Celia Sawyer talks Grand Design Live and much more with Kevin McCloud
I was very excited to interview television presenter, writer and designer Kevin McCloud, especially as he has had such a varied career! We talked design, his housing project Hab Housing and of course Grand Designs Live!
Grand Designs Live is now in its 10th year, what do you think makes it so successful and keeps it returning year on year?
I’m excited about the exhibition, particularly in the amount of new and smaller exhibitors, as well as the larger brands of course it’s important we have everybody; the show is large enough to accommodate everyone, which is what I like.
Is there something new we can expect this year that you’re really excited by?
In addition we’ve got the all-new tech box, which takes a look at sustainable technology so I’m excited about that this year.
What’s your favourite item at the show overall?
My favourite item… with over 500 exhibitors it’s quite hard to pick! I never tell people what my favourite item is as that would hack the other ones off ha!
We’ve heard you’re going to be helping cook in the Live Kitchen Experience, what will you be dishing up? Do you enjoy cooking at home?
There’s a wonderful man called Nigel Smith who for years has helped me and to be fair has taught me to cook at Grand Designs Live. Overall I’m hopeless in the kitchen but I deliberately turn up hoping to cause havoc in the kitchen as I just can’t cook – what I can do is get in the way! Miele are one of our big sponsors and they are great running this really successful live cooking demonstration.
Staying on the subject of food, what’s your favourite kind of food?
I love Italian food, the way it’s cooked and the whole ethos of Italian cooking. I just love the way Italians cook food.
What’s your opinion on going green and eco builds? Do you think there’s enough scope to make eco homes as aesthetic as others or do people have a tougher job going down the eco route? Are you a fan of eco?
An Eco home can look like a 16th century cottage or it can look like a modeled glass walled beautiful building. Making a home ecological, environmentally friendly and low energy is about how you build it not what it looks like. To make a home low energy is how you build it from the inside and what makes it efficient.
There’s often a new innovation or technology, has anything in the market place particular caught your eye lately?
What you should remember is for every damaging material there’s the equivalent low impact one. In my business Hab Housing we set out to build and we do build houses which are more beautiful, with windows, more space, nicer kitchens, offering more natural light than your average developer-built house, as a result we sell our houses four times faster – and they are Eco homes!
If you have a choice to have your energy bills reduced, giving you more money for holidays or whatever it may be, drinking beer, it’s a great thing!
Discussing the show, do you have an all time favourite Grand Designs project? Maybe you even wanted to live there!
Well there are actually several I really like, so it’s hard to pick one favourite. For years I used to say the Ben Law house, where he grew his house out of the woods in Sussex, he grew it out of the woods he owned, almost out of the trees, so this really stood out to me, I always felt it was the most beautiful, romantic, poetic show we’d ever made.
For me it’s about the houses that grab me by the heart. Something that’s so magical, they are my favourite.
On the lines of TV… do you watch Four Rooms that I feature on? Do you watch any other makeover shows as I’m going to judge on a new BBC1 prime time show!
I have seen Four Rooms! I like it, and actually the executive producer of that show is my old producer.
What are your thoughts on home make over shows? Celia is about to start filming a new one for the BBC.
Great I will look out for it. I’m sure it’ll be better than the make over shows of the 90s!
See Kevin at Grand Designs Live on 3-11 May at London ExCel – www.granddesignslive.com
Make sure you follow Celia on Twitter on @CeliaSawyerTV and visit her website www.celiasawyer.com for further information.