When I chanced upon the five-part series – The Genius of Design by BBC – I was ecstatic that finally someone had shown interest in the thinking that goes behind everyday objects. The series took upon the history of design, where it examined the inventions like the ring pull and the fitted kitchen and how it’s affected modern life. It also explored the design eras through Industrial Revolution to the ‘Objects of Desire: From the 70s to 90s’.
Needless to say, I was glued to the segments of Philippe Starck and creatives from Apple, Ford and Stephen Fry. Having interviewed the likes of Karim Rashid and Yves Bèhar, and being associated with the design field for the last 11 years, I’ve come to realize that mainstream coverage is very few and far between.
Compiled below are three programs on Netflix that are focused on design, and a must-watch for any design advocate.
When I visited Ingo Maurer’s studio in Munich, I was captivated the work with glass this man has done. An inspiration to many in the field of lamps and lights, I can totally imagine him enjoying Blown Away. Modeled on the ‘reality show’ format, this series sees ten master artists working their way through tasks and challenges, to prove to the judges that they are the masters in glassblowing.
If you have ever visited Venice, you may have heard of the Murano Glass Museum, which houses some of the most exquisite works of glass. Three decades after this museum was established, The Corning Museum of Glass was set up and is dedicated to tell the story of glass. The first season of this show has the designers compete for $60,000 prize money as well as an artist’s residency at the Corning Museum of Glass.
While the brief changes with each episode, the outcome for all is the same – impress the judges with glassblowing skills and keep moving ahead to the finals. The ten artists are Alexander Rosenberg, Edgar Valentine, Janusz Pozniak, Kevin Kiff, Leah Kudel, K. Momoko “Momo” Schafer, Patrick Primeau, Annette Sheppard, Benjamin Kikkert, and Deborah Czeresko.
Abstract: The Art of Design
I have sifted through thousands of designs in my career and spoken with quite a few design influencers, however the one question that always gets me the most fun response is – What color will you describe yourself as. The mind of designers is an intriguing play-field and there is so much that goes on in there. The series Abstract: The Art of Design, on Netflix, takes a step inside the minds of some very compelling names.
The brainchild of former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, we get to explore the likes of illustrator Christoph Niemann, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, architect Bjarke Ingels, interior designer Ilse Crawford, photographer Platon, graphic designer Paula Scher, stage designer Es Devlin and automotive designer Ralph Gilles, who heads the design team at Fiat. The series debuted last year, but holds relevance to those who want to know more about the thinking and impulses of being a designer.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
I believe in decluttering my home, once every three months. Its more than spring cleaning, and little lesser than what Marie Kondo advocates. And for those who wonder, can they live the philosophy of Apple – less is more – this series should help you tip the scales.
Rather than being a voice that tries to urge you to live a minimalistic life, the documentary showcases you the real-world lives of folks who have adopted it as their choice – families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and former Wall Street broker – and leaves it all for your interpretation.
No shaming or patronizing mindset is felt when you watch the film – the story unfolds in a way that you are left thinking … ‘should I move to minimalism’. I know a lot of Japanese people are moving towards minimal living – and Fumio Sasaki is the most famous of them all. His book ‘Goodbye, Things’, will inspire you to be more than the objects you collect.