Inspirational Companies Exhibiting at The Surface Design Show

Feb 10, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

This year’s Surface Design Show at the Business Design Centre had some wonderful exhibitors. To view the whole list and see for yourself the SDAwards go to This blog is about the ones that stood out for me, and the stand of Sterling Studios with their exquisite Eglomise Glass bespoke panels immediately attracted my attention. The first and second photos show examples of their work. According to Sterling Studio’s website,, Verre Eglomise is named after Jean-Baptist Glomy, a French 18th century frame maker to Louis XVI. The technique of making these beautiful designs consists of laying gold or silver leaf on glass, then engraving the design, let’s say a bird in a tree, and applying colour to it, which will show through the engraved areas. The painting is then backed by glass or foil. Most eglonise glass can be toughened or laminated and can be used not just as decorative panels for drawing rooms, but in kitchens or bathrooms too. Stunning!

Atelier Sedap Optelma was a stand at the show that literally shone out for me. Their range of microblade plaster lighting products in particular caught my eye. These can be recessed into a wall or ceiling which is a wonderful, creative way to seamlessly introduce light effects in a room. The linear modules or curved profiles can be fitted into most standard walls as they have a 56mm profile. Once recessed into a wall, they are designed to be plastered in and painted, thus becoming part of the wall or ceiling. If you love the effect of framing a wall or a ceiling with light, creating a shadow gap in the ceiling, or creating a wash down lighting effect from the top of your curtains, Atelier Optelma will have a profile already designed to help you achieve this.

I never thought I would be advocating false plant material, but seeing the ‘living’ walls created by Bright Green has converted me. Even close up these replica ‘living’ walls are astonishingly realistic. Each one is carefully made of several different plant types, and being replicas there is no watering required, and their lifetime is indefinite. UV stable foliage made out of wire coated plastic is used for the exterior panels, which are perfect to hang in a light well or a small courtyard, and the interior panels are made from polyester silk on an MDF board. The boards look best if framed so that you won’t see the workings of the design from the sides. To my mind they are excellent value at under £500 plus VAT per panel.

Century Stone specialise in stone cladding - both natural stone and manufactured stone. The manufactured stone looks so believable that it took me by surprise. It comes in many different finishes and different colours. The benefits of manufactured stone are both economical and in the difference of the weight of the stone, which is much lighter than natural stone. The manufactured stone will cost at least 1/3 less than real stone, and the lightness of the stone means that the installation is much more straight forward, requiring less support and installation costs. So if budget is central to your project, why not consider viewing Century Stones products. The last photo is not a new idea I know, but an existing idea done so incredibly well, I felt this company had to be mentioned. False bookcases can make a narrow space feel wider, adding perceived depth to the walls and they also make wonderful ‘hidden’ doors. Why are these bookcases so different? DecBooks cast the book spines from genuine 18th and 19th century books, and then each book is individually coloured, gilded and waxed. Now that explains why they look so beautiful!