Who Has A Better Furniture Design Show, Common or Ellen?

Hey, all you readers of Wallpaper who never thought the day would come when making furniture would be seen as sexy enough to do live on television: your day has come! There is not one but two television shows heading about building furniture being released in January. There hasn’t been this much obscure, dense design oddity on television since The Pitch! (And Top Design before it!)

The shows are Spike’s currently airing Framework with Common and HGTV’s upcoming Ellen’s Design Challenge with—uhh—Ellen Degeneres. While these shows have the potential to enlighten laypeople to design practices, a lot of the shows’ successes will be lent to authenticity. So, let’s place both these chairs against the wall and analyze which (or if both) will be worthy of your well designed time.

: The show totes itself as an “arc competition series exploring the compelling world of furniture design/construction.” There is also some talk of HIGH STAKES and A NEED TO FUNCTION. You know, REALITY BUZZWORDS.

ELLEN’S DESIGN CHALLENGE: Perhaps because she needs new furniture or wants to feed her QVC collection, Ellen is flying designers to Los Angeles to build. They will have a workshop, lead designer, and tools at their disposal and will be judged by “a panel of experts.”

ADVANTAGE? Framework. The format of the show is a bit more stereotypical reality but the format *does* rely on each designer’s individual expertise and taste, versus Ellen’s.

: Spike is a network dedicated to men’s interest. A furniture design vehicle seems a *little* bit uncomfortably connected to aggressive testosterone centers like Catch A Contractor, Frankenfood, and Tattoo Nightmares. Maybe all the furniture is for Common’s man cave?

ELLEN’S DESIGN CHALLENGE: Do you have a mother? Do you enjoy Pinterest? Do you make crafts? This is HGTV.


: Common is the main host but is also assisted by industrial designer Nole Niu and furniture maker Brandon Gore. Yet, does Common have any design prowess? Outside of great taste, musical, and acting skills, it seems like this may be something he’s casually into, just like any other shopper at Design Within Reach. He does have some products sold under “Uncommon Gear.” (EYEROLL. EYEROLL. EYEROLL.)

ELLEN’S DESIGN CHALLENGE: Daytime television host and comedienne Ellen Degeneres is womanning this ship. She does have a QVC line and she has offered this quote on the subject: “You’re gonna be on the edge of your seat with every episode. And these people make seats, so if that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will.” Cool, mom!

ADVANTAGE? Surprisingly, Ellen gets this one. Her QVC line has some decent home goods while “Uncommon Gear” is only Common swag.

: Mostly serious faced people billed as “Builders,” the cast is a diverse group each with their own practice: Jessica Brown has some fun, yet disconnected pieces; Jory Brigham has a woodsy sophisticated palette; Craig Bayens is almost uncomfortably rustic; and Garrett Brown makes some sleek stuff. Quite a roster!

ELLEN’S DESIGN CHALLENGE: This grouping is only six people. They range from the overly trendy to surprisingly good fun to extreme Etsy to kind of cool shit. It’s a small—but curiously mixed—bag.

ADVANTAGE? Framework. Yet, Ellen’s cast member Katie Stout seems like the raddest one of both gangs.

Look, neither are going to be that legit—but Framework does indeed have potential. The thing about Ellen’s is that you know the edgy people will go home first. That’s how a format like that works. (No shade on Ellen.) Framework might not be as funny but it certainly will let the designers, alone, make.

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