Grand Designs Live – London ExCel
Kevin McCloud was back for Grand Designs Live this May with the annual must-visit show for aspiring renovators and self-builders.
The huge exhibition, taking place at London’s ExCeL, showcases more than 500 brands, split into five sections — Build, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Gardens and Interiors. It also hosted this year the “Technology Trail” for smart-home enthusiasts featuring everything from the latest innovations in app-controlled lighting to voice-controlled taps, even a fork that encourages mindful eating.
In the ever present and growing demand for holistic living, recycling and green energy, they showcased a new ‘Architectural Salvage’ section, featuring everything from refurbished fridges and radiators, restored floor tiles and lighting to entire kitchens.
In an interview with ‘Homes & Property’ magazine McCloud says “This new feature is bringing together unique products and also inspiring inventive use; there’s no-one better than people working in the salvage industry to show visitors how to work with existing materials, and re-claim everything from bricks to wooden panelling. The salvage industry has got more and more exciting, it’s a thriving industry and a very important one today“.
As a continued initiative set out at the 2018 show to reduce the usage of single-use plastics; the purchase of bottles from all in-show catering points along with the distribution of plastic straws was prohibited. Cutlery and show goody bags were also replaced with biodegradable alternatives and visitors to the show were encouraged to use refillable bottles and water points at the cafes dotted around the enormous exhibition hall.
As for the show itself, we saw the usual split of innovative solutions, not quite ready for market, but promoting curiously unique takes for how to solve our everyday problems, along side the more mundane and blunt sales of established products trying to blend in as new and exciting additions for your next home renovation.
Grand Designs still stands a side as one of the most popular and approachable exhibitions to attend in the huge list of events at the ExCel and other venues across London this year, and while it’s great to see a push for better and more thoughtful living, one couldn’t be blamed for coming away a little under whelmed by a lack of true innovation and an overwhelming layer of ‘eco-friendly’ design that quite frankly has been emerging for at least a decade.