Grand Designs Live 2011: an explosion of colour

Never having had chance to visit Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, I was very excited to find out that our TV meetings (hoping these new ventures take off!) coincided with the 9 day property extravaganza which is Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs Live London at ExCel. I found it a great blend of interiors, sustainable design & build information, expert advice and food. There was so much going on! You can easily get around all the stands in a day, but on top of that there are seminars, cooking demos, masterclasses, along with tonnes of famous faces and experts on hand to answer your questions. We loved it!

As soon as we walked in, a kaleidoscope of colour hit us with LEDs illuminating a stack of chairs, basins and wheelbarrows above the central meeting area. Gone is boring beige and as at 100% Design in the past couple of years, a rainbow of shades saturated the show…..

Talking of chairs, how about these for multi-hued innovative? All folded away they hang up neatly on the wall then with a 20 second burst of origami, voila, a Flux chair! A pretty comfy one too, meaning this invention got the well deserved Grand Designs Product of the Year Award 2011. Perfect for those summer concerts in the park if you don’t want to get your bum wet on the grass 🙂

Colour was everywhere, from The Campaign For Wool’s stand where the huge letters O and L were vividly kitted and knitted:

…to Dulux’s rainbow stand where I diligently entered their competition to name a new colour – there’s me plumping for No 2, I better win!

From the Grand Show Gardens area which was filled with luscious planting, ok, not much colour, I admit it, I just want to show the chickens…. there’s a pink carpet, what more do you want?!

…. then along to the Grand Interiors Theatre, where interior stylist Zoe Brewer was giving tips on how to make a headboard against a gorgeous bubblegum pink backdrop….

Design expert Naomi Cleaver’s sets featured iconic interior pieces such as this Chesterfield snuggled into an eclectic and colour filled room. I adored the lighting at varying heights over the table, the different coloured glassware and the bench/chairs mish-mash. Let’s face it, I’m an #joyofhome fan through and through!

Even the sleek kitchen companies added some zing, if not to their doors, then at least to their glasswork. Delighted to see Ikea exhibiting even if I did think they could have gone a bit bolder with their layout choices. Super glam extra-thin work top on the Rossi Stone Surfaces stand too (second image below).

I’m surprised they didn’t give Phil Spencer shades for the acid brights of the jam packed Grand Theatre for his talk on the current property market, though he is used to the Aussie sun so maybe they figured he wouldn’t need ’em. He was witty, charming and informed, though I would have liked to know more of what his thoughts were on the current and future property market, however he was guided by the questions asked of him. Funny anecdote about Kirsty Allsopp throwing a Location contributors’s plug-in air-fresheners out of their window into the garden one winter. The crew knew of her loathing of them and usually picked them up but the deep snow hid the evidence. The homeowner found them when the snow melted…..oops!

Phil Spencer at Grand Designs Live 2011
Phil Spencer at Grand Designs Live 2011 – quite proud of this piccy although he does look like he’s singing My Way, sorry Phil.

Not a fan of plastic grass but liked the fun side to this stand:

I own one of these funky radiator stools by Cubed 3 Studio and absolutely adore it, but had only seen them in the birch faced plywood. Dammit, need an orange one now 😉

Finally piling up even more colour were Finnish textile and interiors company  Marimekko‘s stacked high cushions

As well as static exhibitor stands there was also ‘live’ stuff going on. The building below was constructed through the week and demonstrated sustainable building techniques. Fab that there were some #ladybuilders working on it a la Moregeous 😉

More to come later this week with another Grand Designs Live post  focusing on brilliant, unusual or funky design items which caught my eye.

2 thoughts on “Grand Designs Live 2011: an explosion of colour

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  1. Am addicted to Grand Designs. Total sin that UK building regs are like hundred years behind what should, and can be achieved – and also such a disconnect between what is available in shops for interiors on the high st which is mostly very dull and such brilliant and clever designs.

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