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Surface Design Show 2016

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Having attended the Surface Design Show for the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s become more of a challenge to spot interesting, unusual materials.

To find those that stand out from the overwhelming array of sleek, neutral finishes that start to blend in, within such a large exhibition space.

This years’ offering however was like a breath of fresh air – so many innovative materials caught my eye, I found myself wandering around like a kid in a candy store.

Whilst it did help that I have my own exciting Victorian apartment renovation to channel my ideas, a handful of suppliers are now firmly in my black book for future reference.


Pintark elevate the use of materials and technology to new heights, with their collection of innovative, textural surfaces.

Here, a mixture of smooth and embossed leather is woven together with chrome details to create an incredible, standout surface.

I can picture this as a striking headboard in a luxurious, hotel-style space.




Solomon & Wu combine the tradition of cast mouldings with modern materials to create their range of decorative surfaces and contemporary furniture.

The patterns and textures in their collections are inspired from a variety of sources, as abstract as shimmering light reflecting off water.

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Their use of iron, a traditionally stark and flat material, is inspiring – the metal is cracked or burnt for textural effect, before the plate is set it in solid brass to form their sleek, contemporary tables with a twist.



While chandeliers are often elaborate pieces from decades past, Quartz create sleek, crystal chandeliers more suited to the modern interior.

With clean lines and simple geometry, their designs allow the glistening Swarovski crystal to shine in their own light (literally).

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Their pieces come in an array of striking jewel tones from blue and lilac to bronze, and they offer a bespoke service for those who wish to create their own sparkling design.

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Porcel-thin specialise in large format porcelain tiles. Their “tiles” come in generous 1800×900 pieces, large enough for a seamless kitchen splash-back.


I was corrected by the kind consultant at Porcel-thin when I thought the striking slab I was gazing at was marble – it was in fact porcelain.

Unlike marble, porcelain is hard-wearing, non porous and considerably cheaper.

The joys of having a fabulous-looking kitchen and not having a panic attack with a spill of red wine or lemon juice – porcelain ticks all the boxes.

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With so much inspiration taken from the show, my biggest challenge will be reigning the ideas in – so as to not wind up with an overwhelming, textural jungle of a space.

Imagery courtesy of Solomon & Wu / Quartz / Porcel-thin

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