trust me, i'm a designer

last night's netflix offering was trust me, i'm a designer -- a retrospective on the original BBC hit that spawned the entire DIY show genre. my favorite thing about the show is not what the redesigned rooms look like -- it's watching the designers wrangle their clients; in this case, the team of neighbors assigned to them.

one thing i don't understand is why poor laurence llewellyn-bowen is the one designer none of the normal people want to work with, as he's my favorite designer on that show. the whining, the crying, the pissing and moaning, when people find out that they have to work with laurence or that he's doing their room -- i don't get it. sadly, the only person who was ever excited to work with him was an artist -- which isn't too surprising.

okay, i'll just cave in. who am i kidding? i ADORE laurence.

  • laurence has a much more diverse style than he's given credit for, and consistently manages to deliver rooms that fulfill the design brief he's given. i find it amusing in that 'been there' way -- that often, no one tells the designers what their clients are actually like. so the person who collects victorian pub mirrors ends up with a room straight out of dwell; the person who loves calder ends up with an australian-themed room; which you can hardly blame the designer for.
  • as far as i know, he's the only designer on television who's made a series that discusses the elements of design, as it applies to rooms. while design isn't transitive, the basic principles of design are, and that's what's lacking in so many projects i've seen, whether it's interior design, or graphic design, or art.
  • he's got formal training in fine art. never underestimate the power of being able to draw your vision by hand, at a moment's notice, to convince a client. not only is it useful, but it is a subtle way of demonstrating that you do, actually, happen to have been trained and are a professional with enough knowledge and skill to do this on the fly. it's the most subtle way of saying trust me, i'm a designer, that i use.
  • laurence and i are both persistently mislabeled as gay, and so i feel a sort of kinship with him. he gets it because of his flamboyant dandy persona, which we're no longer used to seeing in men -- but would've been nondescript a couple of centuries ago. (well, i can't really imagine laurence ever being nondescript.) i get mistaken for being gay mainly on the grounds of not liking makeup, frilly, feminine things, my love of birkenstocks, and not suffering fools gladly. now, when a lesbian makes that mistake, i consider it a great compliment. but when it's used as a pejorative, or an insult to make me conform, it drives me nuts.
  • he's married to a woman who isn't thin, but is very curvy. i'd like to nominate him for canonization for sainthood on those grounds alone.
  • he draws amazing arabesques. dude. Media 1328 Walls Lrg 006 i covet that sketchbook.
  • and he's not afraid to make fun of himself, as this commercial for laundry detergent shows.

i've long believed that every designer should be issued a magic 8 ball along with their 'fuck you, i'm a designer' card, upon graduating from an accredited school or completing 5 years in the trenches. hmm, i have 15 years in the trenches now. i wonder what sort of object i should get… whatever the badge of credibility is, i want one designed by laurence.

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