Grand de­signer: Kevin McCloud; Suno fash­ion; Ken Says; GTN Spells Fash­ion, Hot Buys

Grand De­signs’ Kevin McCloud is spread­ing the word on suc­cess­ful small-space liv­ing

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE - NATASHA ROBIN­SON The Grand De­signs Live Home Show is in Mel­bourne from Oc­to­ber 17 to 19 and in Syd­ney from Oc­to­ber 24 to 26.

IT’S the de­sign trend for a mod­ern age, a tri­umph of form that does not sac­ri­fice func­tion. As the tra­di­tional quar­ter-acre fam­ily block steadily gives way to small-space liv­ing, ar­ti­san de­sign­ers with an eye to prac­ti­cal­ity are thriv­ing.

And who bet­ter to spread the mes­sage of how to achieve suc­cess­ful small-space liv­ing than Bri­tish home guru and pre­sen­ter of the tele­vi­sion show Grand De­signs, Kevin McCloud? “In Bri­tain, we are the masters of build­ing small,” McCloud says from his home by the sea­side in Som­er­set in Eng­land’s south. “You watch Grand De­signs and you think: ‘Oh yeah, an­other great big house goes up in the coun­try some­where.’ But, ac­tu­ally, most of us in the UK live in the small­est houses in the world.

“If you are liv­ing in a smaller space it forces you to think much more care­fully about ev­ery­thing: about the size of your pos­ses­sions, your fur­ni­ture, about where stuff goes.

“Light be­comes im­por­tant: how that is ar­tic­u­lated in your build­ing. And of course stor­age is the big thing.

“When you’re de­sign­ing your home, you’re not deal­ing with quan­tity: you’re not talk­ing about acres of car­pet, acres of mar­ble, acres of paint. And that shifts the fo­cus from manufacturing to crafts­man­ship, on a well-made ob­ject. I think that’s in­evitably an as­pect of smaller liv­ing which is a very pos­i­tive.

“The sec­ond thing is you start to er­gonom­i­cally ques­tion ev­ery sin­gle as­pect of a piece of fur­ni­ture. So if you buy a desk, it’s got to have stor­age. If you buy a kitchen, it’s got to be re­ally func­tional. A smaller bath­room with great stor­age is a de­light to use.”

McCloud will travel to Syd­ney and Mel­bourne in Oc­to­ber as the star of the Grand De­signs Live Home Show where more than 200 ex­hibitors will dis­play the best prod­ucts and ideas for mod­ern homes and gar­dens.

Tak­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from the TV show, which launched an Aus­tralian spin-off in 2010, the home show will fea­ture a cu­rated De­sign Ar­cade, where visi­tors can shop on lo­ca­tion for unique prod­ucts from hand-picked lo­cal de­sign­ers, with prod­ucts rang­ing from home­wares to ceram­ics to art­work. As well as ar­eas ded­i­cated to build­ing, in­te­ri­ors, kitchens and bath­rooms, and out­door spa­ces, there will also be an in­ter­ac­tive Tech Box, show­cas­ing the lat­est light­ing de­signs and sys­tems that also save money and en­ergy. The ex­hi­bi­tion will fo­cus in par­tic­u­lar on small spa­ces, where func­tion­al­ity in beau­ti­ful de­sign is key. The best tips for hid­den stor­age, max­imi­sa­tion of light, and ed­i­ble gar­dens will all fea­ture.

Syd­ney and, to a lesser ex­tent, Mel­bourne have be­come vast, sprawl­ing cities as pop­u­la­tion ex­pan­sion spreads sub­ur­bia ever out­wards.

But the ex­pan­sion of Aus­tralia’s two ma­jor cities has reached its limit, and a mod­ern young fam­ily is likely now to be just as happy to live in a large apart­ment close by parks, gar­dens and public pools, and closer to the in­ner city, than on a tra­di­tional block with a large fenced gar­den and back­yard pool.

The pro­por­tion of sin­gle dwellers — who are like­lier to live in small apart­ments — also has in­creased ex­po­nen­tially. In Aus­tralia, the idea of the cen­tral busi­ness that is de­serted af­ter 6pm is dis­solv­ing rapidly, with ur­ban re­newal pro­jects and li­cens­ing changes ush­er­ing in an area of laneway bars, late-open­ing shops and in­ner-city apart­ment liv­ing.

“If you look around the globe, what’s hap­pened is that there has been a big, big shift in the way that we or­gan­ise our lives and our work­ing prac­tices,” McCloud says. “And so the typ­i­cal Aus­tralian idea of the cen­tral busi­ness district and the sub­urbs, where peo­ple get on trains and they drive in their cars into the city cen­tre to work and then they drive home again, it grew and grew and grew to the point where the CBDs be­came enor­mous and so did the sub­urbs. And so you get cities which are 40 miles wide. And the in­fra­struc­ture sim­ply can­not sup­port that huge ge­o­graph­i­cal area.

“But some great things are hap­pen­ing now in Syd­ney be­cause peo­ple are be­gin­ning to re­pop­u­late the city cen­tre in a very en­thu­si­as­tic way.”

McCloud says the shift to­wards smaller spa­ces does not need to mean poky, cramped liv­ing.

“Space is some­thing that we have pur­sued, space and light, to the point where we might as well be liv­ing out­side,” he says. “We talk about space as this sa­cred mantra, and yet it can be un­us­able. It can be clunky, it can be over­wield­ing and dif­fi­cult to ma­nip­u­late be­cause it’s just one big vol­ume.

“There’s ab­so­lutely no doubt that large liv­ing spa­ces can bring a cer­tain glam­our and a cer­tain won­der­ful gen­eros­ity … but all of that can be achieved on a much smaller scale. So what you look at out of the win­dow, the con­nec­tion with the out­doors, and the way that you make that con­nec­tion with the out­doors, is in the end more im­por­tant than the sheer vol­ume of the build­ing in­side.”

‘If you are liv­ing in a smaller space it forces you to think much more care­fully about ev­ery­thing’



above Kevin McCloud will travel to Syd­ney and Mel­bourne for the Grand De­signs Live Home Show

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