Top 12 Documentaries about Furniture, Design, and Architecture

Top 12 Documentaries about Furniture, Design, and Architecture

As the clock is about to ring 2022, we have prepared a special list of films to rescue you from the New Year's Day holiday with nothing to do. Here are 12 documentaries on furniture, design, and architecture, whether you're on the road, or planning to stay home, to enrich your knowledge, get inspiration for living differently, or, just see the world.

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United States
2011
Duration: 85 minutes
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Reasons for recommendation: When it comes to the designs of the Eameses, the classic chairs named after the Eameses are the ones that most often come to mind. But the film shows us that the unique combination of practicality and aesthetics has left its mark on almost every aspect of contemporary life.

Charles and Ray Eames are among the most influential and important industrial designers in the United States, known for their personal creativity and charisma, and have an iconic place in American culture.

<Eames: The Architect & The Painte> is a documentary about the Eameses and the Eames office, produced and written by Jason Cohn and co-produced by Bill Jersey. Information is drawn from rare archival footage and interviews with their friends, colleagues and experts, thus capturing the story of Charles and Ray in the context of a fascinating era.

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DocumentariesThe Eameses argue that not only can individualism coexist with commercial standardization, but that trait expression can also flourish in the collective ritual of consumption, which stands for -what you buy is what makes you who you are.

The film shows their work in stunning detail, how they expanded themselves, full of objects, information, stories and characters as well as a busy elegance. Furniture, household items, films, exhibitions - sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything the Eames did, but this documentary does, and it fulfills the need for biography as well as conveying beauty and meaning.

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Documentaries Switzerland 
2019
Duration: 90 minutes

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Reasons for recommendation: It is "the history of sitting" but also "the art of sitting", in the film each chair has its own "Personality". Above the function of sitting, the history of chairs also condenses the history of social development, and after watching it, you can't help but want to buy a master class furniture for your home.

From 1800 to today, this documentary depicts the multifaceted world of the chair. Cleverly arranging a chair into the field through the credits, the production and influence of each chair is interpreted from the perspective of industry, art and design, exploring the design journey from 1800 to today's use of 3D printing, presenting over 200 years of the world's chair and bench furniture history.

DocumentariesDocumentariesDocumentariesSpecifically, the film taps into the fact that each chair reflects the production techniques, social structures and fashion trends of the era in which it was created. For example, Charles Eames, who experimented with plywood bending, introduced the Eames plywood chair, used for plywood used by the Navy during the Second World War, which was lightweight and easy to carry.

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DocumentariesIrish 
2014 
Duration: 76 minutes

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Reasons for recommendation: This documentary chronicles the legendary life of Eileen Gray, not only as a woman's struggle, but also as an inspirational book of self-awareness and self-growth.

Through numerous interviews with modern art collectors, auctioneers, and literary scholars, the film looks back at the aesthetic life of Eileen Gray, the 20th century Irish modernist architect. The most pioneering designer of the 20th century revolutionized our homes and architecture with her unique vision and creativity, creating what we now call the "modern concept of interior design".

Reasons for recommendationHighlights several of Eileen Gray's landmark design treasures and their origins, as well as a lengthy account of Gray's many personal and emotional lives after designing her first architectural work, the seaside condominium E-1027, with her lover, Barduvitch, including the delicate relationship between Barduvitch and Corbusier, and the three men's different collisions and controversies over modernist design ideas. Controversy.

Through interviews, the enigmatic and understated architect is restored in images, presenting the profound influence she had on the aesthetics of architecture and interior design in Europe.

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UK 
2018
Duration: 59 minutes

DocumentariesReasons for recommendation: Mackintosh's chairs are world-famous and iconic. But at the time he was not taken seriously locally, follow the documentary to find out what Mackintosh's genius has left behind between history and modernity.

Today, Mackintosh's most famous architectural creation is his Glasgow School of Art building. This documentary is particularly poignant in the aftermath of the second devastating fire that hit the Glasgow School of Art.

Glasgow artist Lachlan Goudie examines the life, work and legacy of Scotland's most famous architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, calling him "the greatest genius in the history of Scottish art ".

DocumentariesOne of Glasgow artist Lachlan Goudie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh's iconic chairs

In the BBC documentary Mackintosh: Glasgow's Overlooked Genius, artist Lachlan Goudie says: "He was obsessive, visionary and a genius. ""He created a complete artistic whole in every building and every interior."

DocumentariesCharles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 - 10 December 1928) was largely unappreciated in Britain during his lifetime, but in Europe he was regarded as a leading figure in the field of avant-garde art and design.

