Steven's Response to Top Design

Steven and i both got into Bravo's reality show Top Design alot in the beginning. It is about a bunch of young, up and rising designers--some really earnest, some wannabes, some avec axe to grind, some just clueless in startling ways--who are made to compete in coming up with solutions to a common design challenge for some imaginary fat cat with greedy, consumptive needs. A new poolside cabanna for X, a loft pied a terre for Y. Living quarters for an artist or disco/cocktail party event tent on the beach for Bacardi Lemon (these are the real scenarios, i couldn't make it up).

We really liked Project Runway too, the earlier, fashion-oriented version of this show...and thankfully don't get addicted to much Television. And with the beauty of our DVR, we watch in concentrated bursts when we want to. Ultimately, Runway is a much better show. I think i feel that way because the critics were just better, and recognized genuine creativity.

Thanks to our friend Larisa, who introduced us to Jonathan Adler years ago, we had grown to love the wacky yet haute chic sense of Adler, the Top Design star critic. As the show wore on, however--and judge Kelli's sense of personal style went from slighly Cyndi Lauper circa '86 to Baroque to Mannerist to Bizarre--we both started to hate it. But couldn't--of course--stop watching. Good, groundbreaking design ideas were usually punished by the panel of "expert" judges, while those who proved able to finesse the tired and old (or tried and true if you prefer) were rewarded.

I am taken back to the springtime of this show because this week our new issue of Elle Decor arrived with the winning "top design" published. A mostly colorless, bland attempt at sophistication within a rough loft space. More like sophistry, if you ask me. Seeing the winning design months later, it looked even more pale, timid, and unworthy of Jonathan's seal of approval. He makes such beautiful--and startlingly retro kitsch, yet very chic--stuff that i think will stand the test of time. I mean LOOK at the sheer exuberance of Adler's stuff!

After one particularly maddening episode, I remember Steven firing off a response on the show's blog on Bravo's website. And i just came across it now, cleaning up my links, to my utter joy. I share now, herewith:


paradg wrote:
My god, Mike was finally gone. He just does not have the instinct. Sometimes that instinct is not learnable and he does not like to listen either.
Janathan, you are my favorite. We love your ceramic works and have a few of them. I was so looking forward to the show. I have to say I think that the show is a bit lame. Also when originality or creativity is not rewarded, mediocrity will prevail.
My favorite is Goil. He has great sense of space and very creative. However, I hope that he presents a bit more of versatility. I was disappointed that he commented about conflict between Arts & Crafts and Modern. He had architecture background and graduated from one of top architecture school. Modern movement just followed Arts & Crafts. Asian architecture, culture and philosophy had great influence for those movements. That could be a great connection to create a beautiful chic, rustic space. I do like his creation. By the way, this day people are so confused between modern and contempory. For me, modern is authentic and contempory is fake and just crap. Except Goil's room, none of others are even close to be modern or Arts and Crafts. And the guest judge picked Andrea's. I hope that Tom Colicchio should tell what he really meant is like contempory style. If you are not expert on something, do not pretend to be.
We have Elle Decor and enjoy it very much. I have high regard for Margaret Russell before I watched the show. She did not impress me much. Her comments just does not reflect the capacity of the editor-in-chief of that beautiful magzine. She just does not have a clear vision what it takes to create a great space with personal surrounding.
posted on March 23, 2007 at 9:59 PM

Ah, memories. I'm so glad you are writing now mister!

You can read his response in it's native place here, and peruse all the other viewer comments to the particular episode too. Good stuff.

1 comment:

Steven said...

I had another post on Jonathan's blogger afterward. But I guess it was too hard for him to swallow and was not published. Top Design is just not well crafted program. Interior Design world just has way too many not so talented left over.

Fight the H8 in Your State