Concrete artisan Brandon Gore of Gore Design Co., Hard Goods and Concrete Design School was tapped to be a judge on a new competition reality show on Spike TV. Framework is the first competition show based around the challenge of furniture design and construction. The first episode aired Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 10/9 central time, and episodes aired each Tuesday after that. Framework is produced by the producers of Face Off, a popular competition show on the SyFy channel pitting prosthetic makeup artists against each other.
“Thirteen builders met for weekly design challenges,” says Gore. “After they were told what the challenge was they had 24 hours to design and build their pieces.” Concrete Decor recognized Brandon Gore’s mastery of the concrete medium long before the show’s producers picked him for the role of judge and host. Gore was Concrete Decor magazine’s Artisan in Concrete in the August/September 2010 issue.
Framework has three judges. Gore is the judge of craftsmanship. “I judge on the overall quality, the upholstery, the welding and all the things that are elements of a well constructed piece of furniture,” he says.
Nolen Niu, a respected furniture designer, is the design judge who is evaluating the aesthetic aspects of the furniture. Common, who is better known as an actor and hip hop star, is the consumer judge. “He’s looking at things from the viewpoint of the consumer, of someone who would actually purchase the item for their home,” says Gore.
Although Gore didn’t know what to expect from working so closely with two other judges who have very different experiences and backgrounds, he says the chemistry and camaraderie was phenomenal.
As Gore says in the show’s preview video, the competition is intense and some of the contestants are going to crack. “The people who finished up on the show are the ones who could take criticism well,” Gore says. “And some of the outcomes were really surprising. It was a horse race every single week. There was not a clear winner. There would be a person you thought would take the whole show who would implode on the next challenge, and then there would be someone you didn’t think would do anything that did the best work to that point in the series. It was completely unpredictable, which makes for an exciting competition.”
Each week, the builders get a challenge and they have only 24 hours to meet the challenge. A builder is eliminated weekly. The winner receives a $100,000 prize along with $20,000 worth of tools from Ace Hardware. Buddy Rhodes was the show’s concrete supplier, and Gore says that concrete was used in some of the designs, but not as much as he wanted to see. “The builders had played with concrete before but weren’t as confident with it to use it in a competition,” says Gore. “But the concrete that was done was done well. Concrete is the only building material that you make from scratch yourself . . . wood you don't make, metal you don't make, so it can be intimidating for someone who has never done it or hasn't done it that much.”
Gore is hoping to shepherd along a greater use of concrete in the next season. “I hope to give people more of a sense that using concrete is something that they can do and I’d like to see more of it,” he says. “I’m hoping in season 2 to have a concrete-specific challenge to really showcase that.”
Gore is hoping also that the show’s focus on craftsmanship and “the maker movement,” or the global community of people celebrating handmade objects, will reflect on the concrete industry as a whole. “I want people to pay attention to the craftsmanship,” he says. “It’s made in America, it’s quality. The maker movement is growing and there’s a huge demand and need for people to hand-make things. It’s where our country came from, what our country was built on and people are bringing that back.”
Update: A Los Osos, California, furniture designer named Jory Brigham is the winner! Brigham, 35, beat out two other competitors to claim the title on the season finale of “Framework,” which aired March 10, 2015, winning $100,000 and $20,000 worth of tools from Ace Hardware. In addition, his work will be featured at home decor store chain CB2 in Los Angeles and New York. Brigham won the competition with his design for a concrete-and-wood coffee table and a wooden side table and credenza