The film introduces Mackintosh's iconic Glasgow School of Art.Mackintosh's personal story is interwoven with his architecture, design and watercolour paintings. He fought for his work and endured real poverty, but continued to create extraordinary artwork.

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DocumentariesUnited States
2013 
Duration: 80 minutes
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Reasons for recommendation: Vignelli Associates is one of the greatest multi-disciplinary design firms in history, and Massimo Vignelli and Lella Vignelli are the designer couple who founded the firm. One of the most powerful parts of the film is the careful display of Lella's equal contribution to the design process.

<DESIGN IS ONE> tells the story of Lella and Massimo Vignelli, one of the greatest partners in design. Created in 2012, the film looks back on their design careers. From their first client Knoll to the redesign of the New York subway map, the viewer is given a timeline of the development of the work. Documentaries

DocumentariesAdvertisement for the Heller compact stacking tableware designed by Lella and Massimo Vignelli in 1964; the installation won the Compasso d'Oro Award for Excellence in Design in the same year and is still in production.

DocumentariesOne of the most powerful parts of the film is the careful display of Lila's equal contribution to the design process. Often, Massimo is portrayed in the design community as a major force in their work, and many people don't realize how important Lila is to his success. The couple has been together for over fifty years and they credit their shared interest in design for the success of their relationship, as Lila says in the film, "Massimo is the dreamer and I own reality." With this, they have achieved great success by creating stunning designs that not only solve design challenges, but also delight audiences.

DocumentariesDocumentaries Lella Vignelli, New York, 1980

Documentaries Close your eyes and imagine the logos of famous brands such as American Airlines, Ford, IBM, Xerox, Gillette, etc., and you will gain new insights about how these images connect while watching this film.

Throughout the film, we hear Lila and Massimo repeatedly explain that their lives have been dedicated to helping millions of Americans understand their country. From home furnishings to subway maps, from chairs to books, from jewelry to magazines, from watches to calendars, the couple's hands have made our world a more welcoming and humorous as well as diverse place.

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Documentaries Switzerland
  2011
  Duration: 86 minutes

DocumentariesReasons for recommendation: Remember our "Tribute to Classic Furniture Posters in the Age of Paper" issue, which featured classic furniture posters by Herbert Matter, a designer who uses photography as a design tool?

The Visual Language of Herbert Matter presents the fascinating life story of this influential mid-century modern design master. Swiss-born Herbert Matter was the quintessential designer, credited in large part with using photography as a design tool and bringing the semantics of fine art into the realm of the applied arts. Documentaries

DocumentariesDocumentariesAlways balancing fine art projects with commercial work, the quiet designer has discovered his own unique design language, resulting in such iconic works as the corporate identities of Knoll Associates and New Haven Railroad. He specializes in photographing early furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, and has produced covers for Vogue and Art & Architecture. Through never-before-seen footage, personal photography and outstanding graphic design work, the film explores the social and cultural impact of his personal visual language on an entire generation of designers and artists.

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DocumentariesUnited States 
2009 
Duration: 75 minutes

Reasons for recommendationReasons for recommendation: If you too are interested in industrial design, or are studying it, then from this documentary you can recognize the complex relationship we have with the objects we make and the objects we design from the perspective of one of the influential industrial designers. One can learn about who we are and who we want to be from the objects that surround us.

Directed by independent filmmaker Gary Hustwit, Face of Design is a feature-length independent documentary on the subject of industrial design. The film features detailed footage of the process of creating industrial products, as well as conversations and discussions with some of the world's leading designers. Director Gary Hustwit uses insightful footage to document these industrial design products that are everywhere around us. Who makes all these things, and why do they look and feel the way they do? All these objects are "designed", but how does good design make them, and our lives, better?

DocumentariesDocumentariesThe designers interviewed in "Design in Perspective" include Paola Antonelli, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Chris Bangle, Chief Designer at BMW in Munich, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, a Parisian design duo, Andrew Blauvelt, Graphic Designer at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and many more of the world's most influential designers. Blauvelt and other of the world's most influential designers. Their designs are slowly changing our lives and pushing us to think bigger and bigger.

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According to Dots Production, the film is the second part of a three-film series, The Design Trilogy, while recommending the first one, Helvetica, about the famous typeface, and the third and final one, Urbanized, a documentary, and the much-anticipated 2018 Gary Hustwit's Rams documentary attention, about legendary industrial design designer Dieter Rams.

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DocumentariesJapan
2020 
Duration: 90 minutes
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Reasons for recommendation: The film simultaneously conveys how architectural practice takes root and the extent to which the built and cultural environment feeds and shapes our imagination.

In the 2020 release of their new architectural film Tokyo Ride, architectural artists and filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine return to Tokyo to follow the adventures of architect Ryūe Nishizawa and his partner Kazuyo Sejima .

