Inspiring, Innovative New Brands and Content at Grand Designs Live
Grand Designs Live returned to London ExCeL for the first time since 2019 and closed its doors on Sunday 8th May after a hugely successful edition attracting over 76,000 visitors across the nine days.
Hosted once again by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show was packed with hundreds of carefully curated brands, offering visitors the chance to discover current trends, and explore the latest technologies and designs across the five main sectors of the show: Build, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Gardens and Interiors.
Kevin McCloud commented, “It’s good to be back! I love the change in exhibitor profile, with many new businesses some of which have grown in lockdown. The content on offer at the show has also reflected the change in our priorities, not only are visitors interested in hearing about designs, and home inspiration, they want factual information on how to go about creating their own dream homes and sustainable living.”
This May’s event was one of the most exciting, engaging and informative to date, with a focus on new pioneering products across the housing industry, in everything from building materials to interior furnishings and everything in between.
Launching at Grand Designs Live was Knotwood, a modular aluminium product for decking, cladding, fences and shutters, that come in a range of wood grain finishes. Made from 100% aluminium the products are non-combustible, durable and require minimum maintenance, Darren Galway, Owner, Knotwood said “we came to Grand Designs Live to build brand awareness, as a new launch to the UK. The response has been fabulous, we have spoken to over 250 interested customers, and given our information to hundreds more, we will back next year”
A myriad of brands on show, across the range of different sections allowed visitors to discover architects, building suppliers, kitchen and bathroom designers as well as unique bespoke furnishings and designs alongside original pieces of artwork and much more. Brands included Breezehouse, Drutex Minima Sliding Ltd, Frameless Glass Curtains, Hanse Haus, Mobili Domani, Adventures in Furniture, Joined + Jointed, Uropa Design, London Reclaimed and British Design Shop.
Companies showing within Grand Kitchens and Bathrooms included, BORA, Kuchen, Quooker and Point 5.
Independent bespoke kitchen company, Point 5 Kitchens, who specialise in bespoke, contemporary furniture had a successful show. Founder, Joe Kardni commented “Our first weekend was very busy, we have had an excellent show, resulting in high quality serious leads. Visitors definitely have live projects on the go and have been coming with their house plans ready to purchase their new kitchen, or have since emailed them to us, confirming appointments in our showroom. We have already booked and look forward to coming back next year.”
Daniel Baldock of Life Kitchens commented “It is always worth being here, there is a return on your investment in terms of money and time. Visitors to Grand Designs Live are interested and serious about build and renovation. We have generated lots of leads that will be great for our business and rebooked for next time “
Andy Tymkow from kitchen designers and manufacturers Unit Eight said “this is our first time at Grand Designs Live, it has been a great show for us, generating a lot if genuine leads with serious customers, it has also been a enjoyable experience.”
New to the show, the Upcycling Hub, in partnership with The House of Upcycling, drew in crowds offering a collective of unique designers who are experts in turning objects into beautiful furniture. The area brought together designers such as Glasshouse Girl, Orange Otter Design, No.21 Bespoke Interior, Bromog Custom Works, Blu Avery, A Twist of Somerset, Webb & Gray plus many more.
Visitors had the opportunity to talk with the artisans and view two styled room sets which consisted of professionally upcycled art, furniture, lighting, and home accessories – all of which were available to buy at the show, while an insight into their craft could be seen through live demonisations on stage.
Another popular feature at the show, the Working from Home Project sponsored by Crown Paints, saw five talented interior designers bring their ideas to life turning a small space into a multi-functional working environment. Giving a flavour of the colours, textures and innovative concepts included in their home working spaces, the five finalists displayed stylish and practical ideas and solutions at the show, designed to inspire. Judges for the competition, including Kevin McCloud, Karen Stylianides Editor of Grand Designs magazine, Chrissi Baldwin from Crown Paints, Helen Davies
Property Editor of The Times and The Sunday Times and Matthew Freeman President Elect of The British Institute of Interior Design, announced Hannah Challis of Playhaus Interiors the overall winner who combined all the elements of a busy family and work life.
The Grand Theatre, sponsored by DFS hosted numerous talks and panel discussions covering a broad range of home, interior, custom and self-build topics from extensions to sustainability in the building industry and much more. Alongside Kevin McCloud; Property Expert, Writer and Broadcaster, Kunle Barker also hosted the stage across the nine days. Daily talks included the popular ‘Meet The Grand Designers’; which saw different home owners from past and present series of the popular TV show on which the exhibition is based.
A key session, ‘The Big House Debate’, saw a panel including Housing Minister Richard Bacon MP, Andrew Baddely-Chappell from NACSBA, James Warrender from Homes England, Kevin McCloud and Kunle Barker, discuss what the future holds for self and custom build housing. Richard Bacon, who has been responsible for driving self-build legislation through Government, championing self-build for 10 years, wants to make it normal for consumers to commission their own house. As it becomes harder to find plots, Richard believes we need to make plots available to create competition and choice for consumers, he commented “I want to put the consumer back in charge. It will drive up standards and we’ll get more homes built within the realm of what people can afford.”
The panel discussed how local authorities need to offer a standardised system and make plots available on a national level. Kevin McCloud commented “Most self-builders build a better-quality house at a better price than buying a new house. Self-build is a cheaper way to get a better and greener house.”
Another popular talk included ‘How to get 400% efficient home heating’ with BBC Climate Editor Justin Rowlatt, who explained the efficiency of heat pumps. Using dramatic on-stage experiments to explain the extraordinary science that every unit of energy you put in you get four units of heat out.
Always a huge success with visitors to the show, Ask an Expert, was booked out throughout the nine days. Specialists from a range of fields including architects, interior designers, landscape gardeners, eco and planning experts were available for one-on-ones with visitors. Many brought plans, drawings, and budgets along to the meetings and gained useful tips, tricks and ideas from their sessions.
Richard Morey, Director of Media 10 said of the show “We are excited to be back to ExCeL, 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.”
“The content we have featured at this show has also reflected the change in our visitor’s priorities, not only do they want to hear about designs, but they want to know how to reduce carbon footprints, reduce energy costs and their negative impact on the world.’
The next edition of Grand Designs Live will take place from 5-9 October 2022 at NEC Birmingham.