Top Design – Room of the Future
Injera has written her usual witty and comprehensive post on Top Design:
Six designers remain. Who thought Andrea would be one of them? Not me, that’s for sure. And, given that today’s challenge title includes the word “Future”, I’m punting that Andrea will struggle.
Nathan says he’s sorry that his roomie, Wisit, is no longer there, but what he’s really sorry about is how Eddie won the previous challenge by executing Nathan’s plan. Andrea misses her family. Preston reminds us of his devotion to his mom, again. India wears another variation of the orange caftan. It has some silver detailing around the neck, because “shiny” equals “future”, baby! In fact, we are time-travelling to 2108 for this challenge. 2108! That’s100 years from… last year. I guess we’re on a delay here. I wonder if there’ll be a problem with the time machine and we’ll end up on an island in the Pacific jumping through time? If so, there will be opportunities for all sorts of comedic mistaken-identity shenanigans with Preston/Sawyer. Jin will be the only one who’s not fooled.
Moving on! For some reason, Ondine – who is a set decorator – thinks this challenge will be hard. I think she’s deliberately setting expectations low, or else she’s a really crap set decorator. Or she only decorates sets in productions that only require representing the “now”. The designers have “raw, three-wall spaces”, paint, wall coverings and fabric, and carpenters. Before shopping, they will have 45 minutes to plan with their carpenters. Budget: $7000; time: 2.5 days.
Eddie has his concept right away: the lobby for The Golden Clone, a cloning agency. “No offence, everybody, but just because two people are really good-looking? Sometimes they have really busted kids.” He has really thought this through, even to the point of the height of his seating. You see, “with cloning, people are going to be much taller, we’re not going to have midgets”. Oh, Eddie, you really don’t understand cloning. Or sensitivity. But mostly cloning.
The editors ensure Andrea lives up to my expectations by showing her meeting with her carpenter: “I was thinking of this whole thing, right here [sketch of some sort of ugly arch]… I’m not sure exactly what…”. Thank god her carpenter is able to channel her vagueness. He is able to interpret her mutterings as “a sort of pod? Spaceship?” and they come up with pod-housing that moves and flies. It’s going to be pink and super-girly.
Ondine is thinking she wants something “modern”. What exactly does she mean by that? Modernist? Contemporary? Does she realise she’s now in 2108? Why are people suggesting fireplaces right off the bat? Ondine is thinking about “global warming” and is conceptualising a traditional living/dining room. Oooooh, her fireplace is a “cooling” fireplace. Fires of the future will be cooling!
Natalie goes straight to the Jetsons and flying saucers. I don’t think “creativity” means what you think it means, Natalie. She explains her concept, but I get confused when she starts talking about hydraulic systems. Her carpenter looks sceptical.
Preston and his carpenter are wearing matching outfits. That would be creepy if they had donned boiler-suits, but they look cute in black pants and black short-sleeved shirts. His overall concept is a hotel that travels through space. It’s going to be sophisticated.
Nathan’s idea is putting chairs in boxes and using a black colour scheme. I have no idea what he is thinking, but he has earned my trust, so I’m looking forward to seeing it come together.
Designers head to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, which looks totally depressing. Eddie sums it up thus: “I’m kind of familiar with Jo-Ann Fabrics. It’s, like, gold Keds, and a stirrup pant with a sweatshirt that says “˜Grandma Loves Her Grandchildren'”. It seems that the 80s are a stopover en route to 2108. The titles reveal that Nathan’s concept is “Bachelor Pad of the Future”, so thanks to the titlers for clearing that up for me. Nathan goes straight for Styrofoam, and Andrea counts the time. Eddie’s walking around with foam. I want to know what Nathan has in store for the hat boxes he’s piled up.
On to Modernica, where they have 45 minutes and $4000 to spend. Ondine helpfully tells us that Modernica has iconic 20th century pieces, which is an interesting choice for the 22nd century, no? Andrea sees a marble table and decides to base the whole concept of her pod around that. The table itself is not shown, but I’m thinking that “marble table” and pink-girly-girl will be a stretch. Preston’s happy with his shopping and Eddie notes that Preston only ever does one room “the classic hotel look”. I’m reminded of one of the designers back in “Changing Rooms” days who made everything look like a New York Loft Apartment circa 1993, even if the house was federation and the couple wanted a rumpus room for their young kids. Ah, “Changing Rooms”. All we have left of you is Peter Everett on “Ready Steady Cook” and that’s a bad trade.
With four hours to work on their spaces, the contestants hit the paint. Eddie starts splattering red paint, and he references “American Psycho”. Cloning must be violent. I probably wouldn’t book myself in for a procedure if the lobby looked blood spattered. Ondine says that her vision for the future is actually a bit dreary. I don’t know if she means that she envisages a dreary future, or that she’s looked at her choices and realises that it’s drab. Natalie is shaking up a paint tin, and she’d better hope that India changes clothes when she comes to review the rooms, because that shade of orange will clash violently with India’s caftan. Nathan paints his space “domino black” and then sees that Preston has the same colour. Eddie thinks that’s hilarious! Nathan has the same taste as Preston!
Next shopping trip is Ikea. Ondine has a lot of experience with Ikea, as a set decorator, and she knows that an hour is not enough time there. Too true! If I were in this competition, I’d just grab a trolley full of cheap glassware and then head to the cafe for meatballs. In her rush, she drops something significant if the drums on the soundtrack are anything to go by. We have a zoom in and… it’s a piece of paper. Not just any piece of paper, it has the warehouse locations of all the large items she’s picked out. She’s running around and swearing.
