Objectified: Dissecting Design
What cinema vérité and toothbrushes have to do with the truly transformational.
By Maria Popova
UPDATE: Objectified is now out on DVD — and it is just as excellent as it promised to be.
Imagine picking the brains of the world’s most innovative, influential, brilliant designers. The ones who transcend the realm of greatness and rise to the level of genius.
Now imagine not having to imagine that.
From Helvetica director Gary Hustwit comes Objectified, a new design documentary that delves into the magic of what is loosely known as “industrial design” — a term perhaps poorly suited, in its crude connotation, to a field that gives us anything from inspired toothbrushes to revolutionary tech gadgets, all held together by the common thread of being something more than mere objects to those who use them.
Objectified picks apart notions like creativity, identity, consumerism and sustainability — terms tossed around rather frivolously these days, but truly grasped and appreciated by few — examining them through film vérité and revelatory conversations with some of the world’s most influential designers.
The film features legendary designers like Karim Rashid and Naoto Fukasawa, world-changing design studios like IDEO and Smart Design, and some of our own deeply, deeply revered design idols like MoMA curator of design Paola Antonelli.
We’re rather excited for Objectified — because besides being deeply inspirational by way of exposure to pure genius, the film also makes us commonfolk look within ourselves for that peculiar force that makes us relate to the world and to each other through objects, using beatifully designed artifacts as extensions of ourselves, as badges, as fundamental pieces of self-definition.
Published January 6, 2009