Surface Design Show preview: the speakers programme unveiled

Attendees at Surface Design Show 2024 will be spoilt for choice, with over 20 talks that delve into sustainability, trend predictions and the careers of some Industry Legends…

speakers on the main stage at surface Design Show

With  Surface Design Show preparing to open its doors to London’s Business Design Centre, it is thrilled to announce its stellar speaker’s programme for the upcoming edition. Featuring a diverse range of topics and industry experts, the 2024 programme promises to engage and inspire.

opening night on the main stage of surface Design Show 2023

Image credit: Surface Design Show

The programme will be held on the Main Stage sponsored by Smile Plastics and consists of an exciting line-up of 20 presentations from 61 speakers, including architects, designers, manufacturers and journalists. For the first time the main stage will be featured on the gallery level and will showcase furniture supplied by Nowystyl, creating a casual, stylish and welcoming atmosphere. This year’s show theme, Mindful Living plays a pivotal role in the topic areas for the discussions and is reflected throughout the show.

Also on the gallery level will be the Designers Hub where guests can enjoy refreshments and relax before the talks in a beautifully curated space designed by Interior Design studio Kibre, using furniture from luxe Italian company Arper and with lighting from Zena Holloway whose bio designed lights Roots are also shortlisted for a Surface Design Show Award.

discussion on sustainable design at Surface Design Show

Image credit: Surface Design Show

Kicking off the Speakers Programme will be the Opening Night Debate, on Human Capital, Risk, and Retention. Freelance writer, editor and speaker Louis Wustemann will lead a discussion joined by panellists: Mark Shayler – Owner at Ape, Gill Parker – Non-Exec Chair at Informare, Nicola Osborn – Creative Director at Basha-Franklin, and Dr. Petrina Carmody – Chief Change Officer at Great Place To Work.

Following on from the Opening Night Debate will be, Stone and Beyond – How This Ancient Material Remains Relevant Today Matt Robb, Marketing and Media Manager for Stone Federation Great Britain, will explore the attributes of stone from various parts of the world alongside Panellists including Mr. Gokhan Karakus – co-founding curator of, Stefano Ghirardi – Chairman & CEO of Marmi Ghirardi S.R.L, and David Richardson – Chair of the Stone Federation Technical and Sustainability Committees. The discussion will set stone within the context of other materials and its continued relevance.

speakers on the stage at surface Design show

Main image credit: Surface Design Show

Legends live returns for its third year, with three talks spread across two days. This year’s will see insightful conversations with design legends Tom Lloyd, Gurvinder Khurana and Matthew Hilton. These not to be missed conversations will will delve into the guests’ design philosophies, portfolios and future aspirations.

The ever-popular trend predictions by Colour Hive are back again and will be taking place with two talks across the Wednesday and Thursday. Featuring exclusive future insights from Colour Hive membership including MIX Magazine, Colour, Material and Finish Directions and Global Colours alongside an edit of one-of-a-kind inspirational objects and materials inspired by their 2025 design direction Hack.

The programme on Wednesday, will commence with this year’s Charity Partner, Furnishing Futures – The Importance of Design for Mental Health/Living in the Right Environment. Furnishing Futures founder Emily Wheeler will explore the amazing work that the charity does and how it helps those escaping domestic abuse that have been rehomed into empty social housing. Emily will be joined by Reeba Simon, co-author of ’Scandi Rustic: Creating a Cozy and Happy Home,’ columnist for Simple Scandi Magazine, an interior and lifestyle influencer and collaborator of the Main Company. Through their individual and personal knowledge, Emily and Reena will discuss the importance of design for mental health and wellbeing, and the effects/need of living in the right environment.

Following on from this, is How to Manage Sustainable Global Brands. Mark Faithfull, retail journalist, will lead a discussion with panellists; Lee Roberts – Creative Director at Zebra, James White – Practice lead at Accenture Song, and Hani Hatami – Head of Member Community at Material Bank Europe.

The Thinking Green in Award Winning Design talk will be hosted by BIID President May Fawzy who joins award-winning designers Sophie Pringle – Director at Pringle&Pringle Designs, Staffan Tollgard – Creative Director & Founder of Tollgard Design Group and Anna Barber – Founder of House of Kin, to discuss challenges and opportunities in green thinking.

Another unmissable presentation is Words and Wood. Chaired by Grant Gibson, Founder of the award-winning pod cast Material Matters, the session features an insightful interview with Andrew Waugh, focusing on the intricacies of designing tall buildings in timber.

Unlocking some of the secrets to sustainable design, Specifying Sustainably: A Workshop by the Sustainable Design Collective will be presented by the Sustainable Design Collective (SDC). Join Harsha Kotek, Founder of WOD (Women in Office Design) & The Sustainable Design Collective, and a panel of experts including Joanna Knight – Sustainable Design Collective, Lydia Randall – BDG architecture + design, Deborah Allen – Douglas Jane Studio, Mathew Freeman – Freeman Studio, and Alex Webb – The Furniture Practice. This engaging event kicks off with a panel discussion focusing on specifying healthy materials that prioritize user well-being. Following the discussion, immerse yourself in a hands-on workshop led by SDC members. Explore samples of fabrics, paints, and furniture finishes, and gain valuable insights into identifying VOCs and healthy materials.

The exceptional line-up of speakers continues on Wednesday, and includes Kaye Preston – Design Editor, who will be hosting a talk looking at Designing for a Sustainable Future . Panellists include Rosey Treheane Pollock -Founder of Rosey Treherne Pollock Interiors, Cat Hoad -founder of Absolute Project Management, Jecks Stone – Founder of Persona Abode Interiors and Ana Rita Martins -Sustainability Lead for MC.

On the final day of the Surface Design Show, brace yourself for another action-packed schedule featuring an exceptional lineup of speakers. Kicking off in the morning, Noam Noveh, CEO and Co-Founder of Stylib, delves into Rethinking Material Search: AI at the Service of Specifiers, exploring how technology disrupts traditional specification workflows.

Continuing the day’s engaging discussions, Helen Parton, Editorial and Content Consultant, sheds light on Bringing Urban Landscapes to Life with Light, exploring the transformative role of light in urban environments with panellists John Lenehan -Global Projects Director at Acrylicize, Andy Clark – CEO of Bright Green Technology, Rebecca Cove – Business Development and Marketing Associate at Jason Bruges Studio.

With a programme that keeps giving the line-up on Thursday includes the panel of lighting experts looking at Circularity in Lighting. On the panel are Nigel Harvey – Chief Executive at Recolight, David Clements -Chief Executive at FUTURE Design, Gary Thornton – Director at Nulty, Colin Ball – Lighting Director at BDP, Arianna Ghezzi – Associate at Lighting Design International.

In addition, Mr. Gokhan Karakus – Designer, curator, business strategist, historian, architecture critic, theorist and co-founding curator of who will be looking at Natural Stone from Turkey, Jess Miles -Deputy Editor at Space Magazine who will be exploring the Symbios of hotel and fashion design, with panellists David Harte – Co-Head of Interiors at Studio Moren, Wren Loucks – CEO & Creative Director at BE-Kin, Nicholas Oakwell – Founder of NO Uniform.

Hotel Designs is proud to be a media partner with Surface Design Show.

Main image credit: Surface Design Show