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Thursday October 18, 2012

Showdown time

Ready for battle:
The eight pairs of
contestants who will
be demonstrating
their talents and skills
in interior design
during the upcoming
The Apartment: Style
Edition. Ready for battle: The eight pairs of contestants who will be demonstrating their talents and skills in interior design during the upcoming The Apartment: Style Edition.

Aspiring interior designers vie for the ultimate prize on Asia’s first interior design reality TV show.

PROMISING to be bigger, better and more exciting, the second season of The Apartment: Style Edition will see eight teams of aspiring interior designers battle it out for the ultimate prize in the high-stakes competition – the ownership of a luxury condo.

Produced by Singapore-based Imagine Group with Sime Darby Property (SDP) as the main sponsor, The Apartment: Style Edition is unlike other design shows if the inaugural season last year was anything to go by. It is billed as the first interior design reality TV series in Asia. Not only are contestants expected to show a progression in style through their work, they are also expected to shine under the added pressure of timed challenges.

Viewers will also get ideas and tips while watching the contestants design, decorate and vie for their ultimate dream home. Be warned, this is not your typical home renovation show but a do-it-yourself showdown. The teams will be stretched to the limits of their creativity, ability and sanity as they battle to out-design, out-shop and out-decorate each other for the ownership of a unit at the Veo in Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.

The Veo is a project by leading integrated property developer SDP, which also developed the posh East Residence where the series is filmed. The East Residence courtyard homes, located within a gated and guarded community, are part of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club’s integrated development.

For 10 episodes beginning today, the eight pairs of contestants will be tasked with designing various rooms in an apartment, including the living room and bathrooms. The inaugural season, which aired on AXN (Astro Ch 701) last year, was reportedly watched by a total of 97 million households across 22 countries in Asia.

According to Imagine Group founder and president Riza Mehta, the new season of The Apartment: Style Edition is bigger in scale and prizes. “In the first season, we had three teams competing for the grand prize. The new season will see eight teams competing and the composition is very international, so the series is a lot bigger.

“Matching the increased sophistication of the new season, the two primary judges of the show are themselves renowned experts in the field of design. We brought in Australia’s Jamie Durie as celebrity host and Britain’s Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen as head judge, and this helped raise the calibre of the show,” Mehta said.

Durie is a landscape designer and horticulturalist who has written nine books and hosted several TV shows, while Llewellyn-Bowen is a homestyle consultant who previously appeared on BBC’s Changing Rooms renovation series and helped designed the decorations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Apartment:
Style Edition will
feature Australia’s
Jamie Durie (left) as
celebrity host and
Britain’s Laurence
Llewellyn-Bowen as
head judge. The Apartment: Style Edition will feature Australia’s Jamie Durie (left) as celebrity host and Britain’s Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen as head judge.

Llewellyn-Bowen and Durie will mentor, critique, and push the contestants to unearth hidden design talents amongst the hopefuls. Celebrity guest judges will include Paula Malai Ali, Andrea Fonseka, Lisa S and Kim Robinson, who will add glitz and glamour to each episode as well as deliver special challenges to the contestants.

The eight pairs for The Apartment: Style Edition are: fashion photographer-model Jesper and his brother, graphic designer Killian; self-employed Iva and Phillipe; radio anchorman Alex and model-singer Chelsea; fashion designer John and boutique hotel manager Daniel; performer Cynthia and housewife Paula; wine distributor general manager Paul and student Ash; events manager Kish and art director Mera; and fashion blogger Agri and make-up artist Clarissa.

“The teams were specially selected from online auditions to represent Asia’s next-generation of home owners who are looking to invest their hearts, minds and souls into their property,” explained Mehta.

Co-sponsored by Sime Darby Motors (the first runner-up will drive home in a new Ford Focus) and Dulux, The Apartment: Style Edition was filmed over 30 days in June and July after a series of auditions in April.

The contestants come from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States, the Philippines, Australia, France and Canada. As part of the contest, they will paint, tile, wallpaper and install fixtures and fittings. There will be a handyman to help them this time, unlike in the previous season.

According to SDP Property Development head Zulkifli Tahmali, The Apartment: Style Edition was conceived by SDP as a unique vehicle to reach out to its customers and demonstrate the various ways in which living spaces can be transformed to complement lifestyles.

“Our vision came alive via a creative partnership with the Imagine Group which not only produced the show but also turned it into a stunning success. The Apartment: Style Edition is an excellent platform to champion the new East Residence project and also promote Sime Darby to an international audience,” he said.

Mehta echoed the sentiment: “We are honoured to partner with Sime Darby Property again this year to produce a new season and our multinational contestants are determined to show their creativity to the world.”

He added that contestants also have to take into account the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of their designs, which might sometimes necessitate the purchase of repurposed furniture and the creation of eco-friendly decor.

“We want to show people that they can be sustainable, while also being stylish,” he said.

n Catch the premiere of the 10-episode The Apartment: Style Edition on Star World (Astro ch 711) today (Oct 18) at 9.30pm.

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