Editor Alys Bryan Speaks with her Design Legends at Surface Design Show 2024

I’m Alys Bryan, Managing Editor of Design Insider, and this year I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen to host the Legends Live series at the Surface Design Show. This opportunity is an honour, a chance to engage in meaningful dialogues with the pioneers and influencers who’ve not only shaped our industry but have also played a pivotal role in my professional journey.

Register for Surface Design Show 2024 here

Alys Bryan, Editor of Design Insider, media partner of Commercial Interiors UK 

Selecting Legends Live guests has been a reflective process, where I’ve looked back at my career and identified those whose influence has been monumental. It’s incredibly rewarding to host discussions with people who have impacted my path and have left a lasting impression on the design landscape.

Matthew Hilton, Designer and Sculptor at Matthew Hilton Studio

My journey into design began in 2003 at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (BCUC), where I was awarded a BA Hons in Contemporary Furniture Design. The course was rooted in conceptual design, under the guidance of active designers including Carl Clarkin, Alex Hellum, Gitta Gschwendtner, and Fiona Davidson. Matthew Hilton served as our external examiner, his work at the time exemplifying the design priorities of the era; a focus on functionality, commercial viability, ease of production, and distinctive character. Has the design landscape shifted since then? Matthew’s Balzac chair quickly became a design icon, capturing not only the qualities mentioned but also mirroring the public’s enthusiasm for contemporary residential design.

Tom Lloyd, Co-Founder of Pearson Lloyd

Following my MA in furniture design, I joined a leading UK commercial furniture manufacturing, where I spent eight years including six as Design Manager. When starting the position I had little understanding of the specific requirements of the commercial sector and therefore my success in this role was larging informed by research and learning through the work of leading commercial designers including Pearson Lloyd. Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson’s designs, throughout the 25 years of their design partnership, has deeply influenced the commercial furniture landscape. Tom’s dedication to understanding and meeting the nuanced needs of the sector has been a source of inspiration.

Gurvinder Khurana, Director at M Moser Associates

I joined Commercial Interiors UK (formerly the BCFA), and later became the Editor of online magazine Design Insider in 2018. Working with visionaries such as Gurvinder Khurana has been enlightening. Her expertise in workplace interior design and her commitment to sustainability have been instrumental in shaping our content and discussions, pushing the envelope on critical industry topics. Gurvinder’s generosity in sharing her expertise is extremely refreshing and sets a standard for skill sharing and transparency that our sector, and the media, benefit from hugely.

What my three legends have in common is a drive to push boundaries, and it is this aspect of their design approach that we will explore on the Surface Design Show stage.

Alys Bryan will be in conversation with Matthew Hilton, 8th Feb 2024, 11:25-12:15

After an extensive career as a furniture designer Matthew Hilton is pushing his creativity and breaking free from the confines of product-specific work.  We will discuss his long-held interest in sculpture, the freeing nature of this new creative focus, his intuitive approach to material selection for his sculptures, and how his expanded creativity sits within one studio space providing a setting for both design and sculpture.

Alys Bryan will be in conversation with Tom Lloyd, 7th Feb 2024, 13:00-13:30

Last year Tom Lloyd, and the Pearson Lloyd team, also expanded the boundaries of their design practice, utilising their established brand as a platform to forge new design and production models which affectively address sustainability. They posed challenging questions and invited the commercial design community to join them in exploring and determining the answers. In our conversation Tom will expand on last year’s materiality focus to encompass de-materiality, questioning how circularity can be effectively delivered, asking whether new aesthetic values are required within our interior spaces, and challenging the role terminology including ‘greenwashing’ plays on our success in addressing the climate crisis.

Alys Bryan will be in conversation with Gurvinder Khurana, 7th Feb 2024, 16:45-17:10

For many years interior designer Gurvinder Khurana has advocated for the commercial sector to actively invest their time and expertise in delivering sustainable projects. Through her role as Director at prominent global studio M Moser Associates, she continues to lead the conversation on sustainability and drive change. Whilst maintaining her drive for sustainable change Gurvinder is aware that there are also other important issues which deserve a platform. We will use our conversation as a platform for discussion on diversity and equality, considering what an equitable sector and workplace could look like, and outlining the steps which could be taken to lead change.

Surface Design show has gifted me and my audience the unique opportunity to engage with three legends, each embodying the spirit to challenge the norm within the design and commercial sector. Their stories, insights, and the boundaries they are pushing enrich our understanding and compel us to reflect on our own practices and beliefs. Through Legends Live, my guests and I will celebrate their convictions for change whilst inviting our readers to challenge themselves!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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