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Guest Siona

Design For Life

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Guest Siona

Has anyone else seen the program 'Design for life' on BBC 2? It's interesting and great to see designers on TV, but so far I'm pretty unimpressed with the standard of the students... Anyone have any thoughts?

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Guest Alex Martin
Has anyone else seen the program 'Design for life' on BBC 2? It's interesting and great to see designers on TV, but so far I'm pretty unimpressed with the standard of the students... Anyone have any thoughts?

 

I've seen it and I'm inspired by it - enough to seek out a product design forum to discuss it.

 

I agree the students seem to be an unimpressive bunch. In mitigation they are mostly young and don't seem to have experienced much but student life. It must be quite difficult to grasp what Starck is driving at when he explains the brief - he's being complex and there is the translation problem. The students don't have the benefit of the voiceover to explain and clarify. Also, we may not be getting an accurate picture of events. The TV production crew have a lot of students to cover. They may not have the material to show the best of the students - just enough footage to outline events. This may improve as the group dwindles.

 

The show is basically the same format as The Apprentice. But the tasks they've been given aren't good telly - unlike The Apprentice tasks. The production crew are probably on a learning curve - attempting to make product design into telly. Other design processes do make good telly - food, fashion, interiors - so it should be possible. I think they may be struggling because there are few strong characters among the students and indeed two that stood out for me went home this week. That may be down to the selection process as it appears that Starck selected the students based on their drawings. I like that, but for it to make good telly it probably needs some sort of audition process.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing further episodes and seeing whether the characters develop and the ideas start to fall in line with Starck's view of the world. I admit that I knew nothing about the man before the series - although I've seen his most iconic designs. He seems to be looking for a solution that he hasn't found yet and his school is about finding someone who can provide him with a solution.

 

How do you make product design into sexy telly? I don't think this series has answered that yet.

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Guest gonzo_ID
Has anyone else seen the program 'Design for life' on BBC 2? It's interesting and great to see designers on TV, but so far I'm pretty unimpressed with the standard of the students... Anyone have any thoughts?

 

It gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies. If that is the so-called UK design talent coming through from university, what hope is there for UK design?

 

As it is an Apprentice clone, I'm guessing that the people are chosen for their 'personalities' rather than their skills, which is a shame as it immediately devalues the programme. It could have been an excellent vehicle to showcase UK design talent. Instead we'll probably end up watching a bunch of average students jumping through cliched hoops to get to be part of 'the tribe'.

 

As an aside, it has made me like Starck more.

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Guest Dutton

Yeah, stumbled across it last week, seems quite interesting although some of the students work that has got them onto to programme looked quite poor, i.e. almost fell of my chair when that single seater car was shown on the screen... That Nabile (think thats his name) annoys me somewhat, just hate people who spout bullsh*t, liked his idea for the two objects he picked but there was no need to attach ridiculous meanings to them, he seems to be one of those people who likes to see obscure meanings in objects

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Guest Chambo

Not sure if people agree with me but I reckon he chose not so good designers so that he has things to criticize during the tv program. I think his aim is to send out a message on tv to people who aren't design conscious or design aware. I think his primary aim is to make a point from the students. If he really wanted to he could easily get a group of 12 top designers from UK. No matter whether they were students or proffessionals, but what would be the point of it if all the designs and skills were top notch and amazing. At the moment all the students give him something to say, mostly bad points really. But it means he can tell the viewers at home what is really wrong and the reasons for his decision.

 

The girl with the idea about turning off the power to the world for 2 weeks a year made me laugh. Really wish people would think about what they were saying and proposing, and think about what is really possible and practical.

 

Overall I think it is a good TV series and will hopefully educate the general public about what designers really do and make them more aware of everything around them.

 

I did like how his own products were criticized with one person saying that it was unforgivable the kettle he designed because it burned the users hand. Same with the juicy salif, as well as spraying in peoples eyes all the juice runs down the legs as well.

 

Overall I am not convinced by him as a designer yet its good he is making an educational program.

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Guest Siona

If I'd heard about it I would have loved to apply... Although I'm not really enjoying the deep philosophical meaning they find in absolutely everything. I'll definitely keep watching though, even if I am tempted to scream at the screen. I can't help thinking it gives people a negative opinion of British designers, but at the same time I see why they couldn't just put in amazing designers for the entire audience. (personally I'm convinced they pick out the most arrogant egotistical bigot they can find, just for comedy value (you know who I mean :P)).

