Framework TV Review
The reality competition series genre is losing some of its steam, but Spike TV is taking a shot on something you haven’t seen before, furniture. Sure, you’ve seen design, but I mean actually building furniture. Framework, ten weeks of furniture design challenges, may not seem like it fits exactly with what you’re used to from Spike TV, a seriously niche network if ever there was one, but somehow it makes for a good fit as a branch toward a broader audience. If you are not as handy with making your own furniture as these guys on the show and you really need something like a new dining table, you could look look into a site like furniture in fashion, to buy modern and high quality dining table sets. After watching the show, you may become a natural at making furniture. Who knows? You might even find yourself making furniture for an office, from somewhere like officemonster.co.uk.
One of the reasons the show can work a broader appeal is that while it is hosted by Common, the furniture expert judges are Nolen Niu and Brandon Gore. That works for the show, and the very general idea of the show, because though I’m told they are seriously interesting people in the world of furniture design, I have no idea who they are, and it doesn’t matter. If you hope to hit me with the next fashion, singing, or cooking competition, you better convince me that the judges are worth the title, and I probably better know their names already.
Designing furniture just isn’t the same game. Basically, I’ll take your word for how cool you are, and I’m on board. Much as that may sound insulting, that better be the case, because otherwise the potential audience can’t support the show. Furniture designers surely have their fans, but since this show didn’t hit twenty years ago, and furniture design doesn’t have a dedicated network, they just aren’t the same kind of cultural player. If you’ve taken the step of designing your own furniture and someone has taken an interest in purchasing it, why not look into something like a large item courier service, who can ship your product to the buyer easily and safely. Plus, it also means you don’t have to do this.
Luckily, as I said, it doesn’t matter. People generally may not have a favorite furniture designer, but they know awesome when they see it. And, while they may not think about it as much, they’re as familiar with furniture as they are with food, or clothing, and they are fans of the central focus that makes any competition series potentially fun to watch.
Similarly, Common, who is bizarrely charismatic, and was one of the best parts of one of the best shows on television, may not strike you as the obvious choice as host of a furniture-themed show. On the other hand, who would?
Wherever you know him from, you’ll probably be surprised that he can step into this role so well. Unless you know him from several places, and then it may not be that surprising that he can do something else. Most notably, he has a certain vibe that may not be what a a lot of people expect. First, the whole program, serious and “clock ticking” competition that it is, seems to draw from his laid back, friendly disposition. Second, he’s really into furniture. It could all be part of the act, but you don’t get the impression that he’s hosting this show because it was the gig he got offered, but because… he is really into furniture. I heard a rumor that when he was younger, he built a huge shed in his parent’s backyard and it’s still there now! He probably got the building supplies from somewhere like Tradefix Direct and then started building. You can just tell he loves all things furniture and DIY. He’s a true fan!
Still, judges and host aside, trying to move in on the niche market is tough, and the initial reaction to the idea may not move audiences to flock to the show. I hope that isn’t the case, because whatever such shows have as a draw, this show matches, and few other shows have as much potential to show off something with as much pure creativity (with the exception of possibly Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, or Face Off, but those are perhaps for a very different audience).
If you aren’t moved simply by the fact that you might get to see the world’s coolest chair, the other big sell of the show is that the challenges are well-designed themselves, and seem to actually aim at a specific, sensible, display of actual ability. Too many competition shows are now operating in a challenge-saturated zone. It’s all been done, and little of it was that great to begin with. Now we find contestants just running furiously with too little time, a hand behind their back, or otherwise put to a “test” that is probably meaningless. I may not know the designers who serve as judges, but they clearly display their knowledge and expertise while discussing design with the contestants, but also in (I imagine) creating challenges that are worthy of the name.
In contrast to the draw of other reality competition shows, there is little in the theory here that is looking for people who are really caught up in the industry (as in the case of fashion shows), or who are after an idea for the next time they whip up a batch of chairs. Framework just wants to show off what happens when you take some incredibly creative people and tell them to make something amazing.
You don’t want to miss this one, and you probably want to start getting the word out, because you’re going to be itching for the next season.
Spike TV is building a new original non-scripted franchise with the first-ever furniture design competition series, “Framework,” hosted by renowned hip-hop artist, actor, and author, Common. Premiering Tuesday, January 6 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT, “Framework” will showcase the nation’s best emerging furniture designers as they compete for a $100,000 cash prize and the opportunity to launch their furniture nationally.
Over the course of ten weeks, 13 of these innovative and inspiring builders will put their artistry and skill to the test in a series of challenges. The competitors will be pushed to the brink of their physical and creative limits with challenges that ask them to reconsider everything they know about designing and building furniture. The builders will use unconventional materials, rethink classic furniture pieces, and incorporate a variety of techniques and disciplines to demonstrate their mastery of furniture creation. In each episode, a contestant will be eliminated by a panel of judges led by host Common. Throughout his career as an artist, Common has been on the cutting edge of trends and brings his keen eye for style and understanding of consumer desire to the competition. He will be joined by two of the most influential names in the furniture world today; Nolen Niu and Brandon Gore.
Niu, whose award-winning designs have been featured in over 300 publications worldwide and whose varied client list includes Andaz hotels, MGM Resorts International and Esquire Magazine will speak to the contestants’ designs. Gore, internationally acknowledged as an artisan who has revolutionized the use of concrete in furniture, will critique the builders on their ability to execute their designs. Gore’s furniture line, Hard Goods, has been featured in Dwell, Vogue, Wired and many other design publications and won “Best Furniture Design” at Dwell on Design 2012. As judges, Niu and Gore possess a critical eye for creativity and quality – along with constructive yet brutal honesty. They will also serve to inspire and counsel the builders in an effort to bring out their best work.
No stranger to outstanding work, Common has inspired audiences through music, movies, television, books and his philanthropy. Common is one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists having garnered multiple Grammy Awards throughout his career. His tenth studio album Nobody’s Smiling debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Chart in July 2014. In addition to his award-winning music career – Common’s work in film (“American Gangster,” “Wanted,” “Terminator Salvation,”), television (acclaimed AMC series “Hell On Wheels”), and his multiple written works (The MIRROR and ME, I Like You But I Love ME, and New York Times Best Seller,One Day It’ll All Make Sense) have proven his status as a true entertainment multi-hyphenate. In addition to his music, film, and literary pursuits, Common has been the face, voice and inspiration behind some of the largest consumer brands in the country including SPRITE, Gatorade’s G Series, Diesel’s fragrance for men, “Only the Brave,” and Microsoft’s “Softwear” clothing t-shirt line.