Fur­ni­ture fun

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sea­son 2 of “Ellen’s De­sign Chal­lenge.”

For most of us, the word “chair” prob­a­bly brings to mind a sin­gle, uni­ver­sal im­age sig­ni­fy­ing the to­tal­ity of chair-ness. Same with the idea of “ta­ble” or “bed.”

But the fact is, the range of chairs, ta­bles, beds and other fur­nish­ings is lim­it­less and ev­er­grow­ing, al­ways in­spir­ing fur­ther in­no­va­tions.

Any­one doubt­ing that is wel­come to tune into “Ellen’s De­sign Chal­lenge,” which re­turns for its se­cond sea­son Mon­day at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV.

“How many more ways are there to make a coffee ta­ble? How many more ways are there to make a chair?” poses Ellen DeGeneres. “De­sign Chal­lenge” prom­ises to shed light on those ques­tions.

DeGeneres - who says, “I love any­thing that goes in a house, in­clud­ing the house it­self ” hatched the idea for this de­sign com­pe­ti­tion, which will show­case 10 can­di­dates (up from six last year).

They will sketch, de­sign and build in­no­va­tive fur­ni­ture with the hope of out­last­ing their ri­vals and, at the end, re­ceiv­ing the $100,000 prize.

On ev­ery episode, th­ese com­peti­tors will face new de­sign chal­lenges as each is paired with an ex­pert car­pen­ter to ful­fil that week’s as­sign­ment. Maybe they’re re­quired to make a cer­tain type of fur­ni­ture. Maybe they’re lim­ited to cer­tain ma­te­ri­als.

Then their cre­ations are eval­u­ated by a panel of judges, with the field of com­peti­tors con­tin­u­ally nar­row­ing.

“It’s got the drama of their hav­ing to come up with ideas while try­ing to make a dead­line,” says DeGeneres, who will make the oc­ca­sional sur­prise ap­pear­ance, but, as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, mostly watches with great in­ter­est from off-screen.

“My pas­sion is de­sign,” she says, which is how she came up with “De­sign Chal­lenge.”

“Some of the de­signs on the show are func­tional as a piece of fur­ni­ture, and some of it is art,” she notes.

The same as in her home: “Some of my favourite chairs are not re­ally com­fort­able, but I love the de­sign of them. It’s not go­ing to be in my liv­ing room to ac­tu­ally in­vite guests to sit on, but it’s go­ing to be an ob­ject I love hav­ing on dis­play.”

No doubt the judges will be tested along with each de­signer, as they size up each cre­ation for both its form and its func­tion.

DeGeneres prom­ises, in Ellen fash­ion, that this sea­son will be “big­ger, bet­ter and ar­moire-ier,” and adds, “It’s an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to re­al­ize the amount of tal­ent out there that didn’t get ex­po­sure un­til this show.”

This im­age re­leased by HGTV shows judges Chris­tiane Lemieux, from left, and Cliff Fong with Ellen DeGeneres dur­ing the tap­ing of “Ellen’s De­sign Chal­lenge,” re­turn­ing for a se­cond sea­son on at 9 p.m. EST on HGTV. (Gilles Min­gas­son/HGTV via AP)

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