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Guest Chambo

Is anyone getting increasingly annoyed at this program, Phillipe Stark has managed to give UK designers a bad name and also himself in some way. I think it kind of dawned on him last episode how rubbish they all were when he was tempted to finish the show.

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Guest Foul Ole Ron

It's a fecking horrible programme. Everything about it is so vague, the narration, the briefs...

We are shown basically none of the process of how these people go about designing their products, it's just -

Brief...a week later... Presentation.

And that's all we're shown! I agree the standard is ridiculously low. I study Product Design Engineering at Glasgow School of Art, and I can tell you, halfway through second year 90% of my class were producing work ten times better than anything on this show, and we only get to do design one day a week! (this year at least, the rest of the time it's engineering lectures)

Maybe this is the product of design degrees where there's no technical consideration?

I doubt it though, just seems like the selection process was not at all what it should have been to find the real talent.

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Guest Chambo

Well apparently they were the best 12 out of the hundreds that applied, the competition didn't get advertised very well because i never had any idea about it and no one i knew did either. Also if there were only a few hundred applicants, it must have meant they were all pretty useless. The show is a shambles and has made me hate Phillipe Stark more than i already did. Its a joke how they are given so much time for the project but still manage to produce utter junk. Fair enough there is pressure but in second year with the pressure put on us at Brunel we could design and make the technical drawings for a fully working simple project within a week with no sleep. they got given roughly 4 weeks and they cant even come up with something that works.

And I agree about the technical consideration part, none of them seem to have any awareness about it. They all have it set in there minds that the engineers will sort the technical part out for them.

Show is a joke tbh!

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Well I find it quite an interesting programme.

 

In the first case it is an entertainment. The programme makers are there to make money - to entertain - to create controversy. Stark is there to showcase - he is an entertainer at heart. The prize of a 6 month placement is not really a prize is it?

 

My understanding (from talking to a person who applied and got through the first stage) was that the selection process was as much about TV mix as actual skill. The contestants were all telephone interviewed by the TV company then shortlisted for a face to face in London. I'm not sure at what stage Stark was actually involved.

 

Also (and this has been widely reported) the schedules you see on TV were not apparently true. Week long projects were actually 2 days.

 

To be fair to the contestants, and to Stark, once you decide to go down a route with a selected group you have to follow it through. How many employers here have employed somebody who had great references, great portfolio and great interviews and trials, only to find that once things started heating up they were absolutely unsuitable to your company, the way you work and who you work with?

 

I'm not saying these people are unsuitable - that is unfair - but it is certainly true that some did not thrive in the environment they were set, and some just got it wrong (and let's be honest - how many times have you committed to an idea to KNOW it is bollocks but due to deadlines you have no option but to push it through?). Some of the ideas were just plain daft but it was interesting to see how Stark reacted to these, and as the series has progressed we get more of an insight into the way he works (which is I think the most entertaining part of the programme).

 

Whatever you think about the guy as a designer (and bear in mind - like all large firms - it is the Stark company) he does know his stuff and he does get straight to the core issues.

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Guest Marc UK

Phew! Finally, that’s it…I’ve endured six weeks of this agonising, toe-curling pap, and I think – touch wood - I’m going to be okay. But given one more week of 'Design For Life', and who knows how much the medication would have cost me! In the end, Ilsa won with her ‘Starkeified’ walking stick. Apparently, this girl actually teaches 3-dimensional design at a design college. The mind boggles! She seems to be completely clueless in every department, but to give her her dues, at least she didn’t design a lamp shade that rolls-up into a baseball bat for assaulting intruders. That bit of design genius was left to a recent graduate of Industrial Design from de Montefort University, according to the university’s website which boasts of the acceptance of two of its graduates into the Starke programme!

