Green Design 
From Nothing, Something
Women in Design 

Linda Manz
 I was lucky enough to see four short films and an extended documentary last month as part of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. I wasn't going to share this post, given the festival I'm referencing is now over, and many of the films did not premier at it anyway. I've since realised, weeks later and still considering aspects of each one over and over, I haven't actually felt their full impact until now. Each experience was unique, my initial understanding of everything I saw shaped by the discussion and debate with the people around me. The overarching idea I couldn't escape was, you don't know what you don't know. This has made me realise what I'm still thinking about is worth sharing so here I present the titles and my response in case you ever get a chance to see them too. (They are shown in the order I viewed them, it feels weird to have it any other way when my understanding of each piece was built on the former film.)

1. Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life, 2011
"Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature."

Directors Stephen R. Kellert and Bill Finnegan consider the positive impacts green architecture has brought about in recent trends, but maintain that in real terms, it's done little in reconnecting people to the natural world. This, they say, is the missing puzzle piece of sustainable development.   

I knew this was a film I wanted to see when I read it looked at buildings that connect people and nature–hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive.

Biophilic design has returned to my thoughts again, as Auckland City Council looks to finalise the current unitary plan.


Perhaps it's this sort of sustainable living which can enable the most livable city to flourish– a healthy and productive habitat for modern humans. 
Buy the film here.  

2. Passive Passion, 2011
"Once you go passive house, you don't go back."
This punchy 22-minute film looks at the Passive Housing movement which has swept Europe. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Charlie Hoxie documents the dream of building scientist Henry Gifford, as he embarks on creating an apartment building based on passive housing, in the United States.

Over 20,000 Passive House dwellings have been constructed in Europe, now it's time for the rest of the world to catch up. And it doesn't have to be expensive. I especially like the way David White, an energy consultant featured in the film, put it: "It doesn't take anything special in terms of technology, it just takes a special kind of attention."
Buy the film here.

3. From Nothing, Something: A Documentary On The Creative Process 
"Everyone has ideas. But what where do they come from? And what ensures they keep coming? How do you sort the genius ideas from the useless ones? Why invest all this hope and energy into making things in the first place?"

This film was more special to me than I realised at the time, as it was the last thing Jess and I did together before she left to live overseas. As I said earlier, this film is flavoured and set in my memory by the conversation had after watching it.

I love how it showcases a range of creative disciplines to capture the essence of what leads to a breakthrough idea. Director Tim Cawley documents the processes, techniques and habits of an architect, video game designer, song writer, screenwriter, comedienne, cartoonist, fashion designers, scientists and chefs. All of whom have stories of extreme success and pitfalls to share.

From Nothing, Something connected with me on a much deeper level than I thought possible prior to seeing it. Much more than an optimistic, inspirational take on "creatives", it offers refreshing insight into many industries, disregarding stereotypes to break down what "being creative" actually means today. 
Find the official site here

4. Hella Jongerius: Contemporary Archetypes, 2009
Directed by Amie Knox.

"Dutch designers are usually the brainy class clowns of design shows, with their ironic, off-kilter work. None has gained more attention in recent years than Hella Jongerius."
"I had never before met somebody who was so intelligent, in a non-verbal way." 
"Every single object that Hella has designed, and designs today, is about putting together extreme differences." 
"I think major designers are always trying to create the future. They are trying to reinvent their field. So, they look to see... I need to go in a new direction, I need to rethink. I want to rethink the chair, I want to rethink the vase. So when they pose those questions they try to find new answers for them, they're trying to create the new."

See more of Hella's work here

5. Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower, 2009
Directed by Carolann Stoney.

When she's in a cab across Chicago, architect and founder of Studio Gang, Jeanne Gang, can't resist pointing out she designed the Aqua Tower after her driver admits it's his favourite piece of the local skyline. Yet the tone of this film, one documenting her professional success, reveals an authentic tune of humility from renowned architect Jeanne Gang. One which I could aspire to from the opening scene where she details meeting with an executive partner in an interview to show him her student portfolio/book.

The film looks at Gang's other buildings; including award-winning Brick Weave House, and The Starlight Theatre with a stunning, origami flower inspired opening roof.
See more of The Aqua Tower here


No comments:

Post a Comment