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Hurricane Top Design

India Hicks muses on what happens when two designers clash.

Reality television is a genre of television which presents unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people ... well let me reassure you there are no ordinary people on Top Design.

Some reality TV shows may portray a modified and highly influenced form of reality, with participants put in exotic locations, sometimes coached to act in certain ways by off-screen handlers ... let me reassure you again, there are certainly no exotic locations on Top Design and no off-screen handlers, only an occasional contestant off screaming.

From bunkers to bachelor pads, believe me I was longing for an exotic location and some one to handle me. I live on a small speck of an island which suffers from a drawn out hurricane season. Top Design's first two episodes reminded me somewhat of preparing for a hurricane. You need to know the drill, you need to be prepared, organized, expect the unexpected. You mentally arm yourself. Were these contestants fully prepared for the strong winds of a design competition, spiraling inward and upward at unthinkable speeds?

Of course you can never be fully prepared, and you are bound to get some surprises. As you will have begun to see in the first two episodes of Top Design, from the most qualified and experienced to the more gifted amateurs, one can be caught quite off guard. One of the things I have found most interesting is people's ability to work in teams.

Conventional wisdom suggests that "two heads are better than one," however look what happens when you add a splash of competition, a twist of pressure, and of course, good old "creative temperament." Whilst this is television and hardly life and death, there is a lot at stake for these designers, a shot at fame and fortune certainly, but even more importantly, I believe, almost every one of the contestants takes the business of design very seriously. They are dedicated and, believe me committed. As judges we have the opportunity to be a little more relaxed and collaborative without all of the pressure that the contestants feel, but equally don't forget that none of us are actors or television professionals. How do you feel in front of a camera? Just as with hurricanes, experience helps, and its fascinating to watch how everyone manages in a crisis.

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