Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle, Andrew Blauvelt, Anthony Dunne, Dan Formosa
Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. In his second film, director Gary Hustwit (Helvetica) documents the creati... more »
Flat and myopic
DesignBusiness | NewYork USA | 12/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hearing Jonathan Ive muse about Apple's design and manufacturing process was alone worth the price of the movie, but overall was disappointed in the choice of interviews, lack of continuity, or lack of story arc. It's not a movie about the history of product design, the future of product design, or this past year's most compelling examples. It's not even about how products are conceived for a purpose, marketed, and consumed. (with a few exceptions including the Smart Design piece)
Product design fills a vital need in everyday life. On a good day, product design saves lives. Unfortunately on this day product design stared at it's navel, waxed philosophically, and wore white nail polish. This movie focuses a lot of time on egomaniacs that design things that only 5% of the population can afford. Yawn. And the one "critic" was exhumed from early 20-century Soviet Union -- and smugly towed the party line all too predictably.
The last 1/3 of the movie was especially disappointing in that it dragged out trying to answer philosophical questions that no one was asking. I was especially perplexed by the couple that designed "products" for a museum and defended their contributing to society because so many people visit museums...I'm still scratching my head.
IDEO was well represented, but missing was their case studies about redesigning Emergency Rooms and other vital and relevant challenges... just more well formed philosophy and an ancient laptop no one ever used.
And if I feel like there was point to me made, it not only dragged it out, but then didn't actually make it - just a "designers are responsible for the stuff that ends up in a land fill." But is that what product design is about? I hardly think so, and feel its irresponsible to leave us thinking that's the last known trajectory for product design - more crap people "get duped" into buying, then throw it out. Give me a break.
Dieter Rams, the Smart Design team, and other bits and pieces, like Ive's intro voice over, are highlights, but I'd estimate half the movie was filled with dead end or esoteric vignettes or egomaniacs that seem to thrive on perpetuating unproductive and self-service cliches about designers.
In the end, this movie is not about the past, present or future of product design. It mashes together tiny bits from all over and unfortunately their "mixed tape" approach falls flat and is only partially inspiring.
This movie perpetuates the tired fact that Design, in general, has an enormous chip on it's shoulder, and is still struggling with their identity in the "real world."
I wasn't left inspired that product design can help create countermeasures to great challenges. Instead I was left thinking design just a means to charge more for new things that ultimately end up in landfills, including this movie."
Verbose yet Insightful
Justin Anderssonne | 01/01/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In this documentary by Gary Hustwit, industrial design is examined. It explains the thought processes behind why consumer goods are made the way they are by experts in the industry.
The film inconsistently held my attention. Some explanations seemed rather shallow and vague, and many scenes felt like they were stretched too long. Also, it seemed to lack a understandable flow: most scenes felt random because they lacked transitions. His previous work, Helvetica, had the same problems but not to the same degree.
Nonetheless, Hustwit's documentary was a real eye-opener and a real thought-provoker. The interviewees uncover the facade of consumerism to show the processes behind designing products and marketing products. As a design enthusiast, I found myself pondering such topics as minimalism and feature bloat, topics touched on during the film.
It's not interesting enough that I'd watch it again, but I definitely recommend. You will never shop the same way."