The Surface Design Show, set to take place at London’s Business Design Centre from 7-9 February 2023, has announced that the theme of its upcoming edition will be “Shaping Communities.” The theme aims to improve the built environment for all through collaboration and meaningful design solutions.

The theme explores an open dialogue among industries and brands with the common goal of building stronger relationships between people and places. The role that our built environment plays within society should inspire new conversations where human experience and a community’s identity are paramount.


The show will highlight how fundamentally important design decisions truly are, not simply for creating aesthetically pleasing areas, but for understanding how our surroundings hold the ability to evoke emotional responses, and uncovering how a space can enhance your productivity and mental well-being. As much as places need to have a positive impact on people, how buildings affect the environment must also be considered with sustainable practice being imperative to both design and outcomes.

Surface Design Show Features

The Main Stage located on the mezzanine level of the show will play host to over 40 speakers during the 2½ days of the Show. Several sessions including Tuesday evening’s Opening Night Debate will focus on the topic of Shaping Communities. Located at the heart of the show and a recurring highlight of the exhibition Surface Spotlight Live features innovative and tactile material for visitors to touch and feel, providing a hands-on experience for architects and designers.

Curated by trend and colour expert Sally Angharad, Surface Spotlight Live explores the narratives underpinning aesthetic choice, material selection and design ethos. The 2023 selection for Surface Spotlight Live highlights the importance of community and will encourage new exchanges between surfaces as well as industry sectors.

One of the highlights of the show is the enhanced natural stone section in the Stone Gallery, which will encompass pavilions from Great Britain and Italy. This section will give attendees the opportunity to see and touch the latest in natural stone materials and designs.

In addition, the show will also feature a New Talents section, where attendees can meet up-and-coming designers who are bringing innovation and creativity to the sector. Another important feature is Surface Spotlight Live, an area of innovative and tactile materials for visitors to touch and compare.

The show will also feature the Surface Design Awards, which celebrate excellence in surface design. This year, the awards received 130 entries, with the finalists being announced during the show.

Retail designers should take note of the significance of surface design in shaping the overall appearance and atmosphere of a retail space. The materials, finishes and textures used in the built environment play a vital role in evoking emotions and reactions in customers, such as creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere or a sense of luxury and exclusivity. By understanding the psychological impact of various surfaces, retail designers can develop spaces that not only look good but also emotionally connect with customers.

The correct choice of surface materials can make a space more durable, easy to clean and resistant to wear and tear. Additionally, the use of sustainable materials can make a retail space more environmentally friendly, which is becoming increasingly important for many consumers.

Surface design also plays a crucial role in branding and differentiation. Retail designers can use surface design to create a unique and memorable brand identity that stands out from the competition. From the materials used to the colour palettes, patterns and textures, surface design can be a powerful tool for creating a distinct and memorable brand image.

The Surface Design Show, is set to take place at the Business Design Centre in London from 7-9 February 2023. So, mark your calendars and visit the Surface Design Show to register for free entry.