We've had dancing, renovating, cooking, singing, sewing, exercising and now: designing in Design for Life. In the eternal quest by television production houses to roll out newer, more appealing reality content, the wheel has finally spun around to the intriguing world of product design... and not before time! The inescapable Philippe Starck fronts this BBC production that see’s 12 hopefuls contend for a placement in Starck’s Paris based design house. Very much in the vein of Donald Trump’s “Apprentice” business mentoring series, this venture pits the contestants against one another in situations where their expertise in design, theory, ideology and practice is assessed by Starck, and his team. With the first of 6 episodes debuting on ABC TV lastnight, we were introduced to the 12 young contenders, said goodbye to the first two “evictees”, but perhaps most interestingly we got a rare insight into the eccentricities of Starck’s character and flamboyant personality. The content at times waivers between dumbed-down generalisations on design as an integral element of modern life, next to sweeping ideological statements from Starck:
we want the elegance of intelligence... not driven by marketing, but by necessity…So for those with a healthy knowledge of Starck as a global million dollar brand, quite apart from the man, may find this proclamation somewhat hard to swallow. As is to be expected with such a format Design For Life does suffer from a touch too much melodrama, but then, this is Starck and this is the magical world of television… the two are well suited and perhaps that’s what makes this addictive viewing, afterall, Starck has never been shy of a headline. If nothing else, the elevation of product design and it’s vast reaching impact and daily importance have now been given a platform from which many people can now gain an understanding of a subject previously unseen and rarely given it’s due credence. Catch up with lastnights episode for free on ABC’s iVIEW and tune in each Wednesday at 20.30 for the next five weeks to watch the drama unfold... it's bound to.