"Design Directs Everything" is the mantra of the first of its kind in the United States Architecture & Design Film Festival which opened in New York City last night. Nearly forty films have been selected for this four-day, design-packed event, bringing together films, filmmakers, and leaders in the world of architecture and design.
The festival opened with the international premiere of Eye Over Prague, a documentary dedicated to the late Czech architect Jan Kaplický, co-founder of the London-based, internationally acclaimed practice Future Systems.
"Eye over Prague" is the name of Kaplický's last grand design, the project for the National Library in Prague. It is far enough ahead of its time to provoke a fair degree of controversy. For Kaplický, a Czech-born émigré, it also represents a triumphant return to his homeland, a vindication of his uncompromisingly forward-looking philosophy and, eventually, a tragically poetic ending to his remarkable career.
The film festival celebrating the creative spirit behind some of the world's most noteworthy architecture and design is taking place through October 17th at Tribeca Cinemas. The film line-up runs the full gamut from feature length films to rare, seldom screened documentaries, and prize-winning shorts. The festival will also feature conversations with leading architects and designers.
The festival works the following way. All films are shown in thirteen curated themed programs including two to four films and lasting approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are sold by program. There are eight programs a day and most programs run twice in the course of three days.
There are quite a few gems I look forward to.
Citizen Architect is a documentary film chronicling the late Samuel Mockbee, artist, architect, educator and founder of the Rural Studio. Citizen Architect explores Mockbee's effort to provide students with an experience that forever inspires them to consider how they can use their skills to better their communities.
Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day who transformed British design after World War II with striking furniture and textiles and brought accessible elegance into the homes of postwar British consumers. The film traces the Days' personal and professional progression over the course of their careers, spanning more than seventy years-from their days at the Royal College of the Arts in the 1930s, through their long heyday at the forefront of British design, to their recent rediscovery by new generations of design aficionados.
Oscar Niemeyer: An Interview. Tony Chapman meets Oscar Niemeyer in his studio overlooking Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro. They talk about the social and technical possibilities of architecture when buildings will be truly for everyone.
The Aluminium Chair is a short by Eames Demetrios, grandson of American designers Charles and Ray Eames, on the history and the production of Charles & Ray Eames' famous Aluminium Chair.
Vincent Scully: An Art Historian among Architects, a film about the architectural scholar whose insights have been eye-opening and have championed the work of such modern architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, and Aldo Rossi. Scully has focused on topics ranging from the American Shingle Style of the late 19th Century, which he identified and named, to a reassessment of Greek temples and their response to the surrounding landscape. The breadth and depth of his knowledge, which has included a close familiarity with literature as well as with the visual arts, has given a special richness to his historical interpretations.
Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight is artfully directed by first-time filmmaker Wendy Keys. For many, Milton Glaser is the personification of American graphic design. Best known for co-founding New York Magazine and the enduring I ♥ NY campaign, the full breadth of Glaser's remarkable artistic output is revealed in this documentary portrait, glancing into everyday moments of Glaser's personal life and capturing his immense warmth, humanity and the boundless depth of intelligence and creativity.
And these are just the beginning. Inspired by Jan Kaplický's words: "Must live, must love, must design," I am off to the movies!