TV design contestants welcome life without Philippe Starck

Contestants from the BBC’s Design for Life TV show say they are looking forward to leaving Philippe Starck’s influence and opinions behind as they exhibit at the London Design Festival.

Design for Life contestant and Rethinkthings founder Ilsa Parry and five others will show their work at 100% Futures at Earls Court.

Parry says, ‘I am excited by the prospect of freely exhibiting what we personally believe to be innovative solutions to existing problems, without the agenda of the TV producers and the Starck team to overshadow our imaginations.’

She will exhibit four new products, including the Kaspa glow-in-the-dark nightlight, a standing and walking aid named Flo, and two ‘outdoor drinking vessels’ christened Pippa and Spyke.

Other exhibitors will include Mike Cloke, Trevor Brinkman, Helen Bickford, Robert Richardson and Ana Maria Pachescou.

Pachescou, who will show the ‘hangman noose’ light fixture that impressed Starck, has previously expressed frustration with the way that Design for Life was produced.

She told Design Week in July that, ‘You will hear that we had a week to do a project, but because of the complications of filming we actually only had two days. We are all nervous that this will make us look like bad designers.’

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  • Nick Bowman November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Sounds like they were under the same sort of pressure they’ll find in a commercial environment

  • Thom Breslin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Stop moaning…. budget and time cuts are a fact of real life, get used to it and try not to be so precious. It would be this sort of attitude that would be off putting for a client.
    You have been given a great opportunity and amazing exposure, try to maximise this!

  • Simon November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It looks as if the contestant is rather biting the hand that feeds, one wonders where they would be without the kudos received from being connected with the program.

    I applied to this show for the opportunity to work on an interesting project with a world renown practice, so after fluffing the phone interview was relieved to see the first episode was more of a reality TV show rather than an look into the world of a professional design agency and how talent is nurtured. The whole thing smacked of tv’s obsession of dumbing down and didn’t do itself justice.

    As for the episode itself, a lot of emphasis was put on the environment and sustainability, maybe they should have thought a little harder about this before transporting two people to Paris to wonder around a supermarket and then send them home again.

  • Jonathan Baldwin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Eh? Hang on – they’re not complaining that they were given two days, they’re complaining that they are being portrayed as having a week. That’s a fair comment…

  • douglas montgomery November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Not moaning, just totally legitimate gripes.

    If Starck was to impose on himself, the criteria he started to impose on the contestants, i.e. reluctance to reference aesthetics, consideration of the environment, and a rather banal focus on functionality, he wouldn’t be producing the (admittedly very nice) groovy plastic chairs he’s still designing. He came across to me as an

    It rather annoyed my wife and I that the programme stated that students were chosen “on the basis of their drawings alone”. I was selected for the initial stages but can vouch for the fact that there was an initial phone call from the producers. Fortunately I was successful in the first interview, and was invited to the TwoFour office by a Miss Cox for an hour long videotaped interview.

    If the contestants were selected without consulting their personal profile and general TV suitability, then why the lengthy interview process?

    But, being a sucker, if there’s another series commissioned I’ll try again. Ross Lovegrove?

  • jonas remes November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Well said Mr Baldwin. I personally think they sound like they have a fair point. If they have two days fine, make out its two days. Why pretend they had a week. Pretty unfair but I guess thats TV producers for you..
    As for the comments about being like a commercial environment. What a load of narrow minded jaded rubbish. I’m glad I don’t have to have a camera stuck in my face with questions fired at me about every move or decision I make in the commercial environment I work in while also knowing I may be judged by people who claim I should be thankful for the experience , blah blah.. If I did, I would not be here long.
    Yes they have been given a big opportunity and good for them for taking it, that does not however mean they should all bow and be grateful if they feel the experience was not as were promised or if they feel they are misrepresented as a result of decisions beyond their control. And who is to say they are not taking the chances they have been given and making the most of them. Sounds like they are to me.
    I am sick of reading about how design is ignored by the general public and then read that when a program is made that provides an inroad, that it is not worthy. Some people need to get down from their ivory towers

  • Steve Roberts November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    We’ve blogged about this today at Fripp Design.

  • Lewis Mitchell November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I saw Mike Cloke and Helen Bickford snogging at the 100% futures event, just thought you’d all like to know.

  • Michael November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I totally agree with Mr Balwin. I would also add, that how many people would be happy with a brief in pigeon English – I just hope that behind the scenes, briefs were fully tranlsated. The program I have to say is good viewing though – I just wish Mr Starck, would just speak in French and havbe his words translated…when someone says, “you are in the big shit” when they mean “deep shit”, you just can’t help but laugh. Good luck to all the students.

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