Top Design asks the designers to go green — and then go ahead with someone else’s design choices. That seems like a bit much to ask. Plus, Eddie continues to be villainous, Wisit preaches the virtues of timelessness, and Andrea embraces color (sort of).
Reduce, reuse, respoiler.
OK, first of all, I have to register a complaint. When Liz said she couldn’t cover the show tonight, I volunteered to take it with the explicit assumption that I’d be able to marvel at Kelly Wearstler’s completely insane hair and/or outfit. Danny Seo may be adorable and a green guru, but it’s just not the same. Perhaps if he clothed himself in extravagantly ruffled fabric remnants and put the compost heap on his head…
But on to the show. The designers get to tackle spaces in an environmental consulting firm, so the whole eco awareness and clever use (or re-use) of materials is particularly important. India and Danny warn the designers that sticking to the eco-friendly parameters is even more important than creating a gorgeous design. That, my dear designers, is what is known as a clue.
Other challenges: They have to use all the material they find in their offices (no pitching things that don’t look pretty), they can only use fabrics from the remnants pile, and their design shopping will take place in a special green section. After the designers have met with their clients, picked their colors, retrieved their fabric and done their shopping, India announces that there’s one more twist — they have to take someone else’s office. So all that planning you just did? Forget it.
Danny waxes rhapsodic because he gets Nathan’s room, with Nathan’s great colors and original designs. Early in the episode, he’s been channeling Jan Brady ("Nathan, Nathan, Nathan!"), but now, Nathan’s taste is suddenly impeccable. Harumph
Andrea gets Eddie’s room, and is saddled with is bright blue paint color, which isn’t her idea of a good time. Oh well — at least she can put her space-planning skills to work. So can Natalie, who keeps Andrea’s space design and ads her own touches through throw pillows and fabric-covered panels behind the desk. I hope those panels actually serve some function, rather than just hanging on the wall looking cluttered.
Wisit nearly succumbs to a fit of the vapors when he gets Natalie’s room. Fuzzy chairs! Orange fabric! Oh, the horror! Fetch my smelling salts! He decides to ignore most of what she bought and just work on giving the room a veneer of refined style. Good luck with that… Ondine gets Wisit’s room, and is confused by his choice of paint colors. The client asked for a very masculine room, but Wisit’s sage-green color scheme reads more feminine. At least she’s got a spiffy idea for using plastic water bottles in a chandelier feature.
Nathan got stuck with the smallest room, but he won’t let that defeat him. He decides to make some bold statement pieces (a desk top on bright yellow sawhorses, cutting up the desk legs and using them as shelves on the wall.) It works, but then, it’s Nathan. It always works.
Preston gets the conference room, and he adds architectural detail with molding and paints the moderately hideous shelving unit. it looks good.
The judges — who, I must remind Liz, do NOT include Kelly Wearstler, and you WILL owe me for that — say Nathan nailed the industrial chic look, and used materials wisely. Preston was very resourceful and chic, and he styled the room beautifully. Eddie is praised for using the carpet padding on the wall, showing he really took the green them to heart. Eddie ends up winning, and he attributes it all to his own stellar design skills. Nathan wryly comments that Eddie winning is actually ok, because Eddie won using Nathan’s design. "It’s kind of like winning, but…not." Heh.
Andrea and Ondine are safe. Andrea got props because she ignored the client’s request to put his desk in the window, as that would actually be a lousy use of space. Ondine was praised for her funky light fixture made with dozens of dangling plastic water bottles. It did look very cool.
Natalie and Wisit are called on the carpet for their designs. Wisit says that his main concession to the green mandate was in not buying things he didn’t want. Plus, his design is green because it’s beautiful and timeless, and therefore no one will ever have to replace anything. Danny Seo justifiably tells Wisit that sounds like greenwashing. Jonathan said the only thing Wisit was really recycling was his own ideas.
Natalie says she went green by using everything that was given to her, plus she built a couple of recycling bins from MDF. Yeah, about that… there are lots of volatile organic compounds used in the manufacture of MDF< so it’s not the best choice. She would have been better off cutting back on the fabric covered panels and using some of that wood to make the recycling bins. Plus, the fabric panels are only marginally useful (Natalie says they can be used as notice boards, but Danny is skeptical that a thumbtack would actually penetrate the wood), and Margaret says the throw pillows on the window seat read more condo than office.
In the end, Wisit is the one sent packing. I have to agree — he ignored the green part, and his office was kind of boring. I get that Natalie’s taste is very different than his own, but he could have used something she bought, rather than ignoring it or covering it up. As he leaves, he muses that at least he comported himself with dignity throughout. If you say so…
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends.
- Eddie whines and complains his way through the initial meeting wit the client ("I have to work with really disgusting desk, and a client who was just a dork. Funky. That’s a word I hate. It sounds like it should smell.") and lets us know how he feels at the fabric place ("Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.") Eddie? Shut up, ok?
- Wisit, on inheriting Natalie’s room: " If I could light a mach to Natalie’s stuff…it probably wouldn’t be so green, but it would probably bring more peace to the world." Oh, Wisit. You’re doomed.
- Nathan notes that Eddie is pretty much just running with the ideas Nathan put in place. Eddie insists that he took some of Nathan’s concepts, but he really took them to the next level. Ok, then…
- Andrea was worried about the color Eddie chose (and he refused to consult with her on it), but it actually ended up working in her favor. The judges were thrilled that she finally did SOMETHING with color. But those bank white boards put up on the wall as an art piece left much to be desired.
- Wisit muses that he hopes someone saw the show and thought he was a great designer, or musician, or art historian… I can’t speak to art history, but I was reminded of something my choral conductor used to say: That’s a vibrato you can drive a truck through.