Ellen's Design Challenge: Meet the Season Two Contestants
About the Show
Season two of Ellen’s Design Challenge will showcase competitors as they sketch, design and build innovative furniture to avoid elimination. In a season filled with countless surprises, the finalists will be tasked with designing furniture for the greenrooms at The Ellen DeGeneres Show and more. At the end of the season, the last competitor standing will receive a $100,000 cash prize courtesy of Wayfair.com and see their work featured in HGTV Magazine.
Vivian Beer, Manchester, New Hampshire
Vivian is a furniture designer and business owner in Manchester, New Hampshire. She says her style is modern and that she loves to “push the envelope” with her work by using industrial materials such as concrete and auto body paint. She says she believes her academic background in the Fine Arts allows her to find inspiration in different places, including the arts and crafts community, architecture and even car design.
Bradley Bowers, Miami, Florida
Bradley Bowers, a furniture designer and business owner in Miami, says his ultimate design goal is to showcase the innate beauty of the materials he loves, including paper, latex, wood and fiberglass. He describes his design style as “Materialistic” because he is “intrigued by the power and the knowledge that objects possess.”
Miles Endo, Providence, Rhode Island
Miles Endo was born in Tokyo and raised in Hawaii. As the son of two artists, he says he was drawn to creative pursuits at an early age. He describes his design style as modern with a Japanese influence and enjoys working with different types of woods and metals, such as steel, bronze, brass and cast iron. Miles specializes in custom furniture, culinary serving boards and Taiko drums, a Japanese percussion instrument.
McKenzie Gibson, Providence, Rhode Island
McKenzie is a furniture designer from Providence, R.I. She describes her design style as avant-garde and does not limit herself to traditional furniture norms. Her work has been described as very playful and McKenzie says she wants people to touch and interact with her designs. In addition to working with woods and metals, she says she loves to incorporate various types of rope into her designs.
Kyle Huntoon, Detroit, Michigan
Kyle Huntoon, a fourth generation woodworker, is a furniture designer and business owner in Detroit, Michigan. He says he is inspired by the clean geometric lines of mid-century modern design and loves to incorporate traditional joinery techniques in his works. He uses a variety of American hardwoods in his designs and specifically likes to work with black walnut—his favorite trees from his great-grandparent’s farm.
Alexis Moran, Orinda, California
Alexis Moran, a furniture designer and business owner in Orinda, California, describes her design style as modern, but acknowledges that most modern furniture lacks personality. She says she strives to infuse bold character into her designs and loves to showcase special aspects of each piece of material, whether it’s natural or industrial. She finds a lot of beauty in natural materials and composition and typically works in wood and concrete. She also works in glass, metals, and plastics.
Sef Pinney, Los Angeles, California
Sef Pinney, an L.A.-based furniture designer and business owner, characterizes his design style as modern with Danish and Asian influences. He says he prefers to work with any type of beautiful wood and veneers, as well as industrial materials such as aerospace plywood, aluminum, steel and titanium. Sef says his strength as a designer is his ability to envision and execute complicated, elegant pieces.
Melissa Rivera Torres, Pleasant Hill, California
Melissa Rivera Torres, a furniture designer and business owner born and raised in Mexico, describes her style as modern industrial. She says she loves to use bold colors and fun materials that allow her pieces stand out and make people smile. Melissa says she enjoys working with stainless steel, wood, PVC, Plexiglas, acrylic and aluminum and isn’t afraid to try unconventional ideas—she once transformed a 28,000ft warehouse into the stage for Hawaii’s first ever Fashion Month.