Grand Designs Live

Media 10

Richard Morey, Director of Media 10 - the organisers behind Grand Designs Live, approached Birmingham City University following their showcase at  the UK trade show 'Interiors'. Looking for stimulating content, which was design-led, new and engaging, Richard tasked Birmingham City University to develop a proposal which would engage audiences.

Birmingham City University responded with “My Grrreen Shed”, a proposal led by consultant and MA Product Design Course Director Graham Powell based around the common garden shed; a structure which could replicate the grand designs theme.

As part of the proposal, leading figures from design, sustainability and business applied sustainable thinking to garden sheds. These included:

  • Channel 4’s Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.
  • Interior designer and presenter of ITV’s Dream Homes Oliver Heath.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • Chief Executive of West Bromwich Building Society, Stephen Karle.
  • Julia Hailes, presenter of Nature People and who established the Green Consumer Guide.

Their five sheds were complimented by three created by Graham Powell forming a feature that visitors could get up close to, walk around and be inspired by.

Graham said: “My Grrreen Shed’ was about developing a fun way to encourage visitors to contribute new ideas towards a greener future. Fitting in with the University’s agenda of a greener work/life balance, it embraced the understanding that ultimately we all have the ability to shape our environment and lifestyles for the better.

“The garden shed is a relatively cheap, iconic and sustainable design that’s quick to build, so it was a natural choice for us to be able to promote sustainable thinking and empower people to reconsider as a sustainable, environmentally friendly structure. Forest Garden Limited, as sponsor, provided eight 6 x 4ft sheds, which we customised and installed at the show as a feature enabling the public to view all the different designs.”

It wasn’t just celebrities that took up the University’s design challenge - during the show, visitors also had the chance to create their own dream Grrreen shed. By drawing onto a pre-printed cardboard press out template, which was then assembled into a model shed, hundreds of mini sheds were exhibited en masse to form an impressive spectacle of sustainable ideas.

The exhibition was a real success, with celebrities and members of the public completely engaging with the content. We were delighted with the results that Birmingham City University produced and impressed with the innovation and professionalism of the Birmingham City University project team, who we would be delighted to work with again."

Richard Morey, Director, Grand Designs Live


Unveiled in front of 50,000 people, the UK premier of eight unique, customised garden sheds by Birmingham City University stole the show at Grand Designs Live. Praised by Channel 4 presenter, Kevin McCloud, for its fun and innovation, exhibitions organisers and owners gave the exhibition a major seal of approval.


The exhibition feature provided a unique visitor experience, supported the PR strategy for Grand Designs Live and facilitated leads and PR exposure for the partners involved.