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New York City meets Munich

You mean slop design

February 5th, 2007 · No Comments · Reviews, TV

Finally got around to watching “Top Design” on Bravo. Bravo is definitely milking the successful formula of “Project Runway”. And milking it to death, because Top Design feels still-born.

Project Runway, Bravo’s original creative competition reality show works well because you can look at the clothing the designers make and have your own opinion. It helps that the judges are generally articulate and fair. It also helps that Heidi Klum hosts it well and Tim Gunn just “makes it work.”

Top Chef doesn’t work as well, because you can’t actually taste the food when you watch. You have to trust the judges’ opinions, which don’t seem to be all that fair. Padma Lakshmi, the hostess, adds nothing to the show. But, we can still manage to enjoy it, in spite of these issues. We just don’t have any faith in the final outcome.

With Top Design, once again you can see and judge the work of the contestants yourself. Hosted by Todd Oldman, who might as well be a piece of furniture he’s so wooden, this show seems to be a spotlight on bad interior design cliches. The judges use the word “really” too much, they don’t have anything insightful to say, and they try way too hard with their outfits. I knew something was seriously wrong when the judges picked a room that has a sandbox in it as a finalist because “it was different.” Putting a sandbox in the floor might be neat for an art installation, but not for a room people are actually going to use (unless it’s just a giant litter box for the cats.) I have no faith in design judges who don’t understand the part about design being useful.

I was underwhelmed by the first competition. I didn’t think any of the contestants did a good job. I’ve seen better looking rooms at the Ikea showroom. Being an interior designer isn’t just about buying stuff and putting it in a room painted an unusual shade of green, but that’s almost all that we’re seeing. Instead, the program is a showcase for every bad interior design stereotype.

Top Design seems like it’s going to be one big designer circle jerk. I’m not optimistic.

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