Trends 2014

UBM Built Environment in association with Global Color Research and Tektura Wallcoverings

Birmingham City University's Trends Exhibition held in May 2015 at May Design Series, ExCel, London has previous form.

Now in its seventh year, the Trends project has played a pivotal role in launching a number of award winning designers' careers including Gardener's World Show exhibitor, Suzi McLaughlin, and Jasmine Gilhooly, creator of JD’Cruz handbag range.

Hannah Malein, Colour & Trend Consultant Manager at Global Color Research™ said; “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to see our trends come to life in multiple materials and applications. The students can always be relied upon for new thinking and impressive outcomes, which is why we’re always so excited to see what new designs are revealed.”

BCU student and rising star Amy Newman, BA (Hons) Textile Design (Printed Textiles & Surface Design), whose design work was considered exclusively for Brintons Carpets to re-create her intricate leaf design into a carpet sample, was also awarded by Global Color for the best interpretation for her response to the Tropic trend.

Shuangyuan Zhang, BA (Hons) Textile Design (Print Textile & Surface Design), saw her geometric textile design used to upholster the s230 Flare Chaise by mrfDesign. Shuangyuan also won the Global Color award for ‘the best interpretation of the trend for her textile response to the Brink trend.

Angela Paterson, Marketing Director at Tektura made a special award to Sarah Meredith, BA, (Hons) Textile Design (Printed Textiles & Surface Design) for the ‘most innovative wallcover design’. Sarah’s design was voted overall winner by visitors to the Birmingham City University stand and was recognised as being ‘commercial and very workable’.

With the words innovative, exploratory, challenging and provocative all being used to describe both the students' interpretations of the Trends and the collaboration over-all, our partnership with Global Color Research™ and Mix Publications has provided new inspiration to drive forward trends prediction, representing a significant change in the way we embed trends and design development into the curriculum for interior, product and textile design. 2015's showcase, inspired by Global Color Research Spring/Summer 2016 trends Brink and Tropic, brought together two carefully crafted room sets, acting as platforms to showcase design concepts influenced by the classicism and heritage of Brink in contrast with the exuberant colours and diversity of Tropic.

The Trends project offers fresh inspiration and direction, without significant internal research and production development costs, providing an insight to interior manufacturers and interiors design specialists on how to innovate through student power – particularly beneficial within the current economic conditions.

Birmingham City University has brought together some 60 textile design students and challenged them to work in partnership with industry in demonstrating how product innovation and design inspiration can be formulated using this talented resource to create a range of textile, wall, floor and interiors solutions.

Joanna Birch, Director of Enterprise, Innovation & Business Engagement at Birmingham City University said; “Challenging our students, staff and partners to come up with brand new concepts which are fresh, engaging and new stretches the project and generates some truly innovative content. It’s this innovation which drives us and our partners to push the boundaries and is one of the most motivating elements of this showcase”.

“After 6 years of working with Birmingham City University on the trends showcase, we never cease to be surprised at the fresh ideas that each year brings. The standard of output grows each year, with new ideas, fresh approaches and innovative interpretations of our Trends. We value this partnership as a great example of how two organisations can bring greater value by working together.”

Carolina Calzada-Oliveira, Marketing Manager, Global Color Research™ and Mix Publications


As a result of UBM's continuing investment in the initiative, the concept has grown to become a key visitor attraction and PR vehicle for the show, resulting in added value for visitors, exhibitors and UBM partners.

The new directions students are able to take design in, through their unique trend interpretations, are reinforced throughout the body of work displayed at the exhibition providing industry professionals with new ideas and inspiration.

The Trends project is part of a wider programme of activity of engagement with industry, led by the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and supported by the Research, Innovation & Enterprise team. The 2014 project has created some exquisite collisions through links with Interiors & Lifestyle Futures, Brintons, Chad Lighting, MRF Design, Out of the Dark studio, Heraldic Pottery, Tiledspace and Rudd Macnamara.

Following the INTERIORS show we have continued to develop relationships with the companies we have engaged with, resulting in longer term projects with Brintons Carpets, exploring rug design and colourways. Out of the Dark, Tektura, Tiledspace and Rudd Macnamara will be delivering industry presentations to the Textile Students as part of the projects’ ongoing support to the students in terms of strengthening their industry awareness and employability skills.


  • Inspiration and new ideas for show visitors
  • Product development in a risk free environment
  • Talent recruitment
  • Opportunity to spark new relationships with the University and its talent pool (KTP’s for example)
  • Birmingham City University has been working with the May Design Series exhibition organiser UBM Live for the past seven years
  • The development of an eye-catching stand showcasing the student work on two trend pavilions featured in the national broadsheets and lifestyle magazines with a range of web coverage
  • The stand seen by a host of visitors (up to 50,000) generates about 200 specific enquiries and conversations about the students' work and future trends
  • Student work has been used in previous shows for each of the main hall entrances, VIP Lounge and Seminar Theatre with Birmingham City University branding providing additional unique features for the event organisers which is valued highly and provides students with a unique showcase for their work