Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returned to London ExCeL from 29th April – 7th May 2017, for its thirteenth year. With over 500 exhibitors spread across six key sections, spanning Build, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Technology, Gardens and Interiors; ExCeL was transformed into an inspiring hub for those looking to make home improvements on any scale. Once again hosted by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the nine day exhibition offered visitors the chance to explore the latest products and trends, and to gather insights and guidance for upcoming projects. A hot topic of conversation throughout the show was the march of eco-friendly ideas and products into the home.
Kevin McCloud said:
“It’s great to see one of the issues closest to my heart – one that should be central to the property and design industry – becoming more and more prominent in the public eye. Sustainability in design should run like a golden thread through the home; from building to interior decorating. It’s been better represented at this season’s show than we’ve seen before, and we hope to see that rise continue.”
Richard Harvey, Marketing Manager for Greenscape Energy Ltd, who provides renewable energy solutions across the country, said:
“This has been a fantastic show for us, we’ve seen a lot of people visiting with the specific intent of finding solar and other sustainable energy sources, so for us, in terms of targeted leads, the clientele for Grand Designs Live couldn’t be any better.”
Inspired by Kevin’s passion for pioneering, beautiful and eco-friendly product designs, Kevin’s Green Heroes featured a handpicked selection of the best new eco-innovations including Piñatex by Ananas Anam, a sustainable alternative to leather, made from pineapple leaf fibres, Recycled Silk by Meb Rure, a furniture collection of chairs, stools and ottomans, made from recycled silk, and DuraPalm, a palm-based plywood, panelling, flooring, veneer and lumber.
Popular newly launched products included the Egloo candle heater, found within Kevin’s Green Heroes, this small, 3D printed non-electrical heater can warm a whole room, using only candles; while Cradle to Cradle certified company Core Graphene had a fantastic premiere to the UK Market with their sustainable and robust shower trays, and due to demand from the show are now branching into custom orders. Trevor Smeaton, MD of Ihus, which also boasts green credentials, remarked on the show: “This has been an incredible show, the high-end nature of our products is perfect for the Grand Designs Live customers, we’ve placed orders and generated a lot of leads – and now looking forward to the Birmingham exhibition.” While Matthew Callingham, Director of Architecture Vision Systems said: “Once again, Grand Designs Live has proved to be the best show we go to for quality leads and to generate interest – we’ve already booked for next year!”
Kevin McCloud, joined by a host of industry experts, provided a wide-reaching range of informative talks at The Grand Theatre, sponsored by Airflow. The wide-reaching programme also featured several Grand Designers from the most recent TV series as well as ‘Celebrity Grand Designers’ sessions from Andrea McLean, Gethin Jones and Samantha Womack, giving visitors an insight into the self-build and renovations projects of the stars.
Seminar highlights from the wide variety of instructional and informative stages across the show included an upcycling master class from Max McMurdo, an interactive session on natural building methods and an introduction to Passivhaus design.
Grand Designs Live has always been an advocate of creativity and innovation in design, regardless of budget – a concept seen through the launch of 2017’s Self-Build on a Shoestring, run in collaboration with the NACSBA. This annual competition will see architects go head to head to design to this year’s brief of a ‘Retirement Community on a Shoestring’, with a budget of £40,000 per unit. The winner will be crowned at the next Grand Designs Live at Birmingham’s NEC in October 2017.
The Grand Room Sets competition celebrated stunning interiors, this year with the theme of ‘TV’. Six final designs were chosen from the pool of entrants with a diverse and creative range of themes; from Breaking Bad, to Homes By The Sea, to Game Of Thrones and beyond! Oaki Designs were awarded first place with their ‘Blackadder II’ themed room.
New feature for 2017, the Grand Shed Project, sponsored by AXA Insurance, provided shed-loads of inspiration to visitors, inviting five interior and garden designers from across the country, who transformed five standard-issue 8 feet by 10 feet woodenWalton’s sheds into stylish garden refuges, ranging from a Sewing shed to a bedroom. The competition, judged by Kevin McCloud, was won by Dappled Interiors’ unique and atmospheric creation, entitled ‘Reading Snug’.
Also in attendance at Grand Designs Live was Michele Roux Jr., who was present to launch new range, Roux Lifestyle Ltd. Renowned actor Warwick Davis, who is developing a self-build project of his own visited the exhibition looking for inspiration, and also working on a personal renovation, lifestyle expert Melissa Hemsley, of Hemsley + Hemsley said of the exhibition ‘We came to Grand Designs Live to source suppliers for our renovation project and have come away with loads of ideas and inspirations for the project! There’s an amazing selection of goods, helpful advice and a great atmosphere’.
The show offered an array of other great attractions, including:
- The ever popular Ask an Expert service, sponsored by Express Bi-folding Doors, returned with experts who offered free advice in every field, from architecture, to green-builds, interiors and much more.
- The Live Kitchen, sponsored by Miele For cooking buffs, featured top chefs showing audiences how to prepare delicious meals and take advantage of kitchen appliances in live demos; with master classes from the likes of Miele’s Executive Chef Sven-Hansson Britt, as well as a variety of cook-along’s with an array of chefs ranging in specialities from vegan, to gluten-free to zero-waste and much more.
Grand Designs Live will return to the NEC from 11 – 15 October 2017.