From May 5 to 9, the Architecture and Design Film Festival in Chicago features a selection of 39 films and documentaries about design heavyweights including Renzo Piano, Stefan Sagmeister and Philippe Starck. Here are our top 10 picks.
1. The Art & Science of Renzo Piano – e² Design Series
In this 26-minute film, director Beth Levison explores how the Italian architect’s esteemed California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is a model for sustainable design and how people interact with public buildings.
2. Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight
Graphic design devotees will flock to this film on the iconic co-founder of New York magazine and the creator of the world-famous I Love New York campaign. Director Wendy Kays provides a snapshot of the American godfather of graphic design’s daily life and celebrates his prolific career and unmatched creativity.
3. How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster?
Focusing on renowned architect Norman Foster, this film highlights the inspirations behind such monumental projects as the Beijiing Airport and the Millau Viaduct in France. It also covers Foster’s proposed solutions to an influx of urban migration.
4. Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm
Archival video, new footage shot over 10 years and animations based on oddball sketches make up this film about the 1970s renegade architecture studio widely known for its Cadillac Ranch land-art installation in Texas.
5. Malls R Us
This exploration of the suburbanite’s oasis looks at the some of the largest shopping malls (some no longer standing, others currently under construction) in Canada, the U.S., Japan and Dubai and includes interviews with architects, developers, environmentalists and consumers who discuss the appeal of the gargantuan environments and how they modify our social values and notion of space and community.
6. Citizen Lambert: Joan of Architecture
“She wears buildings the way other people wear clothes,” says the narrator in director Teri Wehn-Damisch’s film about Canadian architect Phyllis Lambert. Archival footage documents the building of the Canadian Centre for Architecture as well as the various revitalization projects Lambert has championed.
7. The Aluminum Chair
For fans of the Eameses: In eight minutes, director Eames Demetrios (and chairman of the Eames Foundation) shows the history and production of his parents’ Charles and Ray Eames‘s Aluminum Chair.
8. Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower
An examination of Jeanne Gang‘s stunning 82-storey Chicago apartment tower (“the tallest designed by a woman” – most critics make sure to point out) that overlooks Millennium Park. The film focusses on the various green features Gang utillized, including heat-resistant and reflective glass and a massive roof garden.
9. Eye Over Prague
Director Olga Spátová remembers Czech architect Jan Kaplicky, co-founder of the renowned London studio Future Systems (with Amanda Levete) in this film that features interviews with his FS team as well as other prominent architects, such as Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid. Spátová also explores Kaplicky’s last commission before his death: the controversial design for the National Library in Prague.
10. 43 Columns On Scene in Bilbao
Forget the Alessi juicer or Kartell’s Ghost chair, Philippe Starck’s career showstopper is the recently completed AlhóndigaBilbao, a cultural centre in the Spanish city. Starck worked with Italian designer Lorenzo Baraldi to design 43 columns in bronze, steel, marble, bricks and wood – a process that directors Leonardo Baraldi and Eleonora Sarasin capture in this film.
See adfilmfest.com for dates, times and ticket prices.
Images from: AD Film Fest.