Grand Designs Live has proved it is here to stay with a third successful event securely under its belt. The show was once again held at the Coca Cola dome where the latest and greatest in home design, décor, gardening, technology, kitchens, bathrooms, building and food was showcased.
The beauty of Grand Designs Live lies in the fact that it brings together all aspects of a home under one roof and acts as a platform for the public to engage with experts who normally charge for their time. Each category of the show was divided into segments defined by specific floor colours for easy reference.
Arguably one of the most popular attractions at the show was the ‘Living Spaces Inspired by Design’ node. The premise behind this feature was to build six desirable spaces within a home. This year’s spaces included a children’s room, a powder room, a bachelor pad, a study, library and music room. Each space was matched with a local celebrity who shared their inspiration behind their designs during the course of the show.
Other highlights of 2012’s show were the ideas and trends provided by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show representatives and the House of the Future which featured the latest gizmos and gadgets.
This year, focus was also given to upping the ante on the food front. To this end, a Chef’s Theatre was incorporated into the dedicated Grand Kitchens area and a Whirlpool sponsored ‘6th Sense Bistro’ was also established to provide meals prepared by ‘Culinary Team SA’ amidst elegant surrounds. The picnic orientated ‘Forest Hill’ restaurant, diminutive Cupcake Bar and market style Grand Gourmet section also proved a hit with visitors.
Well-known Johannesburg based TV personality, designer and writer Colin O’ Mara was commissioned to act as this year’s Guest Editor and general ‘go-to’ guy. Still sprightly and good natured despite having just pulled an all-nighter prior to the show’s launch , O’ Mara shared some of his thoughts regarding this year’s show and some of the latest design trends.
In O’ Mara’s words, Grand Designs is so much more than just a platform for peddling products. It is representative of a collective interest in, and appreciation for quality design and upmarket living which, happily, is increasing as the years go by. He explained that he and his team started working on the concept behind Grand Designs in November last year and, refreshingly, were given quite a lot of freedom in terms of interpreting the various briefs.
Trend-wise, O’ Mara says simple shapes and designs embellished through computer aided design are coming to the fore. A playful, exploratory attitude towards design is also filtering through as epitomized by products such as UK based designer Benjamin Hubert’s lights. He added that the trend is also playing out through the use of bright colours such as mint, magenta and tangerine.
In closing O’ Mara reckons that South Africa’s design industry is growing and sharpening up and that although the recession has taken its toll, it cannot be viewed in a completely negative light as such events commonly catalyse radical changes and can even prompt “the next big thing.”