Trade Show Report: Surface Design Show Feb 2011

Written by trendbible

13 March 2011

We welcome a new collaboration with trend expert and anthropologist, Wendy Scott, who visited the Surface Design Show 15-17 February 2011 on our behalf. Wendy explains;

“Attending the Pecha Kucha was a great highlight. (Pecha Kucha is a Japanese concept meaning “chit chat” and allows creatives to share quick fire images and ideas to inspire and network). As an anthropologist this was especially effective since it touches upon ideas and cultures that may be obscure but with an impact that has global potential. (Good and bad).”

Here Wendy shares her key findings with us…

Surface Design Show is the only UK event to focus exclusively on interior and exterior surface solutions in building design. The Islignton Business Design Centre was host to nearly 4000 visitors and exhibitors with more than 50% of attendees being architects and designers. From the 2010 show, attendance was up by over 40%.


The shows overall feel and direction was what we are terming ‘Future Nature’ where emphasis was upon producing progressive yet playful products whose main rational was holding ‘nature’ at its core and injecting a wondrous whimsical angle via materials such as plastic and glass. The result was the ongoing trend of space-age association. Patternation also plays its part as a major contributor to forthcoming fashionable trends in the interior design world, as was the use and efficacy of wood as an eloquent material. It certainly had a lot to say and is set to stay.

Alice Through The Looking Glass


Transparency and its related effects could be seen ‘through’-out! Curved and cut into naturalistic rounded soft edged shapes, as well as combined with clean cut lines sci-fi style shapes. Its mirage properties were everywhere making it a trend to watch-(or are my eyes deceiving me!?).  Notably this was best exploited by the ‘Hourglass’ Company, whose ability to tailor make anything and everything ‘glass’ into beautiful yet workable effect was a curious success. (geddit?!)With their mirrored grandfather clock shapes, iced blue frosted water patternation and window wizardry, it only added to the magical mysteries inherent in forthcoming trends. Check out how transparency and vivid colour works in our Visionnaire story for Home Trends,  Spring Summer 2012.

Artful Jewel


Precious stones, mosaic tiles laced with gold for the most indulgent of bathrooms (yes please) and mottled marble flooring, all celebrated the art of the bathroom. This is a trend to watch.  These gem like wonders were ever more marvellous because they are made from recycled glass. Thus it is a glorious treat that doesn’t cost the earth. As we wade through the recession, a luxuriant and affordable escape in the comfort of our own homes will be the order of the day. Extracted from lava, (well it’s hard to get hotter than that!),  Pyrolave had the most exotic coloured sinks in the business. Even the finest of pampered parlours would certainly be elevated by any of these jewelled treats in whichever space they were placed. Escapism is the name of the game.

Arresting Forest


Esoteric and provocative, wood products and ‘woodland’ themes are certainly set to continue. Extremely clever and artful approaches to wood and its myriad properties were gallantly served by the SPA Company whose tree and offshoot veneers were startlingly beatific.There is nothing greater than nature. Its inspirational properties were turned into picture postcard finishes which could be used for any surface in all rooms. Again, bringing the ‘outside inside’. When such a primal element is encased in a contemporary context it’s a modern winner that brandishes the feeling that wood is good.

Feather Effect

In line with the Butterfly effect, the exquisite patterns of these fine and femur winged creatures was used to great effect and thankfully less cruelly since captured in laminate. Launching their line at the show, “Studio Paname” emphasis was upon the stained glass window effect. Whether covering for walls or windows, the look was stunning and unique. Working with innovative designers yielded some wonderful and fun results.



Walls that look like leather but are in fact stone effect. Padded-cell like but with a kinky twist, the aesthetic qualities of stone were placed in the surroundings of the home to give a wholly unique, rather retro and cave like appeal. Fantastical and elemental. However, some visitors looked perplexed, nay cheated, upon realising this was not ‘the real deal,’ others were highly amused. The whimsical made magical, it all depends upon imagination. Yet what is clear is the receptivity towards injecting the fun element into our living or work environment. Pertinently in such cash strapped times we crave a bit of crazy (paving?!).


We all love a jolly good wow factor whether for method or aesthetic, originality or playfulness. Giles Millers pictures possessed all four, with the added advantage that they really are produced with pure persistence. Executed using techniques such as repetitive pattern and done by hand they create a strangely seductive effect. Metal is always steely and confidently possessive of its cool properties. Here it’s beguiling and other worldly. Cardboard gave a ‘throw away’ attitude to its materiality that turned everything on its head. Such beauty from such disposable product and applied so patiently.

Natural Psychedelia

Busy, but not bothersome, natura psychedelia will run and run. Forging its way forward as a trend that knows where it’s going and that’s OUT THERE! There’s nothing stranger than nature. Flowers that are colourful and frankly rather fruity! You know its ‘trendy’ when Bowie has commissioned one (Mykon coffee table). Even the materials sound psychedelic such as ‘acrylic polycarbonate’, especially when well lit. So s-toke up and get lighting! To check out our Norwegian Wood story developed for our Kids trend book for A/W 2011/12 click here, it reflects this trend beautifully.

We send the bespoke trend reports out to different departments in our organisation from product development to digital and customer teams. The report acts as internal inspiration that everyone can read and get something from. The feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive.


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