Surface Design Show 2020 – 5 key takeaways

The Surface Design Show 2020 was brimming with creative new materials – here are the best trends from the show...

London's annual Surface Design Show is underway, and year's designs on display are nothing short of show stopping.It's the leading event for architects and designers to explore the best in surface material innovation, and there's inspiration at every turn.

This year's event boasts terrazzo kitchen ideas, printed cork walls, etched glass and new trends in tiles, plus some surprisingly sleek and stylish surfaces that are made from waste material.

Now in its 15th year, the show features works from more than 180 exhibitors, as well as 40 new, up-and-coming talent.

Here are the biggest trends and takeaways from the show...



The biggest trend present was around making recyclable materials chic. Smile Plastics are making plastic fantastic, by turning waste plastic into sleek and stylish surfaces.

(Image credit: Smile Plastics)

Creating hand-crafted panels from varied waste-streams, the finished product is made from 100 per cent recycled and recyclable plastics. Furthermore they are also recyclable, and we can take back the material at the end of its live for recycling over and over again. The designs are suitable for wide-ranging applications from small-scale products to large-scale installations.

Read Also:Follow your eco-conscience – trends in sustainable living

Terrazzo also featured prominently at the design show.The latest trend in kitchen surfaces, Diespeker & Co showcased terrazzo kitchen worktops – all madefrom recycled offcuts.

Exhibiting at Surface Design Show for the first time, Diespeker's projects span span flooring, tiles, cladding, worktops, treads and one-off constructs. Working with marble, granite, conglomerate, terrazzo and more, they use a crushing machine that helps utilise offcuts, recycling rather than discarding.


Recycled terrazzo also came in the form of some chic pillars by Mizzi Studio that could be used as side tables, plinths and stands for vases and objects. Mizzi Studio collaborated with Vicalvi and Halmann Vella Ltd to showcase the nature-infused 'Terrazzo Garden', featuring precast terrazzo columns that were created through specialist cutting and faceting of large-scale blocks, smoothed down with waterjets.

Read Also:Trending: Terrazzo Homeware

Surface Matter also showcased some interesting new sustainable materials; from sheets made of recycled paper to panels that play with light. They featured a material collaboration between Durat and MOST Collective with ‘eco-luxury’ solid surfaces that incorporate waste industrial plastics with raw earth minerals and natural pigments from an 18th century Dutch paint mill.

Surface Matter also opened a Material Sweet Shop at the event, that showcases the best materials as confectionery.

(Image credit: Surface Matter)

Becoming the first translucent honeycomb material with recycled and recyclable content, Bencore have started using 100 per cent recycled clear skins in 2019, and recycled colour is planned later this year.

Read Also:3 key highlights from Maison et Objet 2020

Richlite have also developed a new colour of their ultra-strong paper composites. Richlite is an incredibly durable material made from recycled paper, developed over 75 years ago in the Pacific Northwest for industrial tooling. With a mottled appearance, honed look and leathery feel, the solid paper composite is used by the aerospace, extreme sports, marine, food prep and architecture and design communities.


Meanwhile Lignosi showcased its acoustic slat wall panels, that bring a calming, quiet, Scandinavian feel while also helping acoustics.

Read Also:Highlights from the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2020


Tiles have adopted a new shape; a super skinny rectangle. Raven unveiled a series of tiles inspired by Japanese culture and tradition.

The decorative mosaic tiles are only 25mm wide, and the glazing is purposefully uneven, celebrating the ceramic's natural patterns and crazing to develop during the firing phase.

Read Also:Beautiful Bathroom Tile Ideas

Continuing the theme, Grestec also showcased its latest collection of ceramic wall tiles with the Avena collection, comprising six, soft, geometrically embossed surfaces that play with light and shadows .


Daedalian Glass Studios showcased its decorative glass etching, ranging from life-sized racing horses to delicate 3D fossils etched into glass.

Fay McCaul & Glass Designsalso showcased its decorative glass options, showcasing colourful and patterned glass designs as wall coverings, partitions and artworks. Applications now include shower screens, splash backs, table tops, doors and balconies.

Rupert Bevan has gorgeous foxed mirrors on show, showcasing them in rounded, arched forms instead of block format.


Finally, the up-and-coming talent did not disappoint, and we have a feeling we'll be hearing many of these names again.Wallcoverings were particularly well-represented in New Talent this year.

King Kong Design created 3D geometric wall tiles manufactured from natural cement powder.

The studio also creates folded geometric wall panels using high quality Canson paper. This handmade origami wall art makes a striking decorative application for walls.

Read Also:Discover Anthology's Architectural New Wallpaper Collection

Meanwhile The Monkey Puzzle Tree showcased the works of several designers from the North of England, including this striking cork design.

The Monkey Puzzle Tree aim to support local communities and minimise the environmental impact of their products, and artists are paid generous royalties for their designs to help them in continue with their creative work.

‘Disorder in Stasis’ is a conceptual triptych wallpaper taken from an original piece of art by Joel Weaver. The original striped artwork for Feldspar was draw by hand by Joel Weaver; each precise line has been drawn by pen, with the fading corresponding to the ink running out and the darker lines indicating where a new pen has been started. The edge detail shows the end of each hand drawn line.

And finally, works by Janine Partington illustratedhandmade, distinctive and appealing surfaces that explore mark making through the carving and painting of leathers and other materials.

All of the designs on display push the boundary on surface design, craft, and the products with which we furnish and design our homes. The showcase is feast for the eye, and to the touch, and the looks on show are certainly ones to watch.

Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.