Dezeen Magazine

Architecture and design documentaries to binge while in self-isolation
Gary Hustwit's 2018 film Rams is available to watch on the director's website

Architecture and design documentaries to binge while in self-isolation

With millions of people across the world in self-isolation or quarantine to slow the spread of coronavirus, content producer Sebastian Jordahn has put together a list of documentaries on architecture and design to stave off isolation boredom.

Elevation, 2018

Dezeen's first documentary Elevation explores how drone technology will change the way people travel, how goods are delivered and the look and construction of buildings.

Featuring interviews with Norman Foster, Liam Young, Anab Jain and Paul Priestman, the film sets out a vision for what future cities might look like as drone technology becomes more ubiquitous. The full documentary is available to watch on Dezeen's Youtube channel.

Rams, 2018

Directed by Gary Hustwit, Rams gives a rare and intimate look into the life and career of iconic designer Dieter Rams, who spent more than three decades as chief designer of German electronics company Braun.

In the film Rams expresses his regret with his involvement in fuelling a culture of overconsumption. The film can be streamed on Hustwit's website, along with many of the directors other films such as Urbanized, Objectified and Helvetica.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, 2017

Matt Tyrnauer's film explores the work of writer and activist Jane Jacobs, whose writings highlighted the effects of urban expansion and city planning on a city's communities. It also retraces her fight against New York's infamous city planner Robert Moses.

The film is available to rent on iTunes.

Eames: The Architect & The Painter, 2011

Charles and Ray Eames, who are most known for their signature moulded plywood furniture, are widely accepted as some of America's most important designers.

Directed by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey, the film gives an in-depth look at the design duo's impact on post-war American culture and reveals details of their tumultuous marriage. The film is available to rent on the iTunes store.

Barbicania, 2014

Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine's 2014 film explores the architecture of London's iconic Barbican Centre and estate through the personal stories of its residents.

The film is available to rent on Vimeo.

City Dreamers, 2019

Filmmaker Joseph Hillel's film City Dreamers follows the careers of four women in the field of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture.

The film explores the ways in which Phyllis Lambert, Denise Scott Brown, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and Blance Lemco van Ginkel have influenced the fabric of city making and their experiences working in a field dominated by men. It is available to rent in the US on Vimeo.

Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections, 2018

Olivier Meyrou's film gives a revealing look at legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, as he produces his final collections in the late 1990s.

Meyrou followed Saint Laurent and his business, and personal, partner Pierre Bergé over the course of three years, capturing both the psychological and physical struggles of the french designer.

Originally banned by Bergé, the film was finally released in 2018 and is now available to rent on MUBI and Amazon.

Architecture of Infinity, 2018

Filmmaker Christoph Schaub explores the architecture of spirituality and worship in his 2018 film Architecture of Infinity.

Through interviews with Peter Zumthor, Álvaro Siza, James Turrell and Cristina Iglesias, the film explores the spaces designed for transcendental experiences. The film is available to rent on Vimeo.

Unfinished Spaces, 2011

Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray's 2011 film features interviews with the architects behind the design of Cuba's National Art Schools. The film explores the school's conception in the background of Cuba's revolutionary atmosphere, why it was deserted and the later attempts to reconstruct it. The film is available to rent on iTunes.

Abstract: The Art of Design season two, 2019

The second season of Netflix's docu-series Abstract: The Art of Design features creatives such as Olafur Eliasson, Neri Oxman and Cas Holman and explores their life and work.

Season one and two of the show is available to stream on Netflix.

Moriyama-San, 2017

Directed by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine,  Moriyama-San is an hour-long documentary about Yasuo Moriyama, the "urban hermit" who lives inside a house built by Ryue Nishizawa.

The film reveals the day-to-day life of Moriyama and depicts him reading, listening to records, watching silent movies, and entertaining guests. Moriyama-San is available to rent on Vimeo.