Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Goil Amornvivat (Bravo's "Top Design")

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Goil moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. After graduating from Yale, he was handpicked by Robert A.M. Stern, a world-renowned architect, to work for him. It was here that he collaborated on a project to design and build the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Goil's work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He likes open spaces and can do everything from interiors, architecture, landscapes and product design. Goil believes he has a more worldly approach to his style, and says he's used to a competitive environment and loves to win.

Self-described as “small, spicy and fabulous,” Goil is known to stand his ground and confront his challenger face-to-face when conflicts arise.

RC: You studied architecture in college – what was the first big project you got to work on? And how old were you?
GA: My first big project was the Comcast Tower in Philly working for Robert Stern.

RC: How did you gain your background in interior design?
GA: The two disciplines are very close to each other. They’re connected. For me, I don’t see the line.

RC: What was the audition process like for “Top Design”?
GA: It was so long ago! I think what we did was ... I sent in an application form, set up a meeting with a casting person. Apparently I was a day late, I was totally oblivious. I brought my portfolio, prepared a little bit of a speech - what I am about or what my work is about.

RC: Being more of an architect, were you intimidated going into the competition?
GA: Going into the competition, I was a littler nervous. For a while, I didn’t tell anybody about my background. I didn’t want them to count me out so soon.

RC: On last week’s episode, you had to design a hotel room using the element “fire”. You & Andrea ended up in the bottom two. Why do you think you ended up getting sent home?
GA: I’m not exactly sure. To be really honest, I don’t hate my room. I had one element that I didn’t finish … I couldn’t finish it to my liking. This time, I ran into time sensitive issues.

RC: How do you deal with stress?
GA: I’m really easygoing but when it comes to work, I’m quite focused. I work my way out of it. The first episode was the easiest, I had Elizabeth next to me helping me out. And my carpenter, Sarah, has been by my side, calming me down. As an artist, you need to go through the range of emotions.

RC: You seemed to have a high level of respect for Andrea’s work throughout the competition. Are you hoping she wins?
GA: Of course! I love her! She’s a few models ahead of me in terms of work. I hope that she wins. I love what she represents.

RC: Looking back, which project did you think was your best during the show?
GA: I actually liked the children’s room & the college student’s room. Those two rooms are very personal for me. The children’s room was all active, the concept part was very clear. It was executed in a clean & rich way. You can look at that way room & there’s a lot of different layers in it. The fourth room was the same way. My college student was a painter. I asked her, if your house was burning down, what would you grab? She said her painting. Her painting had much to do with abuse & violence. My room manifested itself in that way. All the pieces were broken.

RC: What’s next for you?
GA: I have been back developing my practice. I left Robert Stern & started my own practice. Then this show came along & I’m picking up where I left off.

Can we expect to see you on the finale?
GA: You’ll have to watch & see!

Thanks to Goil for talking to RealityCheck!

"Top Design" airs on Bravo Wednesday nights at 10pm EST.

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