Robert: Fall Out Boy

Robert: Fall Out Boy

Robert discusses his departure. What was your reaction when you found out about the fallout shelter?

My initial reaction to the "fallout shelter" project was, "Oh, that's depressing," followed by a little bewilderment after finding out who I was partnered with, and how we would create shared space that would truly reflect our individual character, yet work together. Let's be honest: If you were trapped in a confined space for the rest of your life, you would probably want to make it as personal as you could, yes? It seemed that you and Jennifer never quite worked well -- were you worried from the beginning?

Honestly, yes. I am a very disciplined and thoughtful designer, so when Jennifer just started picking random things and gave no thought to a concept or how we could collaborate on the design ideas, it was clear that she was just throwing stuff together. But, we tried to make the best of it. If you could have designed the whole room yourself, what would you have done?

Like I explained to the judges when they first came in, I would create a personal space that reflected my favorite things -- place, color, textures, artwork, furniture, photos -- all the personal effects that are important to me. I also would want a dynamic space -- so the "artwork" on the wall was something that I could continually change ... it's not like I could run down to the art store and buy some supplies. With the resources at hand, that is what I tried represent with the second challenge. What were the most important things you tried to remember for your design, since the idea was that you would have to live there for the rest of your life?

Like I mentioned before -- just to make it personal. I could explain everything that I selected and why it was there. The judges actually didn't seem too bothered with the fact that you split the room, was that a big concern for you?

It really wasn't a concern to me -- as I thought that by us representing ourselves and what was important to us, we were designing a shared, personal space that was meaningful, albeit with the limited resources that we had. It was unrealistic to think that we, as two very different people, would have a space where our all of personal perspectives were the same. What did you think of the other designs?

I think that they were predominantly "showrooms," devoid of personal perspective. I took the challenge seriously, and wanted to approach the project very personally, so that viewers would realize that their homes should be a reflection of themselves, not what someone tells them they should have. I really did not see anything "personal" in the other rooms or hear anyone describe anything that represented their personal perspective ... that was disappointing. What is the best design advice you received on your time on the show?

The notion of being true to yourself and not doing anything that would compromise your perspective, integrity and approach to design was reinforced. That's the way I have always approached the projects I work on and clients I work with. Where can people find you and your work?

Our new Web site will be up very soon ( and we have some amazing projects in the process of being photographed that illustrate the range of work we do, and we have a lot in construction right now. And yes, we do have a few projects in line to be published soon. We are also working on a book series and a couple of new media opportunities, and will hopefully have a few products on the market in 2009. I think it is obvious to everyone that I am a disciplined designer ... and take what I do very seriously.

Everything I design has a reason and I attempt to address every possible detail on a project. After the first episode, a college art professor e-mailed to tell me that she had her students watch the show and describe the designers -- I was described as the "demanding perfectionist" -- to which she added, the majority of students in her class agreed it is the way they would want to be. I thanked her, but I told her that I prefer being described as "striving for perfection," which is what my clients expect of me. Who would hire a designer with the expectation that they were just going to do a mediocre job? So, I'll wear the "demanding" label with pride.

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