Grand Designs Live: Gadgets galore for the house of the future

Naomi MacKay
This week’s Grand Designs Live London 2011 has lots of treats in store for gadget lovers.There’s no excuse for not spending time in the kitchen if you have the latest tailored kitchen from specialist Italian manufacturer TM Italia.


Its latest automated kitchen, dubbed PETRA, can be ‘unfolded’ using a remote control, which removes the worktops and lacquered stone or metal panels to reveal the usable areas underneath. The idea is that the kitchen can be made to ‘melt’ into the existing living space – an added bonus in the new open-plan designs that are appearing in homes of today.


We’re all after more space, and want rooms to have more than one function. Lots of us have home offices, that sometimes need to be used as guest rooms – or in smaller houses and flats, the room needs to have one function during the day and become a bedroom at night. Enter the Liftbed, which disappears into the ceiling at the flick of a switch, allowing the floorspace to be used for an office, playroom or home gym. The Liftbed has been custom built by a 3D robotic engineering company that also produces parts for Porsche and Audi vehicles.

With the weather heating up, the iwing fan has appeared at just the right time. Looking like a futuristic bird, it features large wings, which swing back and forth to create a natural stream of air. Its gentle action is apparently soundless, so a step up from noisy fans – particularly useful if you like a fan on at night when the whirring of a conventional fan can make it hard to nod off.


If you’re a big reader, take a look at the Long Form Library. This circular piece of furniture is made from hand-cut plywood. The user sits within the circle, surrounded by all their books and films, and can gently rock back and forth within the ‘cradle’. Reading lamps are positioned for optimum light, while lights around the Long Form Library’s circumference are set to change according to the brightness of the room.

For more on the show and products that are being exhibited, log on to

Air Multiplier – Dyson upgrades bladeless fan range

When you are sitting at your desk, how many times have you had to complain to get the air conditioning turned on or off? James Dyson says ‘air conditioning is inefficient and gives little or no ventilation’ and he absolutely correct. Enter the Dyson Air Multiplier.


Dyson have developed two new Dyson Air Multiplier fans: the AM02 Tower and the AM03 Pedestal. The floor standing fans have no blades and are engineered for larger spaces as it circulates smooth un-buffeted air. The Air Multiplier technology used in the machines is ingenious and innovative. The new fans are more efficient then its predecessor, the AM01 Desk fan, as they generate a greater airflow.

The two options for the new fans offer different benefits. The AM02 Tower is slender and shaped like a running track to take up limited space. Using the Air Multiplier technology, air is amplified 16 times using the AM02 Tower. Moving on to the AM03 Pedestal, it offers the most airflow of all the Dyson Air Multiplier fans as it amplifies air 18 times. It is shaped more conventionally with a loop amplifier. The machine can be tilted to suit the direction you wish and the height adjusted easily.

The blades on conventional fans cause unpleasant buffeting as they chop the air. As the Dyson Air Multiplier has no blades it means there is no buffeting and it gives an uninterrupted stream of smooth air. The technology works by drawing air in through the mixed flow impeller at the base and accelerating it through an annular aperture set within the loop amplifier. This will generate a jet of air which passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp. Surrounding air is drawn into the airflow in a process known as inducement and entrainment. What is fascinating is only 7% of the air generated by Dyson Air Multiplier fans actually passes through the impeller, 93 % comes from the surrounding air.

As the new fans have no blades, you can put your hands through it and it completely safe which is great if you have children around. The look is sleek and will suit any large living space or office. You can precisely vary the settings and speed of airflow using the magnetic remote supplied with the fans which sits on top or a dimmer switch on the base. What amazed me is how quiet is. You can barely hear it, unlike conventional fans where you hear a whirring sound constantly and can get really get annoying. They come in various colours to suit your space. Personally, I love the iron/blue to provide a splash of colour.

The AM02 Tower and the AM03 Pedestal will be available through and selected design stores. As it is Dyson and a quality product, it is not going to be cheap. At £299.00, businesses will get this but for the average consumer it is a bit steep. If you have the dosh, now is definitely the time to invest in this with the sizzling heat