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The future of architectural design and trends at the 2009 Surface Design Show

The Surface Design Show (Business Design Centre, London, 10th-12th February 2009) is the UK’s only event to focus exclusively on surface solutions for the built environment and has established itself as a must-see event for architects, designers and specifiers. The event offers visitors the opportunity to touch and feel some of the most vibrant and innovative products from around the world.

In 2009, Sebastian Conran and RIBA President Sunand Prasad will feature alongside more than 100 of the most inspiring and innovative surface design manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. In addition, a number of brand new features focusing on sustainability, technology and the latest creative innovations will highlight what is sure to be the most varied and thought provoking event to date.

VIP Preview Evening

The VIP Preview Evening (10th February, 6-9pm) has proven to be extremely popular over the years by offering visitors the chance to hear from some of the architecture and design industry’s leading voices while getting a sneak preview of some of the most innovative and inspiring surface materials available for the built environment.

RIBA President Sunand Prasad will feature in a controversial live debate which will look at whether there is a place for professional ethics in the new global economy. The debate is part of the RIBA Building Futures programme which has been established to promote public and political debate on the future of the built environment and its socio-economic and environmental impact over a twenty-year horizon.

At the 2009 Surface Design Show, the house will take the stance that concepts of professional ethics are outdated.

Professional ethics in a global economy are viewed with an increasing level of opaqueness. At the close of 2008, the opportunities afforded to an architect by overseas projects are more appealing than ever with the UK having just entered a recession. The scarce availability of finance at home will inevitably lead to ever growing numbers of architects heading not just to China, but other focused areas of wealth - Moscow and Dubai, most notably. These areas are also an increasing source of funding for projects at home. London especially has boomed on the back of investment from abroad. Should an architect care or indeed take responsibility for the source of his income?

Sunand commented: “A clear separation from commerce and labour is at the root of professional ethics in architecture formulated 175 years ago. Does that linger unreconstructed, unhealthily influencing education and emasculating practice? Or have 19th century ethics evolved into pragmatic principles for the 21st century; the true guide to a sustainable future?”

Joining Sunand in the debate will be Nicholas Ray, the architect and author of 'Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas', as well as Irena Bauman of Bauman Lyons Architects, a practice which has recently published its first handbook ‘How to be a Happy Architect’.

The evening aims to discuss whether an architect should take on new ethical considerations for the 21st Century economic reality or indeed if they need to. Are architects ready to accept professional nihilism? I.e. Architecture for financial gain?

Gala Evening

Due to the popularity of the preview evening, two years ago the Surface Design Show introduced a special Gala Evening to provide visitors with a second opportunity to visit the show in a more relaxed evening atmosphere while hearing from a leading voice in the architecture and design industry.

This year does not disappoint, as the show’s Gala Evening on 11th February will feature the multi-award winning designer Sebastian Conran. Sebastian will be looking at the importance of authenticity in surface design as well as taking questions from the audience following his presentation. Throughout his career, Sebastian has worked with a number of the world’s leading surface manufacturers, including the Surface Design Show exhibitor ege carpets, whose Visual Textures range was designed by Conran and was launched at the 2007 Surface Design Show.

Sebastian commented: “With surfaces, form often follows fashion while not necessarily focusing on the ultimate function of the product. Therefore, it is vital that throughout the design and manufacturing process the authenticity of the finished product is at the fore, regardless of the materials being used.”

Sustainability

New to the Surface Design Show in 2009 will be the ‘Green Surfaces’ zone. This new section within the show will showcase an extensive selection of the most visually inspiring, sustainable, recyclable and renewable materials available for contemporary building design. Devised in response to calls from the architectural and design industries, Green Surfaces promises to feature an impressive array of the most environmentally friendly products available in surface design.

Surface Design Show Event Manager Anita Gorny says: “During the 2008 Surface Design Show, we asked visitors what they most wanted to see more of and the number one request, by a large majority, was ‘a greater number of eco-friendly products’. So this year we have set up a dedicated section of the event that focuses exclusively on sustainable surfaces for the built environment. As a result, a number of new and returning exhibitors have already announced that they will use the Green Surfaces platform to launch their most innovative and sustainable designs. All of us at the Surface Design Show are extremely excited to see the inspiring creations and designs that our innovative exhibitors will be displaying and we’re telling everyone they must come and see for themselves.”

Sustainability and Innovation will also be the main theme for a series of seminar presentations to be run by BRE, which will provide a background to the Green Guide to Specification while focusing on particular surfaces, examining in detail their environmental performance.

Simon Guy, Marketing Director for BRE, commented: “BRE is delighted to have partnered with the Surface Design Show for the first time this year as part of the show’s focus on Green Surfaces. This event fits perfectly in to our wider campaign to deliver on our mission to 'Build a better world' and to that end BRE is hosting a comprehensive educational programme at The BRE Green Guide Theatre. This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved in sustainable development to come together under one roof and explore all that is new.”

Surface Innovations

Another brand new section within the show is ‘Surface Innovations’. This zone will focus on the latest stimulating materials and technologies emerging from the design industry today. This exciting new area promises to present revolutionary products for both internal and external surfaces. A number of the industry’s most creative manufacturers will be exhibiting their latest designs, including patination specialists Capisco, stretch ceiling providers Barrisol and solid-surfacing manufacturer Velstone.

Exhibitors

The Surface Design Show 2009 has attracted an exciting mix of new exhibitors as well as many of the favourites from previous shows, all of whom will be displaying their latest creative designs from the whole range of surfaces. Exterior facades will be on show through a number of companies including the Expanded Metal Company and first time exhibitor Twentinox, the Dutch architectural metal mesh specialist.

Also making their debut at the show are the innovative Finnish company Durat, who specialise in uniting design and recycling, as well as Glass Inspiration, the Austrian developers of laminated glass that can be manufactured for use in a wide range of interior applications. A number of visitor favourites will be returning to the Business Design Centre including the Italian tile specialists Graniti Fiandre, wall covering specialists Tektura and Muraspec, as well as Scottish interior specialists Grant Westfield.

As the show’s influence continues to rise, the number of international exhibitors is increasing, with companies from France, Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Germany and the United States all exhibiting.

Illuminating Surfaces

Following the success of its debut at the 2008 show, ‘Illuminating Surfaces’ will once again celebrate the important relationship between light and materials in building design. This section will showcase an inspiring selection of the latest and finest architectural, decorative and contemporary lighting as well as materials that either alter their composition with light or alter their luminosity, translucency and colour.

The Surface Design Show’s Event Manager, Anita Gorny, commented: “We are delighted with the progress and response for the forthcoming Surface Design Show. Since its debut in 2004, the show has grown in size and influence every year, with the 2008 show surpassing 5,000 visitors for the first time. As a result of this growth, we are able to offer visitors the greatest variety of features and exhibitors to date. There is a larger and more focused international presence than in previous years, new features including Green Surfaces and Surface Innovations, as well as a number of the leading surface designers and manufacturers introducing their newest products.”

The Surface Design Show 2009 features thousands of the latest and most imaginative products by more than a hundred of the world’s leading surface designers and manufacturers, helping to guarantee that the show remains a unique and must-see event for all architects, designers and specifiers.

Visitors can pre-register to attend the event for free by visiting www.surfacedesignshow.com

Email: anita.gorny@eme-uk.com


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