The show was divided into sections, specifically Grand Gourmet, Grand Interiors, Grand Build, Grand Kitchens and Bathrooms and Grand Gardens. A new section was also provided for Grand ‘Off the Grid’ exhibitors. Each section featured the top brands and designers in their field who were willing and ready to impart their expert advice.
This year’s show also featured a 3D Whirlpool tunnel, a towering DIY theatre, a brand new ‘tree house’, a beautiful garden pavilion and a Design Arcade. The overriding theme was ‘up-cycling’ which, according to event director Sandra Barrow is aligned to the on-going move towards using natural materials and re-purposing older objects.
Explains Barrow: “Up-cycling is now a major trend which has resulted in unique, once-off pieces and offers a gentle reminder that we should embrace and celebrate our past and not succumb to a disposable, ‘always-now’ culture.”
In the Grand Build section, European aluminium window and door manufacturer Fenster strutted its stuff alongside Sheergaurd which had a range of the world’s strongest transparent burglar bars and gates on display. Steelform brought a collection of unique metal art screens and panels to the show and Solahart’s stand was buzzing with people interested in investigating solar water heating options.
In the Grand Interiors section, Speedheat showed off its elegant energy saving under-floor heating options, Ducko’s exquisitely soft duck down products stand was doing a brisk trade, Zebbie’s Lighting stand was lit up by an array of functional and delicate lighting products and German Design Haus exhibited a range of upmarket kitchen, wardrobe and home finishes from Germany and Italy.
Forest Flooring also had examples of its quality wooden flooring and decking options on display as did the Forest Collection which showcased some of their simple yet beautiful French Oak furniture, a number of which have been named after members of the royal family.
Also at the Interiors node was Eldamer Crystals which specialises in magnificent crystal chandeliers, lighting, tiles and door knobs. Only genuine Swarovski and Asfour crystal is used by Eldamer which advises people against cheap imitation products incorporating cut glass from China. Over time such products lose their shine and turn yellow. At present Eldamer’s products are being favoured by estates which typically feature double volume homes capable of housing large-scale chandeliers.
Hasten’s Luxury Beds which hail from Sweden also had a presence at the Interior’s node. With prices ranging from R80 000 to R370 000 per handcrafted bed, you’d think sales would be few and far between. Not so says Hasten’s Kobus Wilmans who says despite a sluggish economy, sales are up. Indeed, the ‘Vividus’ bed, ‘the most luxurious bed in the world’ is in high demand.
Trade Secret which imports a wide range of aspirational furniture also had a stand at the Interiors section. Alex Cresswell -Turner, Director of Trade Secret says there’s a huge shift towards reclaimed and organic furniture and that home owners are looking to create a more eclectic look. Duck egg blue is also very much in vogue he says, as are fresh, neutral colours which are calming and cool.
In the Grand Gardens corner, AGC offered an array of appealing hand crafted garden items including bird nests, ‘bat hotels’, butterfly houses, ladybird breeders as well as rustic furniture. Hadeco’s innovative ‘seed slabs’ piqued the interest of passers-by and ‘Petal Dunk’s’ flower inspired centre pieces looked good enough to grace any table.
In the Grand Kitchens and Bathrooms section, Eco-Taps caused a stir with its novel new range of taps and showers which provide hot water in seconds without a geyser and Easy Life Kitchens (ELK) Design Consultant Marian Kerkhof unpacked some of the trends happening in the kitchen space.
According to Kerkhof, there’s no distinct shift towards ultra-modern or country kitchens but there is a trend towards decorative matt and satin finishes. All-white, clinical kitchens are also reportedly less popular than they once were and bright pops of colour are beginning to take a back seat. Indeed it seems natural, subtle tones are all the rage as are built-in cupboard handles which are currently “big” in Europe. ‘Seamless’ floors are also very much in vogue she says.
An array of mouth - watering nibbles was available at the show and there were numerous other exhibitors including, amongst many others, Artmar Natural Stone, Sembel-It, ‘Concreate’ floors, Belgotex, the Biscuit Boutique, Sun Gardens, Simmons, Reboss Awnings, Bamboo Warehouse, Rugs Original , Aeropink and Heatwave Fireplaces.
The show was packed, the eco-friendly and up-cycled theme came across at many of the stands and people were buying which all points to yet another successful showing for Grand Designs Live.