Surface Design Show 2024, which took place at the Business Design Centre from 6-8 February 2024, was once again hailed an overwhelming success, with visitors up by an unprecedented 8% from 2023.

Over 180 exhibitors showcased the best in surface innovation, with many of them presenting brand new designs. Over 6,000 architects, designers and specifiers visited over the 2 ½ days and were truly inspired by  the diverse selection of materials there, including stone, ceramics, and solid surfaces; and from wallcoverings to flooring and everything in between.

This year’s show was the most international to date, welcoming over 60 international companies from 17 countries including Brazil, China, France, Spain, India, Japan and the USA. The Surface Design Show organisers also welcomed back their friends from The Italian Pavilion; the collective Italian area devoted to the best in the country’s stone. For the first time the show also hosted The Aegean Mineral Exporters Association, which showcased the beauty of natural stone from Turkey.

Commenting on wallcovering firm Phillip Jeffries’ experience at the show UK Sales Manager Megan Fehily said, “It has been a great show for us, we have seen some incredible designers and architects and have doubled our leads from last year’s show. We have exhibited at Surface Design Show for several years and 2024 was definitely the best so far.”

Under the theme of ‘Mindful Living’ the show delved into the integral role of materials and their properties in shaping multi-sensory spaces. The theme took centre stage at Surface Spotlight Live, sponsored by CDUK, and curated by Sally Angharad. There, visitors were able touch and feel the ground-breaking materials, giving a truly hands-on experience.

Dominic Coleman, Director with London-based interior design and furnishing studio Kibre echoed the positive sentiments around this year’s edition, adding, “The team and I found the Surface Design Show hugely interesting; it gets better every year. With a focus on sustainable materials, new emerging processes and young entrepreneurs and artisans, we were able to make some great connections and build on our network. Stand out exhibitors were Stylib, Smile Plastics and CDUK”.

The New Talent area, curated by Jennifer Castoldi, Chief Creative Director at Trendease, was a must visit section of the show with the very best in emerging creatives displaying an inspiring range of biomaterials, natural materials, textiles, furniture and wallpaper.

Works Magazine editor Mick Jordan is a regular attendee of the show and thought this year was the best yet “I come every year and have long been an advocate and fan of the show, with there always being new and interesting material use. It is ahead of a lot of the industry events when it comes to sustainable design practice and it is also a good place to come and catch up with A&D.” – Mick Jordan

The Stone Knowledge Hub also returned, bigger and better than ever. Building on the success of the 2023 edition and thanks to the increase in the number of Stone Federation members wanting to showcase their materials and expertise, the size of this feature increased significantly. The go-to place for architects and designers looking to find inspiration and information for their natural stone projects, the Stone Knowledge Hub hosted some of the leading names with the UK natural stone sector.

The Stone Federation’s Matt Robb commented, “The 2024 Surface Design Show was a fantastic event for us, it was an ideal opportunity to connect with 1000s of leading interior designers and architects and showcase the beauty, sustainability and versatility of natural stone.”

An engaging speakers programme held on the Main Stage, sponsored by Smile Plastics consisted of an exciting line-up of 20 presentations from 61 speakers, including architects, designers, manufacturers and journalists. Kicking off the Speakers Programme was the Opening Night Debate, sponsored by Mastercharge, on Human Capital, Risk, and Retention. Renowned freelance writer, editor, and speaker Louis Wustemann led a discussion joined by esteemed panellists: Mark Shayler – Owner at Ape, Gill Parker – Non-Exec Chair at Informare, Nicola Osborn – Creative Director at Basha-Franklin, and Dr. Petrina Carmody – Chief Change Officer at Great Place To Work.

Other talks included the Legends Live series hosted by Alys Bryan, editor of Design Insider. This saw Alys chatting to some of her personal legends including Tom Lloyd and Matthew Hilton whilst in another session, award-winning podcaster Grant Gibson of Material Matters spoke to architect Andrew Waugh regarding the intricacies of building in timber.

The winners of the highly anticipated Surface Design Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony on the last day of the show, with The Tarang Pavillion in Gandhinagar, India by The Grid Architects taking the Supreme Winner prize

Nickie West, Event Director at Surface Design Show said of the 2024 edition:

“I could not have been more delighted with the whole show. I feel that we delivered a real step change that was in no small way due to the enormous efforts made by our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, panellists and media and content partners. There was a buzz from the minute we opened the doors for our Opening Night Debate through to the Awards Breakfast on Thursday morning and then until the doors closed later that afternoon. Heartfelt thanks to every single person who helped deliver such a stunning display of 180 + exhibitors, a packed CPD-accredited learning programme of 20 sessions, beautifully curated and informative features from New Talent, Stone Federation, Colour Hive, Surface Spotlight Live and the live mural paintings by Olivier Roubieu. Visitors arrived in their droves, social media platforms were awash with the event and the feedback has been universally positive. We can’t wait to do it all again next year!”

 Surface Design Show 2025 will take place 4-6 February 2025