This year's Grand Designs Live, supported by Homes & Property, is an enlarged 6th edition of the show, with over 500 exhibitors.
As usual Kevin McCloud (right), who presents the TV programme of the same name, is the driving force. He is an eco-activist of the first order, and at the show the buildings, products, demos and seminars all reflect his environmental passions.
Indeed this year you can see ten of McCloud’s personal “green heroes,” and vote for the one you think is best. On the list are a fabric made from nettles, cardboard furniture, insulating blinds and solar panels.
Other celebrities at the show include architect and TV presenter George Clarke, Irish garden designer Diarmuid Gavin, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, eco-architect Oliver Heath, and many more faces from the media.
The ambitious “grand village” has four full-scale buildings. “See their green credentials up close,” says McCloud, introducing houses built from recycled materials, which are energy-saving and comfortable. In particular visit the Cub House, the UK’s first carbon-neutral “module”, which meets code five on the government’s eco scale for sustainable homes (code six is the best).
Ask the experts
Home improvements will top most visitors’ agenda. There is an “expert advice centre” for free one-to-one sessions, and an “eco-living theatre,” with events that feature insulation, triple glazing, solar PV cells and tiles, LED lighting and more.
There will be a continuous programme of celebrity presentations at the central seminar theatre, with more “live theatres” for design, building, and cooking.
The Miele “experience” presents 18 top chefs dishing out recipes and cooking tips, plus an area to road-test appliances. Kitchens and bathrooms share a separate section.
The “House of the Future” by Philips has new wafer-thin OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) lighting. Witness the latest marvel of WiPower “wireless electricity” which may one day get rid of bulky plugs and tiresome flexes. More futuristic gadgets with remote and touch controls will be shown in prototype.
For shopping, the Design Arcade is full of emerging designers. Watch out for exclusive wallpapers, glowing recycled glass, contemporary wooden radiator covers, and sleek modern furniture. In the Gallery are room settings for more design inspiration.
More features include a beautiful garden with fantastical tree-top houses (www.highlifetrees.co.uk) and a garden office in a wooden sphere (www.archipod.co.uk). The wildlife area will contain working beehives, and the Cuprinol Tea Party will serve high tea.
* Grand Designs Live, supported by Homes & Property is at ExCel, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16, from Saturday 1 May until Sunday 9 May 2010.
Special two-for-one ticket offer
Evening Standard readers can take advantage of this special offer to book two tickets for the price of one*, saving up to £18 off the door rates. Kids aged 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying adult.
To book, simply call the hotline on 0844 581 0771 or book online at www.granddesignslive.com and enter the special discount code EVEST2.
* Terms and conditions:
Two for one offer based on the door rates (two tickets for £18 for weekend/Bank Holiday Monday or two tickets for £15 for weekday). Transaction fee applies.