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Guest Siona

Design For Life

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Guest Hallian

As someone isn't really part of the 'design community' who has an interest in design enough to read a little about it and read the odd forum I watched it as a bit of telly and have to say I liked it. Here's what I liked about it...

 

The irritating people who loved themselves went straight away. This breaks from the formulaic leave the knob heads in til near the end because it makes for good telly approach of the likes of the apprentice. As a result I felt the programme was more honest and Starcks motives for the whole enterprise seemed more genuine.

 

It almost didn't work. The crop of students were poor, or at least performed poorly, Starck looked like he genuinely wanted to call it a day at times. The briefs and the communication barriers confused the students, the whole format had teething problems. I liked the fact that there were no set rules, when the work wasn't up to scratch no-one went home and they did it again. When the other's stepped up for Mike, Starck changed his mind. This all gave it a kind of experimental feel and less like a staged television show. Real life generally doesn't make "good telly" on the surface, it doesn't have a nice beginning, middle and end but it does spark a discussion. What didn't really come across very well was how under pressure the students were. Starck's humour and performance and the incidental nature of the production made light of what would be quite an intense situation for the candidates and as a result the viewer couldn't appreciate their frame of mind and how that maybe impacted their performance.

 

The students didn't show massive amounts of talent. So who is the programme for and what was it supposed to do? If its for design industry types to see lots of talent on display and all the process behind it then I can see why a few people are dissapointed. As someone who regards themselves as creative but doesn't work in the creative industries, someone who maybe closer to the general viewer, I thought it was great that the students' work wasn't all that. It makes the world of product design accessible to 'normal' people who may just have a passing interest and inspires them to think about design more. It made me feel like a product designer for an hour every monday night. If that's the aim of the show then it scores big for me.

 

I like Starck. I'd heard of his work and was familiar with a few things he'd done but didn't know anything about the man himself. I enjoyed getting to know more about him as a person in the show; he's funny and charismatic, he doesn't take himself too seriously and wasn't at all pretentious like I had half expected and as is the perception of many people about prolific designers. I find a lot of charm in the way people speak in English when it isn't their native tounge as they often use combinations of words that are irregular just because of their vocabulary but it causes you to pay more attention to their intent and their sentiments rather than what they actually say*. This led to confusion for the students at times but quite a lot of what he considers good design, I felt, came through and wasn't full of cliche.

 

*as an aside a polish girl once said to me "you are good human" - if she'd have said "you're a nice guy" I'd have been duly flattered but it wouldn't have meant half as much and wouldn't have remembered it all this time. As it was it was much more descriptive and made me think about what it is to be a good human, for that it's probably the nicest thing anyone has said to me even if it was bad english.

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