Episode 6: Life of the Party
Plan and execute a party for Bicardi Limon, sponsored by Elle Decor.
Special consideration: Bicardi Limon considers itself to be a sensorial product, so the five senses had to be represented.
Location: Plaza in front of Pacific Design Center, in a 30×40′ tent.
Team Challenge: Matt, Michael & Carisa vs. Erik, Goil & Andrea. Plus each has a carpenter.
Time: 30 minutes to sketch.
Fabric shopping: 30 minutes – Carisa and Erik
Food: 1 hour – Matt and Goil
Party Supply Rentals: 1 hour – Michael and Andrea
Rest of day to build and plan in workroom. Next day for set up.
There is no question, in my view, that Michael, Matt and Carisa’s plan deserved the win. I suspected going in that they would win – because they all have shown an ability to understand the larger goal of a project and not get lost in the details. They should be proud of their final accomplishments, but they all need serious attitude adjustments. Up till now, my policy has been to try to comment only on the work and not the personalities behind the projects. But, I must say that all three need to be slapped upside the head. Carisa does do too much talking and not enough listening. While I think she’s been ganged up on and is being defensive, I don’t think she’s completely innocent. I also think that she was taking too much credit for the final outcome of their design. I have been very impressed with Matt throughout the whole season, but he has laughed with Michael at Carisa’s expense once too many times for me and I think he’s been hiding a less than kind attitude under his angelic expressions. Michael is childish and mean-spirited, overreactive and overly self-important. They are all showing themselves to be immature people in their relationships with others. But, somehow, they did a great job together, which is what counts at this moment. I would, however, think twice about hiring any of them, for fear that they would melt into bad behavior under pressure.
Michael, Matt and Carisa’s space was well thought out from the outside in. There was a strong entry point – a view from the outside that made people want to see what was inside. But they were brilliant with placing Doc Holiday the bouncer at the door. Inviting and exclusive are great juxtaposing feelings. You set up your guests to feel good right at the door – ahhh ! I’m in! Party design is all about setting a mood – quickly. It’s (usually) not about big, philosophical ideas. It’s about selling a product or getting people to open their check books. The space can never overshadow the main purpose. And thankfully, they dropped the go-go dancer idea. Interesting concept – but when fleshed out (pun intended) it would have been tacky and they would have, no doubt, lost.
I liked the concept of the calla lily and the white floral arrangements. But I hate, hate, that lettuce flower. I don’t even know what it’s called, but lettuce should be served on a plate with a nice vinaigrette, not in a vase.
I thought the mirrors were a great idea and the bold black frames were just the right punch. The seating – and yes Michael, people really do like to sit at events, especially those in super high heeled shoes – was very clubby feeling. Not your standard rental fare. (see my comments on this subject below). Keeping the yellow thing overhead was a bigger decision than the editing really showed. It was cheesy looking – but did add some much needed color to the space. It was really their only “off note”.
The low side lounge area was beautifully done, as were the lemon tables. I liked that they showed Todd’s comment about casket nature of their first concept – which was to lay a Bicardi bottle inside the inner rectangle. Again, they showed their willingness to change their original concept mid-stream. Without the bottle in the middle, they were able to fill in with candles, adding to the yellow glow from the lemons.
Congratulations – Matt, Michael & Carisa – for your mature design. Now let’s hope your personalities catch up.
Regarding personalities – Andrea, Goil and Erik have all shown themselves to be pretty mature people in their inter-personal relationships. While Andrea and Erik did marginalize Goil, they did so (rightly or wrongly) for professional reasons, not because they didn’t like him. Sometimes, that happens when working with a team – whether in business or on a creative project, or even on a sports team (Linda, why don’t you take left out field). That said – what I suspected would happen with this team did. Goil and Andrea would miss the mark on what would be “expected” of that sort of party and Erik wouldn’t be able to compensate for that alone. I just read Adlers blog and he said something about Erik’s being latered was a result of a specific design aspect that we didn’t see on camera. Not sure what that was, so I’ll take his word for it. They should get credit for trying to push the envelope, buy if you do, what comes out must be perfectly executed and mind-blowing for those at the party. And they missed that mark.
This wall was the beginning of a good idea – I like the “woven wood” concept – it’s sculptural and on it’s own interesting. But it made the bottles look like accents and not the main events. (Corporate sponsors just don’t like that). It also blocked the door, which made for a bad outside-in view. Finally, it needed a cleaner back drop to work.
This photo says it all. It’s pretty much a mess. The plain table rounds, white cloths and white rental chairs are standard, back yard graduation party fare. Goils’ original concept for the Dorothy Draper chandelier was intriguing and it’s too bad it couldn’t have been executed. I assume that it would have been too heavy to be suspended from the center point of the ceiling to be safe. The alternate tiered standing light display had potential, but wasn’t executed very well. The base structure was good, but they really just looked like serving trays filled with empties. Light roping, or even mini-lights, would have come in handy. The lemon wall was ok – but kind of high school dance-ish.
I wrote a paper in music school on the difference between being a culminator (bringing an established form or artistic endeavor to it’s highest possible point – Mozart) vs. being an innovator (moving a form or artistic concept forward – Bach). While the winning team didn’t do anything particularly innovative, they executed a beautiful, simple plan, nearly flawlessly and as a result made their guests comfortable and happy. The losing team tried to innovate – but had neither the time or resources to see their visions through completely and their guests were left feeling disjointed and uncomfortable.
I’d like to thank Andy on the after show for reading my question to Erik, which was:
“Do you think that you, and the other designers, were given sufficient opportunity to showcase your talents on this show?”
And I’d like to thank Eric-with-a-K for his thoughtful and diplomatic answer. He said, in effect, that while the time crunches were challenging, it’s reflective of how life is now-a-days and it’s a competition, so it’s all good.
I still say that up until this episode, I do not think we saw the best that these folks have to offer. And that’s too bad.