For the second year running a project based in India has picked up the prestigious Supreme Award at the annual Surface Design Awards in London.

The impressive Symbiosis University Hospital and Research Center in Pune, India by IMK Architects was named the Supreme Winner, as well as being awarded the ‘Public Building Exterior’ award. Captivating the hearts of all judges, Symbiosis University Hospital was praised for innovation and dynamic use of eco-friendly materials.

The multi-specialty hospital and research centre incorporates an impressive façade drawn from environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and locally sourced raw materials, which allowed for designing different façade compositions that construct a strong visual identity.

Symbiosis University Hospital and Research Center was praised by the judges for its ‘reflection of culture and the use of sustainable local materials’ that provide several regional environmental and social benefits.

“This is a really beautiful solution using local materials and labour. The design of the façade is meaningful not just decorative, it shades the sun”, said the judges. “The design of the façade is very much part of their sustainable strategy”.

The hospital is currently being used for COVID-19 healthcare. Judged by some of the leading names in the industry, the 2021 edition had over 100 entries spanning 15 different countries including India, Egypt, Italy, China, San Marino, Oman, and the USA.

This year’s shortlist comprised an impressive 31 projects across the 12 categories. Included among those shortlisted were architecture and design practices ACME, Buckley Gray Yeoman, Heatherwick Studios, Light Bureau, Coffey Architects, Blee Halligan, Ben Adams Architects, Stiff + Trevillion from the UK, IMK architects from India, Woods Bagot and Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects from the USA.

Across 12 categories in total, from workspaces and commercial projects to public buildings and housing, the Award’s entries comprised the very best in material innovation from around the world. Such was then high quality and diversity of entries submitted that several projects won nominations across multiple categories. Sustainability was also an important criterion for the judging of the Awards, with each entry accompanied by a statement and calculation for the carbon footprint of the cladding of material surface used.

The 2021 judging panel of industry experts was Co-Chaired by interior designer NicolanOsborn from Basha-Franklin and engineer Steve Webb of Webb Yates Engineers. The judges were Joseph Henry, Greater London Authority; Kresse Wesling MBE, Elvis & Kresse; Lee Mainwaring, Architecture Initiative; Nic Fallows, BNF Capital; Sarah Castle, IF_DO; Sofia Steffenoni and Simona Auteri, Matter of Stuff.

Silo Restaurant, by Nina+Co Design won in ‘Commercial Building Interior’ after being admired for its materials of zero-waste that inspire lifestyle choices for the benefit of the local and wider community. Express Building (Manchester), designed by Ben Adams Architects, was applauded for its futuristic design that respects the character of this iconic property, and was announced the winner of the ‘Commercial Building Exterior’ category.

The ‘Housing Exterior’ and ‘Housing Interior’ categories had an outstanding level of bespoke entries. Bumpers Oast, by ACME was awarded the winning position of both categories with judges ‘admiring the modern interpretation of a hop-drying kiln and the sustainable use of materials’.

Designed by Heatherwick Studio in collaboration with lighting designers Light Bureau, Maggie’s Leeds’ both simplistic and warm lighting was congratulated for ‘making it a welcoming and calm destination for cancer patients in need of tranquillity’, with the entry being awarded the ‘Light and Surface Interior’ and ‘Light and Surface Exterior’ Awards.

Maida Smiles Dental Clinic, which offers world class cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics services in Little Venice in London, was named winner of the ‘Public Building Interior’ category. The sophisticated clinic was designed by Pedra Silva Architects to reflect a unique and visually engaging design concept, which promotes the personality of the clinic.

The winner of the ‘Public Realm’ award was Sayer Street + The Meadow by Jan Kattein Architects with landscaping by B|D Landscape Architects and lighting design by Michael Grubb Studio. In an effort to provide a safe open-air space to allow for social distancing, the lighting was designed to capture the imagination of all ages, brought to life through sculpture and natural play used throughout the space.

ASA HQ, based in San Marino and designed by Opensystems Architecture, was applauded for ‘its efficient use of raw materials and the integration of automated machines’, and was announced the winner of ‘Workspaces Interior’ category, whilst 40 Beak Street, by Stiff+Trevillion Architects won in ‘Workspaces Exterior’ after being admired for ‘its memorable contemporary design that contributed to the vibrancy and creative appeal of its location in Soho, notwithstanding remaining sensitive to the historic setting’.

Folly was praised by the judges for its ‘exclusivity and playfulness’ and was named winner of the ‘Temporary Structure’ award. The sculptural shape of the Folly was designed by Rune  Bundgaard to reflect the three-dimensional effect of working with tiles, evoking conversation, and exploring architectural concepts.

This year’s Surface Design Trends featuring the Surface Design Awards was live streamed from London. Held on Thursday 11 February 2021, the event highlighted the very best in surface design projects from around the world as well as a unique look into the latest trends.


The Awards were hosted by author and architectural commentator Aidan Walker.

The Surface Design Awards 2021 winners in full:

Light + Surface Interior

Maggie’s Leeds, Heatherwick Studio // Light Bureau United Kingdom

Light + Surface Exterior
Maggie’s Leeds Heatherwick Studio // Light Bureau United Kingdom

Housing Interior
Bumpers Oast ACME United Kingdom

Housing Exterior
Bumpers Oast ACME United Kingdom

Commercial Building Interior

Silo Restaurant Nina+Co Design United Kingdom

Commercial Building Exterior

Express Building (Manchester) Ben Adams Architects United Kingdom

Public Building Interior

Maida Smiles Dental Clinic Pedra Silva Architects United Kingdom

Public Building Exterior
Symbiosis University Hospital IMK Architects India

Workspaces Interior

ASA HQ Opensystems Architecture Republic of San Marino

Workspaces Exterior
40 Beak Street Stiff+Trevillion Architects United Kingdom

Public Realm

Sayer Street + The Meadow Jan Kattein Architects // Landscape Architect: B|D Landscape Architects // Lighting Designer: Michael Grubb Studio United Kingdom

Temporary Structure

Folly KLINK // Rune Bundgaard Denmark

Supreme Winner
Symbiosis University Hospital IMK Architects India


The 2021 Awards were sponsored by the Business Design Centre, Vitra, British Institute of
Interior Design, The Institution of Lighting Professionals, Armourcoat, Mass Concrete, Surface
Design Show 2022, and USM.