How to impress the judges on The Great Interior Design Challenge
The much-anticipated series three of the great Interior Design Challenge is set to hit our screens and I know you guys are just going to love it. Three series in and I’m forever amazed at the inventiveness, audacious ambition and sheer raw talent that our amateur designers demonstrate during one of the most gruelling TV challenge series. Bake a cake? That’s for wimps. There can be no underestimation how hard these guys have to work and I take my hat off to each and every one of them.
In the ‘real world’ first of all you’d get to meet you client face to face and view the property you want to design in the flesh. See the proportions and how the light falls, how the person lives within the space. But this isn’t the real world, this is TV and the hint is in the title. It’s a Design Challenge. Daniels job and mine is far from easy, and the designers make sure of that. They throw their all into it and with only a week to prepare their designs, it’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish. They are all so hungry for it, so eager to get it right for their homeowners, so the pressure is on us to make the right decisions. So what’s on our checklist as to what we are looking for when putting an interior designer through to the next round?
Has the designer tackled the brief? This is a key part of the design process. One thing we’re certain of is this isn’t a showcase for a designer’s ego. As Daniel says, “As a designer ’ You’ are the least important part of a project”. So if we hear a designer say something like “I love this I’ve got it in my own house” (which we hear alot!), it’s a thumbs down from us’.
There are serious bonus points, however, for going beyond a brief. Some client’s put down all the styles and colours they love. Some quite frankly want the moon on a stick. The answer isn’t to aim to deliver on everything if the end result is an incoherent jumbled mess. It’s the interior designers job to edit a design, make it coherent and prioritise what can be done within the budget and time frame.
How creative have they been? When you’ve been in the game for as long as Daniel and I, showing us something we haven’t seen before is a tall order. But the designers on The Great Interior Design Challenge regularly surprise us. It might be an original way of using colour or pattern or some ingenuous product innovation. Either way if they’re innovative they’re likely to get fast tracked to the next round!
We are always impressed if a designer has tackled the boring bits as well as the fun stuff. They’ve addressed the storage, the layout the lighting plan. All the nitty gritty bits that don’t feel that creative but make a massive difference to how a room functions, and the enjoyment for the homeowner.
We’re also looking out for the interior designer’s people skills. How do they cope under pressure, how well do they work as a team? Having great people skills to not only keep your client on board but also keep your team motivated is essential in the professional world.
How well the designers communicate and present their designs is an essential element in the judging process. This is the designer’s first opportunity to make a winning impression on their homeowner. If they have any risqué design ideas they’d like to push through this is their opportunity to convince their client. One thing that does not sit well with the judges is if they try and sneak ideas through under the radar. That’s not the way to design someone’s home!
We’re keeping an eye out for a level of practical skill. Some might argue that in the ‘real world’ an interior designer isn’t required to have practical craft or making skills, but within the parameters of the Great Interior Design challenge, being able to create bespoke items for your project, takes the design up a significant notch. So whether it’s sewing, decoupage, painting, carpentry or up cycling, we want to see ingenious ideas and a high level of execution!