Architecture

Design Films Watchlist

It’s Friday(!) and I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to some idle time.  In addition to being a designer, I am an architectural history professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and I love to nerd out with architecture and design related reading and documentaries.   For my fellow architecture and design enthusiasts, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite films.  Whether you are into modern architecture, graphic design, or fine art, there is something for everyone in this list! 

 

Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)    F rom the film’s website:    "The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life – from the development of   modernism,   to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter   is   the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work."

Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)

From the film’s website:

"The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work."

 

 

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman  (2008)   From the film’s website:   "Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world’s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream."

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (2008)

From the film’s website:

"Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world’s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream."

My Architect (2003)    From website:   "Director Nathaniel Kahn barely knew his father, but many throughout the world did. He was renowned architect Louis Kahn, who designed noteworthy buildings in California, Texas and even Bangladesh. Nathaniel explores his father's past, interviewing architects such as Frank O. Gehry, as well as members of the multiple families started by the philandering Louis. What emerges is a portrait of a brilliant but unreliable man whose creations, which are featured prominently in the film, still astound."

My Architect (2003)

From website:

"Director Nathaniel Kahn barely knew his father, but many throughout the world did. He was renowned architect Louis Kahn, who designed noteworthy buildings in California, Texas and even Bangladesh. Nathaniel explores his father's past, interviewing architects such as Frank O. Gehry, as well as members of the multiple families started by the philandering Louis. What emerges is a portrait of a brilliant but unreliable man whose creations, which are featured prominently in the film, still astound."

 

 

Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli  (2012)    From the film’s website:    “If you can’t find it, design it” is the motto of the Vignellis, whose renowned work ranges ”from the spoon to the city.” Kathy Brew & Roberto Guerra’s film brings us into the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor."

Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli (2012)

From the film’s website:

“If you can’t find it, design it” is the motto of the Vignellis, whose renowned work ranges ”from the spoon to the city.” Kathy Brew & Roberto Guerra’s film brings us into the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor."

Herb & Dorothy  (2008)    From Amazon:    "In the early 1960s, Herb & Dorothy Vogel – a postal worker and librarian – began purchasing the works of unknown Minimalist and Conceptual artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. They proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. Herb & Dorothy provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts."

Herb & Dorothy (2008)

From Amazon:

"In the early 1960s, Herb & Dorothy Vogel – a postal worker and librarian – began purchasing the works of unknown Minimalist and Conceptual artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. They proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. Herb & Dorothy provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts."

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Film by Ken Burns  (1998)    From website:    "Frank Lloyd Wright left behind a rich legacy of beautiful houses and buildings—a truly American style of architecture, and an example of what it means to live   life   based   on your own convictions. Learn more about organic architecture, what fueled Wright’s passion, and how Wright’s work changed architecture and America."

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Film by Ken Burns (1998)

From website:

"Frank Lloyd Wright left behind a rich legacy of beautiful houses and buildings—a truly American style of architecture, and an example of what it means to live life based on your own convictions. Learn more about organic architecture, what fueled Wright’s passion, and how Wright’s work changed architecture and America."

 

 

 

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio  (2010)   From the website:   "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. Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary is guided by passionate, frank and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself."

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio (2010)

From the website:

"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. Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary is guided by passionate, frank and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself."

 

Want more recommendations?  Check out designers.watch for a comprehensive list of architecture, design, and art films.