This year, the Surface Design Show returned to the Business Design Center in London in February, with over 180 companies and organizations showcasing their latest materials. We went there to find out how designers are tackling current themes and challenges to create practical and innovative coatings.
Here are six trends that are set to take over coatings this year through 2024.
1. Making new out of old
Floorings made from recycled materials were numerous at the show, a theme discussed during the round table moderated by Tarek Merlin, of Feix&Merlin, Repurposing: Finding the Sweet Spot Between Old and New .
In the Surface Spotlight Live section, tiles by Emily Hatton Surface Design x Revive Innovations, made from recycled CDs (pictured above), were on display, while elsewhere on the show, Smile Plastics showcased its range of speckled boards made from various products like yogurt pots, cutting boards and even white goods.
The design agency Volume Creative presented its start-up Spared, whose objective is to help brands transform their waste into beautiful objects, furniture, art and coverings, while materials from Tomas & Jani made from coffee beans.
2. Harnessing the wonders of nature
Exhibitors were making the most of nature in their designs, especially with coverings such as Botanica Textiles’ range of naturally dyed fabrics. The company’s hand-woven textiles (pictured above) are made from yarn dyed with plants such as rhododendron leaves, eucalyptus or logwood. In the Surface Spotlight Live section , Florence Carter of Object Cor’s touch-sensitive light switch and cabinet handle wanted to provide city dwellers with a daily connection to nature.
Nearby were Lily McDonnell’s wellness textiles, made from seaweed and salt, dyed with rust extract. Seaweed has oxygenating properties, while salt improves health and well-being, so fabrics contribute to good air quality and bring biophilia into interiors.
3. Create interesting hybrids
Designers find solutions to get more functionality out of their products by giving them various uses. Several interesting examples were presented at the show.
The Solis lamp from acou.space, for example, can be used as both a pendant and a floor lamp, while its soft coating helps to absorb sound – perfect for an open-plan room where noise travels.
Another hybrid coating highlighted was Mirage’s Paper range, which is made up of beautiful painterly tiles. Large format, they can be placed next to each other to form an image that resembles a panoramic wallpaper, or installed around a basin as a superb textured worktop.
4. Find wellness in water
InColour, Material and Finish Forecast: 2024by Color Hive, Hannah Malein highlighted water as inspiration for next year’s material trends. She cited studies that show that blue space may have even more health and wellness benefits than green space. There were certainly several materials that conveyed the reflective qualities of water, such as G-Tex Stainless’ Water Effect range of stainless steel sheets (pictured above). The theme of reflection was also addressed in the section
5. Sustaining our interiors
A recurring theme was also the desire of renovation professionals to make their clients’ projects more sustainable, and coating designers are responding to this by manufacturing materials that are even more sustainable.
Surface Matter’s Durat (pictured above), for example, is a tough, silky-smooth material made from post-industrial recycled plastic and built to last, even in heavily used areas. When it finally reaches the end of its life, the material can be refurbished and reused, or returned to the company for recycling.
Elsewhere, BerryAlloc® showcased its 100% water-resistant Ocean+ laminate flooring. It is easy to maintain, scratch resistant and suitable for both bathrooms and kitchens.
6. Make the Most of Traditional Techniques
Many home improvement professionals recognize the benefits of traditional materials and craftsmanship, a theme found in the large amount of lime products on display.
Lime Eco paint from Impera Italia is antibacterial, environmentally friendly, breathable and suitable for bathrooms. The company’s Cementino Decorative Powder is also made from lime and is suitable for concrete-like decors.
More traditional craftsmanship could be seen with Metal Clad’s range of patinated sheet metal, entirely handcrafted in its Devon workshop. In the New Talent area, Magnus Nilsson harnessed the carbon dioxide capture capabilities of traditional Moroccan clay to create an innovative product: the ClayO2mato (pictured above). It absorbs carbon dioxide from the air while using a water filtration system that irrigates the tomato plants below.