Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returned to Birmingham’s NEC from 11th – 15th October 2017, for its twelfth year. With over 400 carefully curated exhibitors spread across six key sections; Build, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Technology, Gardens and Interiors; the NEC 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 five-day show offered visitors the chance to discover and experience the latest products and trends, and gather insights and inspiration for upcoming or planned developments.
Daren Newton, Event Director for Grand Designs Live said of the show ‘We have had an incredibly busy show, catering to every home design need and providing insightful advice for every visitor, along with new inspirational features and exciting brands. The renovations of kitchens and bathrooms have emerged as a key trend, with bigger budgets than ever being committed at the show. The quality of attendees has reaffirmed the show’s reputation as the place to visit to see the latest trends and innovations in self-build, design and interiors.’
Kevin McCloud commented; ‘The overall the feel and look of the show has been the best yet at the NEC, with very impressive stands from the exhibitors, demonstrating everything visitors could possibly need for a home build or renovation. Looking ahead to the ExCeL show (5 – 13 May 2018) we can look forward to the launch of even more new products and the showcasing of emerging brands, new designers as well as renewed Green Heroes.’
Kevin McCloud, joined by a host of industry experts, provided a wide-reaching range of informative talks at The Grand Theatre, sponsored by Airflow. A hot topic for the show was the subject of social housing, with Kevin taking the stage alongside property expert and TV presenter Kunle Barker to debate the issue of whether the UK needs ‘More Council Houses or More Grand Designs?’. The programme also featured several Grand Designers from the most recent 17th TV series as well as a wide variety of instructional and educational talks including a masterclass in ‘Doing More With Less’ from architect and TV Presenter Piers Taylor, and informative interior design tips and tricks from experts in the field, and judges on BBC 2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge, Sophie Robinson and Daniel Hopwood. Piers commented on the show; ‘Grand Designs Live is a key event for anyone building or renovating a house. They can speak to experts, to people who have done it before, they can get inspired and they can find everything they need to go into their own Grand Designs, under one roof!’
Also present at the inspiring event was a UK first – a brand new converted shipping container, on display from Help Bristol’s Homeless, who have pioneered the idea of adapting containers to provide a temporary home for those sleeping rough. Director of Help Bristol’s Homeless, Jasper Thompson, was on hand to tell visitors about the charity scheme, and was overcome by the public outpouring of support the project received; ‘being at Grand Designs Live has been a revelation for Help Bristol’s Homeless, we’ve received an unprecedented number of pledges for sponsorship of housing containers, as well as enthusiasm to get involved with our projects from all over the country, our vision of reducing homelessness could go national following the support we’ve seen at the show!’
Returning favourite feature Kevin’s Green Heroes, inspired by Kevin’s passion for pioneering, beautiful and eco-friendly product designs, featured a handpicked selection of innovations including Huskee Cup, a durable, reusable cup made from coffee husk, Claire Potter Design’s unique artistic lights made from recycled plastic bottles, eco-conscious natural building material Light Earth Blocks, and GIY Mycofoam, a Natural Mushroom® fire resistant and effective insulation product and Coffee Logs by Bio-Bean, a sustainable eco-friendly fuel source made from used coffee grounds, among others.
A new feature to the show, The Virtual Sandbox, allowed visitors to experience domestic and commercial architectural projects via fly-throughs and 360 degree views; while the Local Garden Deli showcased six bespoke wheelbarrow gardens, designed by local suppliers Becketts Farm, Beez Neez Honey, Cofton Nursery, Kingsheath Nursery, Tuckshop and Umberslade.
Popular newly launched products on show included Rationel, who showcased the new collection of FORMA and FORMAPLUS all-timber or aluminium-clad windows, while Bora’s premium cooktop extractor, Bora Professional 2.0, made its UK premiere, with a great response. Grohe’s UK debut of their Grohe Blue Home system, providing both chilled and sparkling water through one tap, was met with high demand, while celebrity chef Ed Baines, of Britain’s Best Dish fame, demonstrated the variety of culinary uses for Grohe’s Red Home boiling and hot water system.
While Richard Archer, owner of Quickgrass said, ‘this is our first ever consumer show and it’s been a fantastic way to get the word out to the public, and we’ve had an enormous amount of interest, so much so that, we’ve already rebook for next show!’ Returning exhibitor Sarah Barton from The Workshop Below commented ‘we’ve placed a lot of orders; Grand Designs Live is the best consumer show by far for us!’
Darren Long, Sales Manager for Internorm Windows UK Ltd. said ‘We’ve found the quality of leads is great at Grand Designs Live, and this year is no different! We’ve seen lots of visitors who are undertaking self-build projects and interested in our products.’
Visitor Jack Edwards from Birmingham commented, ‘We are currently planning a loft extension and have found lots of great ideas and useful companies we wouldn’t have found otherwise. The Ask an Expert section was extremely helpful and offered great advice. We have also bought several pieces for our home in the interiors section including a beautiful chandelier. Grand Designs Live has provided us with lots of inspiration and ideas.’
The Grand Room Sets competition, sponsored by AXA Insurance celebrated stunning interiors, drawing submissions from designers across the country; each presented a room inspired by a popular design trend. On display at the show was a selection of six, covering a variety of trends from ‘Modern Luxury’ to Rustic Botanics’ and beyond. The shortlisted rooms were judged by top Interior Stylist Sophie Robinson and Interior Designer Daniel Hopwood, with the overall winner was named as Lynne Lambourne of Love Nellie Designs with her up cycled lounge room.
Grand Designs Live has always been an advocate of creativity and innovation in design, regardless of
budget – a concept embodied by the announcement of the winner of 2017’s Self-Build on a Shoestring competition, run in collaboration with the National Custom & Self Build Association (NACSBA). This annual competition saw architects go head to head in designing this year’s brief of a ‘Retirement Community on a Shoestring’, with a budget of £40,000 per unit. London architecture firm Inglis Badrashi Loddo’s entry entitled ‘The Apple Yard’ was crowned the winner, and was awarded the £5,000 prize by Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud, at Grand Designs Live.
The show offered an array of other great attractions, including the ever popular Ask an Expert service, sponsored by Airflow, returned with an array of experts who offered free advice in every field, from architecture, to green-builds, interiors and much more.
Grand Designs Live will return to the London ExCeL from 5th to 13th May 2018 www.granddesignslive.com