Known as the UK’s most dynamic event, Surface Design Show enlivened the rather gloomy winter setting of north London on the first week of February. Key interior and exterior design trends and themes were unveiled for the year ahead.
Digitally-blooming flowers, walls covered in handcrafted moss and humanised concrete made it clear to us as we progressed through the exhibition that designers took a step back and reimagined a future where nature and technology get to live happily ever after.
Image credit: Elli Popp
One of the newest additions to the show was the Digital Surfaces section that featured the works of Elli Popp and ATA Designs, which stood out through their rich colours and dramatic appearance. The designers have been looking for ways to combine shapes and hues with colour psychology to make sure that the final outcome is more than a purely decorative element
Bringing the outdoors inside
Technological advancements have enabled us to digitally connect with anyone around the world, making the need for living closer together no longer necessary. However as the urban environment tends to move further away from nature, designers seem to have found a way to bring it back.
The stands of Innerspace and Freund GmbH were by far some of the most impressive at the show. Covered in bright green, red and blue moss complimented by structural pieces of bark, the companies promoted their initiative to strengthen the relationship between humans and nature by fusing them together. Whether used to brighten up the working space or create a relaxing oasis at home, the brands’ promises are to find solutions that are equally as good for people and the planet.
Giving a second chance
By using a mixture of organic and inorganic materials, Emese Orban manages to prove how a material as dull as concrete can be dramatically changed. The Swedish designer is determined to challenge the ‘negative stereotypes associated with concrete and to create a new, more pleasant and softer look for a generally industrial material’, and push its usability boundaries by introducing it as a wall covering.
Image credit: Emese Orban
Urban Terrazzo came up with an eye-opening solution to managing industrial waste. Every time an old building needs to be demolished an excessive amount of waste is produced, which usually ends up on local dumpsites. However, Urban Terrazzo claims that this can only be ‘the beginning of a great new material story’. They convert the waste of architectural debris (such as concrete or bricks) into new surfaces for design. The result might as well be mistaken for an alfresco mosaic.
Image credit: Urban Terrazzo
Last but not least, the issue of plastic pollution was also perceived through a creative lens, as material designer Enis Akiev turned single-use plastic packaging into abstract stone tiles. Entitled ‘The Nature of Waste’, this series of works aims to question the understanding of ‘waste’ and ‘away’. Ankiev believes that, depending on the context, waste can either be useless or a valuable resource and giving the ‘reduction of natural resources, we must consider waste more than ever as a resource and as a continuous step in a never-ending process, rather than the end of a product’s life’.
Image credit: PDD
Posted by PDD
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.
Image credit Elli Popp, Emese Orban, Freund GmbH, Innerspace, Urban Terrazzo