HGTV Design Star

June 28, 2010 at 11:54 pm (Art, Design, TV advertising, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I don’t really enjoy most reality tv/contest driven cross over shows, but HGTVs Design Star is one of the few, which keeps me engaged. I think it’s partially because my real-world design driven job is like being on that show everyday with limited budgets and even more limited time. This new season, however, has taken a little getting used to.

First of all, where is Clive?! The past several seasons we have watched a host lead us through the designs and tell contests “your show has been canceled.” In our house we have affectionately called the act of redubing an onscreen conversation “Cliving” – especially to interject the sponsor’s name.  This season it seems as though Vern has taken over this role (Cliving included) – I do have to admit it does give a fresh, more organic flow to series, Vern always has the best one liners.

While we’re talking about judges, this year’s line-up makes more sense than previous seasons. I was always confused about why Cynthia Rowley, predominately a fashion designer, and Martha McCully, executive editor of InStyle Magazine, were there – I get that it falls under their respective umbrellas, but it was a bit of a stretch. Candice and Genevieve make perfect sense. Candice is one of the most talented (and few) Interior Designers on the network, and Genevieve is a talented decorator.

So after 3 episodes here’s my rundown: Nina and Courtland will be in the final 3 unless they really screw up; the third slot is still up for grabs. Courtland has a good design sense and almost seems like he’s the big brother of the show. Nina is over-confident and too cocky. She thinks she is more talented than she is, but her confidence gets her farther than most and if she learns that design is as much about restraint and knowing your weaknesses (sorry you’re NO David Bromstad, leave the painting to someone else) then she can harness her strengths even better.

The overall talent base isn’t as strong as some past seasons, but it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. There are some talented designers on the show, and some who seem to have been carried too much by the teams they’ve worked with in the past. It will be fun to see what is revealed in this season.

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Design Star – Tony Pulls It Off

September 15, 2009 at 12:45 am (Design) (, , , , , , , , , )

Picture 20

I HATE reality TV! With that said, I enjoy Design Star on HGTV …I know it seems a bit hypocritical, but it’s my blog. I like this show because the contestants are critiqued in a similar fashion to what we professional creatives sometimes hear from our supervisors and/or clients. Vern Yip is my favorite when it comes to comments. Season after season he comes up with some real gems like: “It looks like a rainbow threw up in there” and “I always think the goal of this exercise is to not make it look like you shopped at the 99¢ store.”

This season I was betting that Dan and Antonio would be the last two designers standing, but what happened next I was not expecting. Both designers have shown real strengths in design, and Antonio is the only designer in the season not to have ended up in the bottom two (Dan was there twice, if I remember right). I was betting on Dan. He is branded more for HGTV and has pushed the envelop with class. Antonio is cocky, but knows how to get the work done. He came up with some elements that the judges really liked – think pink geese on a white wall – he definitely pushes the envelope and a different, and sometimes unexpectedly, and exciting way. He enjoys what he does, and by working as a set designer knows what tight deadlines are really like.

I thought Dan had the upper hand in the final challenge. His design was mostly finished and polished; he presented a cohesive aesthetic experience that included flow and real world solutions. Antonio’s work I thought lacked overall composition and aesthetic aptitude. The use of green was too prevalent, the groupings of accessories and wall-mounted artwork were done poorly in respect to balance, and the space plan was confusing. His past work was much stronger than what he showed in the final challenge.

One really cool thing about this finally is that I was monitoring and contributing to the #designstar hashtag on twitter in real time. I could sum up what I thought of Antonio’s space with:

“Antonio’s house on design star looks like a college kid had a budget and some time …sorry Tony, Dan’s gonna win”

but to my dismay Antonio pulled it off, which warranted this tweet in regards to Dan not making the final cut:

“That’s like Kevin Dyson falling at the 1 yd line to lose Super Bowl XXXIV

According to the poll on AOL, I’m not the only one who thinks that – at this time 52% of voters feel Dan should have one to 42% who voted for Antonio.

This season of Design Star was good; I think I’ll continue to watch next season. Antonio, you are a talented designer and have the cojones to stick to your guns. You may represent a new direction for the HGTV brand, and I wish you luck with the new show.

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