 

Maybe I’m setting myself up for a fall here, but can that walking stick really have a use? From the moment Ilsa introduced her concept in episode 4, it struck me straight away that it couldn’t possibly work from an ergonomic point of view, and in a typical product-design faux-pas, introduced far more problems than it purported to solve. How is an elderly and or infirm person supposed to walk very far with such an unwieldly object and with such an odd centre of gravity? How is it better to get up from a chair bracing against your own body-parts, than bracing against a stable object (the chair)? How many very costly production tools would be required to produce a range of ‘Flo’ sticks suitably proportioned for all the different body-types…people of different heights, different shin builds etc? What of the extra weight embodied in such a stick and the extra exertion required to carry and manoeuvre it? At least she eventually redesigned it with a conventional T-handle rather than the silly ‘ball’ handle of the early prototype which would have proved excruciatingly painful for people with weakened wrists and hands. And by no means the last consideration - what sort of self-respecting elderly person would be seen dead with such a ridiculous looking contraption? Clearly, no-one has tested the product on its target audience. Not wanting to rely on my own intuition, I have tested it. I quickly built a mock-up using a golf club and spent a few minutes experimenting with it. Conclusion … it doesn’t work! It doesn't work at all!

 

Starke has ended-up employing someone who’s designed a completely useless object. All form and no function. Qu’el surprise!

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Guest Chambo

Havent seen the last episode yet, will probably watch it with fury, De mont ford uni tried to convince me that their uni was better than either Brunel or Loughborough and i certainly wasnt convinced. Havent seen the product yet but from the previous episode it did look pretty useless and huge, also how will it be manufactured in real life as the form looks kind of sculptured and more artistic than it does ergonomic.

Then again some of Starks own projects have been a bit rubbish, the juicy salif and also that kettle he designed. He may be famous but he is certainly not the best. Id prefer a 6 month placement with James Dyson. So far I know of 4 products from Dyson and they all look and work fantastically well. The hoover, hand dryer and now the bladeless fan. He is a true designer.

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Guest James.iD

I couldn't stand Ilsa - the amount of junk that spewed out of her mouth every time she spoke was incredible.

 

When she said some bs like "I said to my mum, look around you, everything has been designed, then she knew" a few episodes back made me cringe.

 

Out of those two people - Mike was far better, at least he came up with his own advertising and a reasonable design instead of just drawing a few twists on the page and relying on a good model maker to create something good.

 

This program has proved one thing; to work for starck you have to be a complete moron who just talks out their arse.

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Guest e i d o s

Its just one man's opinion. Although I do agree he (Stark) has a biased perspective most of the time, I also agree with him sometimes. He does make sense often (but its so difficult to understand him). And the students really needed to get their act together. But then we don't really know what happened cuz of the editing too.

 

I thought the super designer guy (got eliminated in 1st or 2nd round.. I can't recollect his name) was pretty good. He was up for the challenge (but a little too narcissistic)... They should have kept him. It was never a close shave. Everything was stark determined and that does not always follow a rationale.

Also lets not forget, Stark himself was rubbish until some years ago. His juicer, interiors, @#$@#$ pots etc. don't resonate very well with me. But the guy's actually trying his hand at commercial (or mass) design (and seems like it's proving to be an uphill battle for him).

 

But I like the show. UK Design Council should come up with more initiatives like these.

 

my two cents :)

 

PS: I loved the girl who made a lantern into a baseball bat. Hahahahaha... Stark's jaw dropped on seeing that...

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There was a better programme on about 7 or 8 years ago I think with Richard Seymour and Dick Powell (Seymour Powell) where they took on the task of developing a specific product for a customer and the TV cameras followed the progress. I can recall them doing a bra, a life jacket, a razor and a burglar alarm system.

 

Also, my first encounter with Starck was via a TV programme in the early 90s where he designed a house in the woods. At that time he was probably better known for his architectural work and interiors. That was (I think) part of a series where leading designers didi project for the cameras (but I can't remember any of the others).

 

If this Design for Life programme shows anything it is that an apprentice style design programme is not a good format. Speaking as a viewer, there needs to be a beginning, process, conclusion in one episode. Just like the programmes I mentioned above. Maybe this is why the Apprentice (proper) is so popular, and especially when the do the "design a new product" tasks.

 

I'm waiting for the call from Channel 4 or 5 or BBC4 asking if they can follow my projects....hmmm...what interesting viewing that would make! Lots of sitting at a computer, swearing at computers, cursing the phone, having a mad office tidy when a customer calls to ask if "he can just pop in" :)

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