Woolly fleece insulation, radiant cooling panels for the home, bulletproof glass, imaginative pocket doors, amazing staircases and the most enormous glass sliding doors. Is there any more diverse a collection of building products and ideas than at Grand Designs Live?
The October 2018 show at the Birmingham NEC proved another hit if the crowds on the Saturday were anything to go by. It’s an excellent part of UK Construction Week, and it complements the Build Show very well with its more consumer and self-builder appeal. But in a sense, that allows for a more eclectic mix, with self-builders in particular having a greater appetite for risk-taking and originality.
The appeal of sliding and bi-folding doors never wanes and there were excellent displays at Grand Designs Live from the likes of Centor, ID Systems and Klöber. All showed the potential for using large single spans of glass to create a contemporary look with maximum natural daylight. There definitely seems to be a shift in popularity towards the big sliding doors, which are visually stunning with their slim profiles, and in some cases virtually frameless, as Maxlight effortlessly demonstrated.
Admirable originality and innovation came in solutions for a diverse range of applications. Stand-outs included the Radiana cooling panels which provide radiant cooling by acting as a heat exchanger between the room and the cold water running through the panels. According to their website, the ceiling absorbs heat from sources in a room and exchanges it to chilled water circulating through panels. The chilled water is then delivered to a chiller and re-cooled.
And then there was Agadon radiators. Their collection of contemporary and traditional radiators was impressive, but the eye-catcher was their glass picture radiators. These allow for any image to be printed onto the glass which provides an interesting look – the ability to disguise the radiator or make a feature of it opens up great design possibilities. For businesses, this would be a great way to prominently display a logo or brand image within an office or consumer-facing space.
Finally, on the innovation front, Kevin’s Green Heroes provided some really interesting new ideas. It was great to see British Wool being used in the manufacture of natural insulation products, and of course, carpets. In a hall featuring all manner of smart technology and products that have only emerged over the last 50 years, it’s comforting to know that nature’s own building materials can still hold their own in a world seeking ever greater sustainability.
Here’s to Grand Designs Live 2019!