Is Antonio a member of ASID? No. Did he attend RISD? No. Is he a friendly Rock N Roll guy who cares about people and is willing to try almost anything? Yes, yes he is.
The show takes place in Los Angeles and tends to focus on projects and people with unconventional design orientations. The Rock / Punk / Tattoo culture of L.A. features prominently in many episodes. Antonio has taken on funky clothing stores, apartments, hotel rooms, music studios - you name it. What I like about the way he works is his seemingly infinite list of vendors that can cut, paint, bend, weld, machine or print almost anything. He has a goofy idea for something and he immediately knows who to call to make it happen. To me this makes his process very interesting and unique. Traditional designers have access to "work rooms" in most major cities. These places can custom make almost anything to almost any level of quality, but they operate within the framework of the normal traditional design world. Pink ducks? No. Kravet or Scalamandre throw pillows? Yes. Antonio doesn't use these places and he might not even know they exist. What he does use is automotive paint shops, wood shops with CNC milling machines, welders and so on. I think he touches on the old "High Tech" design movement from the late 70s in his use of industrial materials and processes.
His work tends to be referential in nature and not necessarily original. He likes to research past works from other eras and then pull inspiration from that. But that's okay, because that is what his clients want. One of his main influences is apparently the "lower east side" in 1950s New York. Not sure exactly what that implies, but I like what he does in the 50s idiom. He doesn't always put a 50s spin on things, but he obviously likes it. At other times he totally throws caution to the wind and just punts. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When an idea fails Antonio and crew are quick to regroup and find a creative solution.
One of the best things about this show is how he connects with his clients. Some of them are his friends already. Others he makes a real effort to understand what they want and what their life is about. He develops a relationship with them. The show also tries to find clients that need a helping hand. He redesigned an apartment for a deaf father who does graphics design work at home. Antonio and the crew built him a workspace and installed various technologies to help him communicate with others and to watch over for his child. The client aspires to be a cartoonist and Antonio introduced him to Stephen Silver, a well know Hollywood cartoonist. Matt the client was very excited to meet Mr. Silver. I think that kind of moment is what makes this show a little different from the usual HGTV fare.
Other IMDb reviews have been pretty harsh on Antonio, his friends and the show in general. They have criticized his work, his personality and those of his crew. Not sure I understand the point of that. I don't have any tattoos (and never will). I don't live the Rock N Roll lifestyle. I do however like to see and learn about things that are new to me. Different is quite often good, or at least entertaining. And I like it when these ideas are presented in a fun, warm and straightforward manner. Just what Antonio provides.
If you have an open mind, you might like this show.
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