Last week Primelocation spent half an hour in the presence of the ever-quirky Kevin McCloud, presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs; we were there to discuss his role at Grand Designs Live, the show version of the TV series which, if you haven’t been yet, is a cross between a home renovation-cum-self-build event and a green festival which, this year, is at Excel in London from 30th April to 8th May.
Whether on TV or sat in front of you, it’s obvious McCloud has not been manufactured by the TV machine and is a rare example of a heavyweight thinker who’s successfully brought a subject alive that in the hands of other presenters can often seem glib and/or mechanical. Face to face McCloud sweats excitement and enthusiasm for his subject and his favourite words are ‘fabulous’, ‘insulation’, ‘beautiful’, ‘special’, ‘quirky’,’ individual’ and ‘lovely’. But he’s not annoying to listen to – simply because McCloud has real passion for his subject by the rainwater butt load.
Nevertheless McCloud has a harder side too. Rumour has it he requires the exhibition organiser to attain the same green building standards he admires in so many of the houses featured on the programme. For example, exhibitions tend to use acres of cheap but garish carpeting that is only used once but McCloud is said to have requested that the flooring for the Grand Designs Live show was recyclable.
But the point he was keenest to make during his almost speed-dating style interview with us at London’s fashionable Charlotte Street Hotel in Fitzrovia, is that building your own home shouldn’t just be for the well off and that one day soon it will be a natural choice for all and sundry to build their own eco homes. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is. McCloud’s design firm Hab is backing a string of green, affordable and community-based housing developments in the SW, which includes The Triangle in Swindon but with more coming to fluition soon.
And if you want to find out about Hab’s schemes and see McCloud in the flesh then we’ve got 3,000 tickets to give away for the next Grand Designs Live. To find out more visit Primelocation.com or go direct to the show’s ticket ordering page and quote ‘PRIME9’.