The Surface Design Show 2016 – Active’s Top Trends

This month, the Active team visited the Surface Design Show 2016 (SDS16) in order to discover some of the latest trends and innovation in surface design.

GEOMETRICS “Surfaces explore geometric formats to create endless possibilities…"

Held annually, the Surface Design show is known as the “home of innovative surfaces", showcasing a range of surface trends from over 150 exhibitors. Over a 3 day period the show welcomed an abundance of architects and designers from across the UK, offering seminars to discuss themes such as: health and wellbeing, office acoustics and biophilic Design.


So what trends did we see emerge at SDS16 …

Geometric design was a big trend seen at this year's Surface Design Show. Hex by Heliot& Co. tessellates hexagon tiles to create a patterned surface incorporating different textures and shades.

BIOPHILIC DESIGN “Organic materials bring nature indoors in a contemporary form…"

In recent years there has been an abundance of research into the benefits of organic material on health and wellbeing. Studies show that when used in office design, nature can have a positive effect on employees, promoting both productivity and an overall sense of wellbeing.

One great example of biophilic design spotted at the Surface Design Show was the preserved moss wall by Bright Green. The treated moss requires little maintenance after being preserved in its original state and is therefore an ideal way to introduce nature into the office.

COLOUR “The immersive effect of colour and light enhance interior spaces…"

This year at SDS16 we saw a range of bright and vibrant colours across a variety of different surfaces. The prismatic textured surface by Lumiscopic is a light responsive surface, enabling it to change colour in different lights and angles.


Bright flashes of colour can also be seen in the Applicate series (below) by Evan James Design. The vibrant use of colour here contrasts with the pale plywood adding to its 3D feel.

Colour trends are constantly changing in the world of design but from what we saw at the surface design show it would seem “the brighter the better" as a larger range of colours and shades are becoming available.


In office design, acoustics solutions are vital in combating noise pollution and avoiding distractions. In the image above we can see 5 varying acoustic solutions from the company Soundtect. These recycled polyester panels offer sound proofing as well as a design that is aesthetically pleasing, exploring different shapes and colours.

This is the work of RPG Europe who use a range of different materials and designs to diffuse or absorb noise.

With the problem of noise becoming more relevant than ever, designers are finding new and interesting ways to solve it.

So, what did we think of SDS16?

“I was amazed by the sheer amount of different surfaces to see at SDS16. It was a great opportunity to see a whole range of new and innovative ideas aimed at achieving a variety of different purposes as well as being aesthetically pleasing. It was interesting to see both existing and new trends that have developed over time and how these would form the future for surface design!" – Jennie Armley

Digital Marketing Apprentice.

For more of our favourites from the Surface Design Show 2016 take a look at our Pinterest Board.

Thanks for reading!

The Active team.