to face with a hard to reach and targeted audience.

    Red foldable material made into a chair

    Image credit: Trifold, designed by Hannah Davis

    Among the 32 New Talents was Trifold. The flexible furniture system that comprises of building blocks which make flexible working environments achievable, was a meaningful addition to the show. Designed with modern lifestyles – and ever-changing spaces such as lobbies – in mind, the on-demand system allows for flexibility. The sheet can be folded and manipulated into countless forms, the only limit being your imagination.

    “Exhibiting at New Talent has given me great networking opportunities.” – Hannah Davis, creator of Trifold

    The new product, which is the brainchild of Hannah Davis went on to win the New Talent Award at the Surface Design Awards. “Exhibiting at New Talent has given me great networking opportunities,” the designer explained. “I have engaged in many discussions regarding the Trifold system as well as the world of design with a range of industry experts. This has allowed me to expand my contact catalogue and explore new ways of thinking that I had not previously considered. I have made contacts with fellow exhibitors considering collaborations, which is truly valuable.”

    Launched six years ago the Surface Design Awards has become an integral part of the show, growing in stature to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm. The 2020 Awards had more than 100 entries from 12 countries including as far afield as America, India and Australia. There were 14 categories in total, from Retail and Public Building to Commercial Projects and Housing, including new categories Public Realm and Affordable Housing. The entries comprised the best in architecture and design from across the globe; Giles Miller Studio, Mikhail Riches and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Steven Holl Architects from the USA, and Kris Lin International Design from China were among those shortlisted.

    The impressive Krushi Bhawan from Bhubaneswa, India by Studio Lotus was named the Supreme Winner, as well as winning the Public Building Interior and Public Building Exterior categories. Capturing the admiration of all the judges Krushi Bhawan is a testament to design, created for the Odisha State Government’s Agriculture Department in India. The centre incorporates an eye-catching façade drawn from vernacular materials and narratives, which responds to the local climate and offers a glimpse into the region’s agricultural folklore and mythology, which has been envisioned at an unprecedented architectural scale.

     Surface Design Show 2021 will take place from 9-11 February 2021 at Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH

    Main image credit: Surface Design Show/InnerSpace

    Hamish Kilburn / 24.02.2020

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