A Celebration of Self-Build at Grand Designs Live for 2019

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, closed its doors on the 15th edition of the show

Hosted once again by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show was packed with over 500 carefully curated brands, affording visitors the chance to discover current trends, and explore the latest technologies and designs across Build, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Gardens and Interiors.

This May’s edition was one of the most exciting, engaging and informative to date, with a heavy focus on Sustainability and Self Build, in line with National Custom and Self Build Week, in association with NaCSBA. With numerous talks offering advice surrounding the issues that those embarking on a self-build project may face; visitors were able to speak to a host of exhibitors showcasing products and services for projects, as well as gain first-hand advice from the self builders from Grand Designs, and Grand Designs: The Street. Visitors were also invited to view unmissable expert panel discussions on the topic such as Busting The Myths of Self Build.

For the very first time, visitors to the show had the chance to watch a live build take place, Studio Bark created a home using the revolutionary U-Build concept they developed with help from Structure Workshop and Cut and Construct. In addition to being able to watch the construction grow each day, attendees took part in assembling components that will be used in the final build. Part of this revolutionary technology is the ability to view a complete structure with AR; andg Fologram AR headsets showed visitors the plywood U-Build stand in its finished state. The U-Build building process is a revolution in construction, providing a robust and affordable self-build solution which can be assembled by a small team, using basic tools as demonstrated in Grand Designs: The Street.

To coincide with National Custom and Self Build Week, Grand Designs Live launched the Self-Build Clinic, located within the popular Ask An Expert area, which gave visitors the opportunity to get advice from members of NaCSBA about their upcoming home projects. Those looking for advice on everything from Kitchen Design to self-build and Interiors, the Design & Build Forum hosted an array of industry experts each day of the show. While the Grand Theatre saw talks, seminars and panel discussions covering a variety of self-build topics from a ‘Roadmap to Self-Build’ to ‘Take The Fear Out Of Financing Your Build Project’. Panel members included representatives from the pioneering self-build community Graven Hill, Editor of Grand Designs Magazine, Karen Stylianides and TV presenter Kunle Barker.

Housing Minister, MP Kit Malthouse joined Kevin McCloud onstage on Thursday 9th May for a discussion on the housing crisis; together they explored how custom and self-build homes can support the UK’s housing market’s sustainability goals. Malthouse said ‘In the projects of self-build that I have seen the sense of ownership and community that comes from self-build homes is incredible. Self-Building means taking responsibility for your own home, and all aspects of designs and construction .It means that self-builders can choose to reduce bill costs in the long run by investing in eco-friendly/passivhaus systems, which should in turn accelerate the movement towards reduction of carbon/use of fossil fuels in the housing market.’

Kevin McCloud comments further; ‘'I have always believed that self-build can deliver a better and greener build, with lower costs than anything the market can offer; but the general public see self-build as a scary, expensive, protracted and difficult undertaking. Grand Designs Live, along with National Custom and Self Build Week are helping to clarify the reality of self-build, alleviate the inevitable stress, show people just how much professional support there is out there and bust the myths surrounding this incredible opportunity to build a dream home.’

Richard Morey, UK Managing Director for Media 10 said of the show The content we have featured throughout the show this season has reflected the change in our priorities, as a company, as well as our visitor’s priorities; not only are they interested in hearing about designs, and home inspiration, they want factual information on how to go about creating their own dream homes. The popularity of seminars relating directly to the steps toward self-build have been hugely popular, and the press and public interest in National Custom and Self Build Week has been phenomenal; we hope that by partnering with NaCSBA, as well as other self build authorities such as HUS and Graven Hill, we can continue to educate our visitors on this exciting, and rapidly developing topic.’

A brand-new addition to the 2019 London show was the Upcycling Hub; focused on the art of upcycling, this platform for talented upcycling designers allowed visitors to purchase or commission artisan pieces as well as gain an insight into this sustainably-sourced craft through live demonstrations.

Also new to London 2019 was the Under The Stairs Project, which saw a competing series of 8 installations each imagined by a different interior designer, encompassing totally different themes, to produce a myriad of unique, individual uses for the space under the stairs in the modern home. Ranging in use from a gaming room, to a spa-like sanctuary, to a photography development studio, these small spaces each made a statement. Judging took place at the show and Chloe Spillett of Chloe Gets Creative was named the overall winner with her under the stairs Kids Clubhouse.

Championing Britain’s exciting wealth of emerging design talent, new feature Design Discovered showcased six emerging enterprises, each chosen by Design Editor of Homes & Property at the London Evening Standard, Barbara Chandler, who has an extensive record of fostering new UK design talent. The brands included Troo Studio, Sam Lander, Majeda Clarke, Giggy & Babb and Aese from House Of Hopstock. Each brand was given a bursary, enabling them to tell their stories at the show, and to exhibit and sell their crafts.

The increasingly popular eco feature Kevin’s Green Heroes was once again hugely successful with press and visitors alike all got a look at the latest innovations for homes. With chairs made from recycled plastics to cloth made from old cassette tapes, and stunning lighting by Tala, the line-up of sustainability and eco talent at this year’s show was phenomenal Expanding its eco-ethos Grands Design Live will work with returning Charity partner for 2019, Friends of The Earth who launched a brand-new movement the ‘Green Finger Campaign’. Wildlife Forest at the exhibition, showing visitors how and where to create wildlife friendly environments in whatever outdoor space available to work with. Visitors were invited to pinpoint where they live, producing a visual fingerprint heat map of where people are supporting the cause, and were encouraged to take free wildflower seeds away with them to plant and create their own wildlife friendly environment.

Brands on show at Grand Designs Live 2019 included Anglian Home Improvements, Kloeber, Grabex Windows, Internorm, Joined & Jointed, Starlight Pools, RSPB, ILVE, Timber Focus, LexusBora and Fisher & Paykel to name but a few. Many brands chose the occasion to unveil new products to the consumer market, with Scavolini, Charlie Caffyn, and Uncommon Projects all launching new products or services at the show. New brand, JointKit debuted their innovative ‘flat pack building system in a box’ at the show, drawing much interest from self-builders. While Lutron launched the brand-new RA2 Select to the consumer market for the first time.

Rob Nathan, Marketing Director for Media 10 said, ‘We have had a really busy show, catering to every aspect of home design and build providing useful advice for our visitors, along with inspiring features and exciting brands.’

Grand Designs Live will return to the NEC from 9-13 October 2019