O.k.I admit it. This was totally, 100-percent the challenge I was dreading. We arrived at 5 Pointz in Long Island City and were told to close our eyes. We had to hold onto each other in order to be able to walk, when we opened them..there were were in the middle of the White Box Challenge!
Yes, I knew it would likely be one of the challenges and yes I had even thought about it and come up with ideas etc. Even so, I believe it is virtually impossible to predict what and how you can do the White Box Challenge until you know where you can shop and the overall outline of the challenge. One season designers had to shop at an automotive store, beauty supply shop and pet store, another season it was supposed to be travel related (that would have been good for me–smile), last year, the challenge was designing a space for a fellow designer using products from a Chinese market..you get where I am going with this. I have to admit I sat in my space for about 5 minutes and just tried to think idea/execution..what can I make and without knowing what I would find, what could I use from a restaurant supply store. In these initial 5 minutes I heard some of my fellow designers breaking up their furniture, hammering, and sawing and the whole time I kept thinking I am not going to start taking apart and destroying what furniture I do have until I at least have a concept and that turned out to be wise indeed.
After attempting to do some striping on the walls using painters tape –I abandoned that attempt as the walls in my white box were dreadfully uneven. With about an hour left on the first day, I had just enough time, hustling..to get all of my walls painted.
While I purchased colorful items like apples from the restaurant supply store I also bought boxes and boxes of plates as well as spices..good thing because as I returned to my blue room the next day, I knew it was critical for me to have something bold in my room. Inspired by Barcelona, I quickly decided to make the entire floor into a mosaic pattern, using the spices I had as well as some paint, I guessed I would have just enough to do the whole floor, also adding in loads of coffee beans. While shopping at the restaurant supply store the day before, a lot of it was just grab what you think you can use and try to make it work later! The spices, coffee and broken plates were just what I needed! The problem with the floor though is that it had to be made using mostly loose spices that were could be as easily moved as granules of sand. This put me in a position where I had to finish most of my room and then allot enough time to build the floor around me and literally sift spices and paint myself out of the room. Once I finished, the only place where I would be able to physically walk would be on the painted “grout lines”.
While I really liked the idea of putting the broken plates on the walls to further carry through the Barcelona theme, looking back I would have loved to have had the broken plates everywhere on the walls! The reality is I simply did not have enough time or enough plates. As it was what made it on the walls, were pieces of trash created from me smashing dozens and dozens of plates to create enough pieces to create the mosaic tables. It took super long to break enough plates, they were extra thick and I cut myself several times, bleeding until I finally had the good sense to put on some gloves. I also had to wear goggles to prevent little pieces from the plates from flying in my face. This was also a challenge where you gotta love power tools! In my interior design business I can honestly saw I have never had to pick up a rotary saw and cut the legs off of a piece of furniture. Let’s just say I am glad my middle school offered 8th grade shop class!
At the end of the challenge J left the group. As I was roommates with Blanche and J, suddenly after the 2nd challenge I found myself in a room alone. It would have been nice to have had some company but it was also nice to have some private time to prepare for future challenges and trust me you needed every minute of sleep and time to think you could get. At least I did!