Announcing ARCHITECT@WORK 2017: the latest architectural innovations revealed

ARCHITECT@WORK, the carefully curated two-day trade fair aimed at architects, designers and specifiers, will return to Olympia National Hall for its 2017 edition on 25 and 26 January.

120 leading European architectural suppliers will be showing innovative new products and offering the latest innovations in surface solutions, lighting technology as well as interior and exterior fixtures and fittings. All of these companies have gone through a rigorous selection process, with an external judging panel overseeing the product selection, to ensure that this is one of the UK’s most highly respected trade shows of its kind.

Water theme

The theme for ARCHITECT@WORK UK 2017 is water. To honour this the SCIN GALLERY will present an exhibition focusing on four aspects.

The Material Source: Materials that come from Water will examine the natural elements that come from water such as seaweed, shells and Neptune balls as well as solutions to the material waste that is floating in our seas like Bionic Yarn.

The Physical Connection: Interacting with Water will explore how water is incorporated into design from tiles that redirect water to prevent flooding to creating a weathered look by putting materials in contact with water.

The Chemical Reaction: Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic will look at materials that naturally repel water (hydrophilic) and materials that absorb water (hydrophobic). Hydrophilic materials are often incorporated into coatings and paints to protect surfaces while hydrophobic substances are used to create meltable bio-plastics, expanding resins and dissolvable paper.

The Aesthetic Inspiration: Looking like Water will show how water’s shine, bubbles and waves are imitated in design elements from glass and acrylic to fabric and marble.


Another feature of this year’s edition is the exhibition Matière grise (GREY MATTER, Materials, Reuse, Architecture) by Pavillon de l’Arsenal. Architects Julien Choppin and Nicola Delon from the Encore Heureux architectural design agency explore the reuse of building materials at a time when architecture is aspiring to reinvent itself but restricted by economic and environmental constraints. The exhibition urges the construction trade to use more “grey matter” so as to use fewer raw materials.

The exhibition will showcase global projects which were built, in full or in part, with reclaimed building materials. In Brussels, second-hand bricks are used to build modernday homes; in Massachusetts, the gantries of a motorway viaduct are used to build a villa; in Saint-Denis, rejected cladding for a shopping centre is now seen to envelop the prestigious National Academy of Contemporary Circus Arts. 75 projects, 14 essays, 13 interviews combine to show the potential of the recovery and reuse of materials and the possibilities for giving reclaimed materials a new lease of life.

Innovative interviews

ARCHITECT@WORK has commissioned UK-based design and architectural journalist Giovanna Dunmall to conduct a series of eight interviews with architects, developers and engineers asking them to reflect on everything from their current projects to which designer they would most like to sit next to at dinner and what their favourite design/architecture book is. The list of these books will be specially highlighted as part of the pop up bookshop by RIBA. These Innovative Interviews in conjunction with RIBA Journal will be published on ARCHITECT@WORK’s website and in the show guide.

Pop-up bookshop by RIBA

This year also sees the installation of the Pop Up Book Shop for Architects and Designers. Organised and run by RIBA, this store will give visitors an opportunity to browse and purchase magazines and books touching on a particular area of specialisation or interest.

Talks programme

Wednesday, 25 January

  • 15:00 A bridge too far?
    Roger Ridsdill Smith, Foster+Partners
    Jonathan McDowell, Matter Architecture
    Julia Barfield, Marks Barfield
    Ben Addy, Moxon Architects
    Bridges play a vital role in the function of daily life but they are also feats of engineering and objects of beauty. What happens when the bridge becomes the focus of attention, rather than its landing points or the gap it spans? We are drawn to beautiful bridges and the UK has a long history with their design. In this talk we will explore the challenges in creating bridges in difficult places and the ways in which the bridges themselves can become spaces to enjoy and interact with.
  • 16:15 Design driven by natural forces
    Chair: Eleanor Young, RIBAJ
    Ana Abram, Gustafson Porter
    Jerry Tate, Tate Harmer
    Michael Pawlyn, Exploration Architecture
    Water, air, sunlight and the movements of the earth are just some of the multiple factors that affect our buildings and urban environments. All design is affected by the elements in some way but some practitioners choose to respond more closely than others. Eleanor Young, executive editor RIBAJ, will discuss projects that have been shaped by the natural world with some of the UK’s leading architects and designers. They will explore the ways in which landscape, materials and design combine to form spaces for humans to reconsider their role in nature.
  • 17:30 The British Land interview
    Chair: Peter Murray, NLA
    Peter Murray of New London Architecture will interview a senior figure at British Land about past projects and the future development of the capital.

Thursday, 26 January

  • 15:00 The amphibious city
    Chris Romer-Lee, Studio Octopi
    Carl Turner, Carl Turner Architects
    The UK is undergoing rapid changes as cities develop on limited land and climate change brings unpredictable weather patterns and flooding. In this panel discussion we will debate new ideas for the future of design on or along rivers, lakes and canals. From floating leisure centres to houses created to react to rising tides, our panel of experts will explain how they have been driven to create architectural and technical responses to the very substance that has helped us build our cities and conquer the land.
  • 16:15 Waterway development
    Chair: Phineas Harper, the Architecture Foundation
    Alex Ely, Mae Architects
    Peter Chowns, Canal and River Trust
    Steve Webb, Webb Yates
    UK canals and rivers were once the beating heart of transport and infrastructure for the entire country. Goods and people were carried the length and breadth of the land but roads and the railway eventually made this network redundant. These waterways are now having a resurgence as people have a strong desire to live and work along or even on the river. As their popularity rises, our canals and rivers are becoming the focus of debate and a hotbed of development. Phineas Harper, deputy director of the Architecture Foundation and canal boat resident, speaks to architects, developers and engineers about the future prospects for UK waterways and how we can ensure we are making the most of a complex environment.
  • 17:30 The Argent interview
    David Michon, journalist
    Tom Goodall, Argent
    Anthony Peter, Argent
    In recent years, King’s Cross has become a byword for successful development in London. Led by Argent, it has demonstrated that high-quality buildings, a long-term approach to infrastructure and an intelligent approach to phasing can create a destination that becomes a focus for public life, and that uses its green spaces, water frontages and the ‘blue infrastructure’ itself to maximum effect. In this talk Argent will explain the success at King’s Cross, as well as their upcoming plans to transform Tottenham Hale.