idsgn (a design blog)


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April 10 2009


Objectified, Gary Hustwit's followup documentary to Helvetica, hosted a special screening last night in NYC. It almost goes without saying that fans of Helvetica will enjoy Gary's new film. And for those of us, Gary announced last night he is currently working on his third design-related documentary (and then hopes to move onto other subjects).

Objectified, which will open May 5th, is a feature-length documentary about our relationship with manufactured objects and the people who design them. Overall, the film was very engaging, providing a rare glimpse into the industrial design world. The film interviewed a handful of well known designers from around the world, gaining insight about their ideas on design and even going (briefly) into their individual design process. One of the most interesting (and provocative) topics from the film was the ongoing struggle between new product design vs. the need for sustainability. During the post-film Q&A, Gary was asked if he is going to distribute the film in sustainable way, to which he & Karim Rashid jokingly came up with the idea of The Biodegradable DVD: a cornstarch bubble with a URL to download the movie.

If the average shelf life of a high-tech object is less than eleven months, why on Earth does anything have to be built to be permanent? It should be all 100% disposable. You know, I think my laptop should be made of cardboard, or my mobile phone could be a piece of cardboard, or it could just be made out of something like sugarcane or bioplastic.

-Karim Rashid, designer

Another recurring topic throughout the film is how a lot of design (and the continuous redesign), is born out of being unsatisfied with our current objects. Oxo's Good Grips potato peeler was born after discovering the uncomfortable pain associated with using a metal potato peeler with arthritic hands.


Dissatisfaction...plays such an important role in motivating you to do what we do.

-Marc Newson, designer

Near the end of the film, Rob Walker (from New York Times Magazine) had an interesting comment about our obsession with buying and designing new objects. Basically, while we all want the latest gadgets, it's only your truly meaningful possessions—the ones that define who you are—that you really care about. For example, if there was a hurricane, what object(s) would you grab on the way out of your house?

Bonus Trivia: the bottom row of the Objectified poster (designed by Michael C. Place) shows the objects used to create the film.

UPDATE: Objectified is now available for pre-order on limited edition DVD and USB (looks like they did figure out a somewhat more sustainable way to distribute the film). (Aug 25, 2009)


Filed under: film

By Skylar Challand