Innovation the driver behind brick cladding market

Julian Venus, Business Development Director at respected Aquarian Cladding Systems, says that innovation and sustainability shone at this year’s Offsite Expo 2023.

For any sector to properly grow, innovation must be at the forefront. And our visit to the Offsite Expo 2023 at the Coventry Building Society Arena has certainly reinforced that.

It’s always hugely beneficial to meet people from right across the entire sector and gain important insight into how the industry is thinking.

It was very exciting to see innovative brick cladding systems coming to market and it was clear that the brick cladding sector is where the innovation is coming from. Companies are investing heavily in brick cladding and the potential product innovations make for some really thrilling opportunities in the industry.

A sustainable shift

Sustainability was one of the big talking points across the two days when it comes to brick slips and the environmental credentials of products was of great interest.

The emphasis on sustainable innovation and decarbonisation is going to become an even bigger driver going forward for the brick cladding market as the demand for eco-friendly and aesthetically appealing construction solutions continues to rise.

There is clearly some quite exciting environmentally led product development going on in the market currently.


From an Aquarian Cladding perspective, when it came to innovation the star of the show was undoubtedly NaturAL-X and the exciting new range of finishes to the system that allow architects and designers to design with any brick, any colour and any texture.

The cutting-edge process uses a 3D scanning procedure and then a revolutionary technique that involves applying a liquid clay engobe to brick slips before firing and we had some of the digitally engobed brick slips on display which got a hugely positive reaction, with many visitors wanting to reach out and touch them while finding out more.

There is always interest in our MechSlip system architecturally too as it is the easiest first step into brick cladding because, instead of trying to match or get as close to the desired brick, it uses actual bricks so the same brick can be used.

As always Gebrik created a lot of discussion and still comes as surprise to many that a prefabricated brick slip system is supplied as panelised components, providing insulative qualities, that is mechanically fixed, and once pointed is indistinguishable from conventional brickwork, exists in the marketplace! It’s intelligent but not innovative, with over 40 years history of use.

For Aquarian, it is a hugely exciting time both in the brick cladding sector and within the business itself. Offsite Expo was another extremely valuable experience, and it has certainly backed that up with quality of conversations now being had because of the Expo.

A bright future

We were also proud to sponsor the Best Use of Hybrid Technology award at the Offsite Awards, and I was delighted to present the trophy on stage to the winners, Citu The Climate Innovation District.

Industry awards such as these are massively important to the future of the industry and can really help drive innovation year-on-year. It was great to show our support again, and congratulations to Citu The Climate Innovation District and all the finalists.

Aquarian’s brick cladding solutions, including Gebrik, MechSlip and NaturAL-X, have been used on many award-winning buildings. For more information, telephone 0808 223 9080, email or visit