Back to the workspaces for six hours. Preston and his carpenter are now wearing matching black t-shirts. Natalie’s place looks hideous and she realises it. Eddie contemplates being some sort of Dr Frankenstein and decides that his “Top Designer” creation would have Natalie’s boobs, Andrea’s body, Preston’s lips, Ondine’s eyes, Nathan’s height and a bit of everybody’s sense of humour. How scary. Is this what he thinks cloning is?
Todd time! Exclamation marks at 10 paces! “I love what you did by keeping it symmetrical!” “Classic form!” “That’s so cool!” “Daring!” “Bold!” “Brave!” He has no exclamation marks for Natalie. Her straight up use of Ikea chairs has completely defeated his enthusiasm.
The usual flurry-of-activity montage is interrupted when India comes in wearing a yellow caftan. Pop Design time! It’s been ages since we had one of those. It’s a pop quiz testing design knowledge and there’s immunity for the person who wins. A wrong answer equals exclusion. Over to quiz-master Jonathan. Eddie and Andrea are the first out for not identifying the “iconic” chair against the knock-off (from a picture). Natalie and Preston are next out. The winner, correctly identifying a vintage lamp as being more expensive than one of Jonathan’s own designs is… Nathan! Not that he really needs that kind of cheap immunity as I’m sure his design will get him through.
An hour to go and we’re back to the montage. Andrea’s “cabbage chandelier” falls down and Ondine is back to swearing. Oh my god, you guys, did anybody pick up on the fact that Andrea is missing home? She’s got to stop repressing those feelings. Let it out, once in a while, Andrea! Preston and Eddie try to get her to suck it up, but you can tell they are totally bored by having to do this EVERY WEEK.
Final 90 minutes. Eddie thinks his cloning centre is “a-may-zing”. We don’t get to see it yet, so I’m just going to take his word for it. He’s so honest and objective: “I’d love to clone myself. I’d get the job done so fast because there’d be 20 of me and I’d know exactly what I was thinking. I mean, I can’t get enough of me!” I think somebody has been doing some research on cloning.
With 17 minutes to go, Andrea is replacing her dramatic chandelier with an ugly white wicker shade, shaped like an oversized bell. Foul. Eddie’s helping her out. Ondine is swearing. She is so panicked that she spills black paint ALL OVER Eddie’s white furniture as she runs past. Eddie? Is really calm about it. I’d be furious. In the final five minutes, there’s rehydrating and candle lighting.
Judge patrol! Kelly Wearstler has pulled together a totally insane look with a purple ruffled dress and a green patterned turban and green beads. Did she do this because it’s nearly International Women’s Day? Well, it was IWD on Sunday, here in 2009, anyway. Next week, instead of “iconic potter” Jonathan Adler, can we have “magic Potter” Daniel Radcliffe, or “Miss Potter” Renee Zellweger? Or, better yet, Colonel Potter?
Natalie explains her concept (to illustrate the whole “hydraulics” thing, she has screwed a lever on a wall). It looks orange. The judges look amused/bemused. Ondine’s room lives up to the expectation of “dreary”. She has definitely put thought into what 2108 might bring, but it looks dull. I’m glad I’ll be dead. Jonathan’s happy with Eddie’s furniture plan. Nathan has repurposed a cat scratcher as a coffee table. Andrea’s doesn’t look at all futuristic. She seems to think “intercom” is cutting edge. Preston’s looks good but not very futuristic.
Contestants line up in front of the judges and are told that “this time” they will field questions. Preston gets a “colour” question which is pretty straightforward. Kelly thinks he might have overdone it by creating two “spaces”, but is happy overall. Nathan doesn’t get a question as such, but is able to agree with Kelly that his design could benefit from removing some accessories (she can imagine Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi having tea there together). Margaret doesn’t see the future in it. He’s safe, anyway. Okay, so the judges are not really asking questions, they are just commenting with rebuttal time. Nice “twist”, India. Ondine, once again, explains her “cooling fireplace” but is not asked how this works. I’m reminded of Karl Pilkington’s “inventions” like the “life countdown” watch. Jonathan doesn’t like Eddie’s colour scheme. Kelly thinks “Granny Gone Wild”. Natalie’s ideas are “fun”, apparently, but not well executed. India brings Andrea in by saying “last, but not least”, which is hopefully a lie. Jonathan reads more into Andrea’s scheme than is necessarily there. She blames Ikea instructions for her dull result.
Deliberations. Natalie: disappointing; talented but green. Hello, same thing each week! Andrea: addressed the problems of building in the future, according to Jonathan. Preston: perfectly finished every time. Eddie: has an answer for everything but still “granny”. Ondine: created a mood but not polished. Nathan: really futuristic, thoughtful, digging deep, comes close to being able to execute his big ideas.
Whose design will reign supreme? The winner of this challenge is… Preston. Really? So he and Nathan are safe, as is Eddie. Hugs all round for the guys. Natalie is told her Sci Fi starting point was good but didn’t work. Andrea is given credit for her great idea, but is told she played it safe (I preferred India’s description: twee). Ondine is told that she never brings it all together.
Whose design can’t we live with? Natalie’s. Andrea lives to moan about missing her family for another week. Natalie cries and it’s sad – she really is young and seemed to enjoy herself. Todd needs to take responsibility for withholding his exclamation marks.