2015 sees the most successful Surface Design Show ever with record numbers of visitors and exhibitors

Last week from the 10-12 February, London’s Business Design Centre saw more than 130 exhibitors, both national and international, congregate to inspire and delight with the latest surface design products.

Surface Design Show is the only trade event in the UK to focus solely on interior and exterior surfaces, exploring the most innovative, sustainable and remarkable surface designs, materials and lighting currently available on the market. Since its inception in 2005 the show has steadily grown and a record 5385 (subject to audit) architects, designers, specifiers and the like visited – a 48% increase on 2014. The figures are testament to the fact that Surface Design Show is now firmly established as must go to event in the UK design calendar.

There was also a packed programme of events and entertainment which included the Preview Evening’s Live Debate hosted by RIBA Journal. BIM4FitOut, a special interest group to the government BIM Task Group representing the finishes and fit out sector, organised an engaging workshop at the Show. The ever-popular PechaKucha Evening provided an informal and fun presentation of inspirational slides to a packed audience of on looking architects and designers. Ben Cowd, a partner of SaraBen Studio, who took part in the event commented that it was “a wonderful evening with fantastic speakers”.

New event highlights to the 2015 Show included ‘Materials Speed Dating’ the 2015 version of Future Thinking, hosted by Materials Council which was a fun and interactive way to be rapidly introduced to new surfaces & finishes and in-turn meet your ‘perfect materials match’.

Hosted within Surface Design Show and presented by Light Collective and the Institution of Lighting Professionals was Light School, an area dedicated to lighting. Light School consisted of three parts: The School Room, Product School and the School Newspaper all of which were designed to educate and inspire visitors about the latest in lighting design and lighting products.

Sponsored by iGuzzini, there were more than two days of lessons in the School Room, which featured hands-on demos with top UK lighting designers who took on the role of lecturers to capacity crowds.

Sally Storey of Lighting Design International who spoke about Hotel Lighting in all shapes & sizes said:

“Every seat was full, people standing outside the door- great turnout! Interesting questions showing the audience benefited and were engaged, I linked the speech to lighting for surfaces to make it relevant for the show”.

Global Color Research™ returned to the Show. Following the success of the 2013 and 2014 Trend Wall, the influential consultancy and creators of colour forecasting publication MIX Magazine presented Colour Collaborations. The exhibit, located in the entrance and main venue area of the Business Design Centre was designed to inspire and give insight, focusing on the vital colour and material trends for 2016 and their importance within design.

Event Director Christopher Newton said:

“We couldn’t be more delighted with the 2015 show, the record number of exhibitors filled the halls with creativity and innovation and the packed programme of events inspired and engaged our capacity audiences. We are already looking forward to 2016 which from visitor, exhibitor and speaker reaction we predict to be another record breaking year”.

Part of the outstanding success of the Show is the commitment to recognising excellence with the Surface Design Awards. The Awards recognise examples of progressive design and the use of innovative surfaces in projects both in the UK and internationally. Categories cover projects in Retail, Commercial, Housing, Public Building, Light and Surfaces and Temporary Structures. Launched in 2013, the Awards have grown quickly both in stature and the number of entrants.

This year, 181 projects were entered, a record number increasing by a staggering 62% with a third of entries from overseas making it the UK’s leading award scheme to identify innovation in surface design. The stunning Ospedale Giovanni XXIII Chapel in Italy was unveiled as the supreme Winner.

Designed by Traversi + Traversi Architetti & Aymeric Zublena the radical design of the uniquely modern chapel created surfaces that were integral to the building and the atmosphere that encompasses it. The awards were presented by Helen Berresford Head of ID:SR Sheppard Robson’s award winning interior design group who said of the awards:

“Amazing, so many people putting forward projects with a diverse range of surfaces. Great international audience. Beautiful internal and exterior surfaces starting to emerge and be used in projects.”

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