Yesterday i had the great fortune of attending the Grand Designs Live exhibition at the Birmingham NEC. My day was filled of looking at new building techniques and architecture, tasting cheese and drinking experimental caramel vodka and laughing at my sister attempt to use a Power Plate.
The exhibition, based on the popular channel 4 show hosted by design guru Kevin McCloud, was split into several coloured sections that showed innovation in areas from kitchens and gardens to technology. I started of my exhibition adventure by walking round the Grand Build sector, this section was full of companies showing of their latest innovations in construction from light-weight floor joists to spray on fiberglass flat roofing. While this section was interesting, more for my sister who is a quantity surveyor and my dad who previously owned a loft conversion company, it was a tad boring for me as i don’t really have much interest in what most of the companies were showing. Although there were a few interesting stands, one Scottish company were showing off their new indestructible door that can withstand AK47s (i dont think many people in the UK have that kind of fire power) and has an ingenious key system that allowed you to give people keys to your establishment and choose when they can and can’t enter.
There was also a stand that was making money from the American downfall, showing properties that had been foreclosed and were selling for as little as £25,000. And these were not dilapidated properties, these were posh expensive houses. I walked around a bit more and ended up in Grand Kitchen and Bathrooms where i saw a copper bath, which is supposed to hold the heat for longer, and a bath that was rammed with technology and more shower heads than necessary. This section was more of an obstacle course holding me back from the best part of the show, Grand Food.
This section was amazing, trying experimental cheese, South African beef jerky and American buffalo burgers. I was in heaven, i tried everything that was put in front on me even if it didn’t sound nice. I ended up buying some blue vein organic brie and some cherry flavoured balsamic vinegar, which i had on ice cream when i got home, it was weird yet delicious. The rest of the exhibition was a bit of blur, i was drinking a lot of wine on my way round and that didn’t mix too well with the vodka and cider i was tasting at the stands.
The main event of the exhibition was at the Grand Village where they have people talking about new advances in architecture, unfortunately due to the number of people there i wasn’t able to grab a chair at the stage but i did manage to listen to them talk about the MVRDV and Mole Architects balancing barn.
I happen to have seen this project a few weeks back and knew quite a bit about it, which worked out in my favour when talking to the random pretty girls, they talked about the process of building a structure where more than 50% of it can float in free space.