Monday, 11 June 2007

Designs of Grandeur

It seems like the whole country has gone eco wild. Not a day goes by without me reading a newspaper or magazine about eco-friendly materials, energy saving methods and recycling. A few years ago, issues like these were considered naff and something only batty people like train spotters did but those days are over and the whole world along with Gordon Brown seems to be on a mission to save the earth. This weekend I attended Grand Designs LIVE with my house mates at EXCel; based on the very popular TV series which is presented by the even more popular Kevin McCloud and the magazine. Grand Designs LIVE is now today what The Ideal Home Show was in the 80s but a bit more edgier. The show was divided into six sections, GRANDBuild, GRANDInteriors, GRANDKitchens, GRANDBathrooms, GRANDGardens and DESIGN Shopping Arcade and visitors were treated to lots of FREE seminars hosted by the good and great of property and interior. There was Naomi Cleaver from Grand Designs: Trading Up, Sarah Beeny, presenter of Property Ladder, Diarmund Gavin who presented Home Front, Oliver Heath of Changing Rooms fame and of course Kevin McCloud. This year there was a special eco theme with a brand new eco feature which showed you how to reduce your carbon footprint and there was also a 'Going Green Trail' which helped you to locate companies offering products that are energy efficient, sustainable or which contribute to the 'Eco Challenge.' There was also a show house produced by Baufritz for us to browse through that was the first of its kind to be Carbon Positive. I thought it was ok although some of the interior designs were a tad bit bland.

The show was very enjoyable although it was heaving in there with loved up trendy couples carrying their eco friendly shopping bags. The exhibition itself was huge and even though I was moaning during the long journey about the organisers choosing EXCeL instead of Earls Court, the answer became apparent as soon as we got there. Grand Designs was every bit as grand as its name and took up the whole of the venue. There were also lots of freebies on hand like magazines and useful knick knaks for the house. We even got to meet the main man himself, Mr McCloud when he was signing books and took some pics. The show is definately worth attending if you are into property and design but I think the price of £14 in advance and £18 on the door is a bit steep especially as it includes nothing except entry into the premises and you had to pay £5.00 extra for a brochure.
Media 10 who produce Grand Designs LIVE expected around 50,000 visitors over the weekend so at £14.00/£18.00 a head they must have been raking it in. It would have been nice if they had included a brochure as well as a FREE copy of Grand Designs magazine with that price instead of employing sales staff to flog subscriptions to people. Still consumer trade shows are big money these days and if you can tie it into a TV show you are laughing and if you have a magazine as well then you will be rolling down to the bank. Look out for Property Ladder Live which comes to Birmingham this October.

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