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DocumentariesNot only is the film a biography in the classic sense of one of today's most talented and celebrated Japanese architects, it presents this experience of urban drift with pure spontaneity. Ryo Nishizawa tells the story of his relationship with his hometown through some of the locations that have a special relationship with him, the buildings that influenced him and his own architectural projects.

DocumentariesDocumentariesTravelling through rain, sunshine, overpasses and concrete bridges, we see the temples, restaurants, cafes and housing he has designed. During the journey they talk about city life, Japanese culture, European history, cinema, music and the process of transforming ideas into buildings. The film simultaneously conveys how architectural practice takes root and the extent to which the built and cultural environment feeds and shapes our imagination.

The film was first screened at DocAviv 2020 and won the "Artistic Vision Award".

 

DocumentariesItaly
2017
Duration: 63 minutes

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Reasons for recommendation: Choosing a home is also choosing a lifestyle. What does architecture give to life? Or what does life give to architecture? In this documentary you can get a different answer.

Another Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine directed Moriyama-san, a 63-minute experimental film about noise music, acrobatic reading, silent cinema and Japanese architecture, takes as its vehicle the documentation of a week in the mundane life of Mr. Moriyama. The lover of Japanese art, architecture and music lives in one of the most famous contemporary buildings, the Moriyama House, which was built in Tokyo in 2005 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Ryue Nishizawa.

DocumentariesDocumentariesRedefining family life in an experimental light, Ila Bêka gives a personal account of the unique personality of its owner: an urban recluse living in an archipelago of peace, a film that takes us into the free world of Mr. Moriyama, from noise music to experimental cinema.

Documentaries"Mr. Moriyama is truly an extraordinary man," Lemoine added. "He is a kind of modern urban recluse with such a broad and deep knowledge of any culture in music, film, literature and architecture." "What we admire most about him is that even living in such a prestigious house, Mr. Moriyama is a very authentic person who is extremely free in his thoughts and lifestyle. He was as experimental as his house, so the house was, in his mind, a portrait of himself in a certain way."

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DocumentariesFrench
2008
Duration: 58 minutes

DocumentariesReasons for recommendation: MaisonàBordeaux redefines the term "the house is the machine of life". Through the film, the viewer is introduced to the daily intimacy of the house through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper, and the other people who care for the building.

Koolhaas Houselife is a 2008 documentary film directed by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine. Before Koolhaas and OMA were commissioned for the project in 1994, the family's husband suffered a fatal car accident that left him paralyzed in the lower back. Two years after the accident, the couple contacted Koolhaas to design the Ball House for them. Despite being paralysed, the man did not want a simple house but a complex design and said, "Contrary to your expectations. I want a complex house because the house will define my world."

DocumentariesDocumentariesLooking at architecture from the point of view of an aunt who works as a cleaner, the perspective is a novel one that allows architects, especially those who spend their days obsessing over architectural logic and the art of space, to take a good look at how architecture works in everyday life. With humorous quips from janitor Guadalupe Acede about architecture such as "All the best works of the past leak" and "If I had the money, I wouldn't design a house like this." It's quirky and funny, exploring and questioning the specific practicality of well-made houses while marveling at their magnificent mechanics.

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DocumentariesGerman
2008
Duration: 93 minutes

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Reasons for recommendation: If you want to get to know Rem Koolhaas, you can start with this documentary.

The documentary "Rem Koolhaas: An Architect of sorts" opens with the question: "Who is Rem Koolhaas? Although there are conventional enough answers, directors Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch do not take a conventional approach to the answer. More, it features interviews with Koolhaas by other architects and friends about his creative process and his influence on the field.

DocumentariesFew architects have caused such a stir outside the world of architecture as Rem Koolhaas. His outstanding works, such as the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Library, and the Casa da Musica concert hall in Porto, are exemplary examples of Dutch theory about architecture, and the documentary can introduce us to the heart of his thinking.

Rem Koolhaas said, "This is the only film I like about me." In theory, the work done by the creatively talented Koolhaas completely takes the field of architecture to a new level, and in any case, it's a classic that practitioners of architecture and even design have to see.

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DocumentariesFrench
1957
Duration: 20 minutes

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Reasons for recommendation: In this film, Le Corbusier narrates his work while showing a blueprint of the buildings he designed and how they turned into a building that is pleasing to the eye, and his thoughts on the architectural scheme of Paris may lead one to think of many more things.

Le Corbusier, l'architecte du bonheur (The Man Who Built Happiness), directed by Pierre Castel, follows the work of French architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965), originally from Switzerland, and his architectural philosophy.

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