Binge-Worthy Design

You’re home. The news is on hyper cycle and not reporting anything new; and there’s little comfort in repeat sitcoms or post-apocalyptic cable series. You crave some creative inspiration. Turn on that spark with these top films on design now streaming.

Design and Thinking

Disruptions in social and economic realms can influence design and vice versa, calling on creative minds to collaborate to find solutions. Is it any wonder this 2012 doc by director Mu-Ming Tsai resonates today? To wit, one point explored is how the question to a problem—social, business, design or otherwise, can bear more than any firm answer. Find out what what some of today’s greatest design minds have to say.


Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
As store shelves are wiped bare of stuff, it’s worth taking a moment (or in this case 78 minutes) to consider the concept of minimalism, how it’s led to new movements and why it resonates so much today. This 2016 documentary by Matt D'Avella examines the roots of minimalism as a reaction to modern consumerism and media overload. And it’s a salve worth viewing during these heady times.


Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter
It’s no exaggeration that the Eames “gave shape to the American Twentieth Century,” as one observer states in this 2011 definitive documentary on one of the most influential collaborative partnerships in any century. As even any lay design enthusiast knows, the Eames were multi-hyphenate creatives long before everyone else thought they could be, too. Directed by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey, and narrated by James Franco, this movie delves into their creative storm—and their sometimes stormy marriage.


Visual Acoustics: The Modernism Of Julius Shulman
Forgive adding another film to this list by yet another Angeleno. But like the Eames, lensman Julius Shulman defined Modernism for the world, as well as elevating the status of some of the greatest architects and their works via his mythology-making photography. This multi award-winning 2008 doc by Eric Bricker with narration by Dustin Hoffman, includes the gentle legend himself, who worked up until his death the following year at 98.


A toothbrush is not just a toothbrush, any more than a smartphone is a smartphone. And this 2009 doc, one in Gary Hustwit’s trio deep dive in design, plunges this time into the creativity involved with manufactured objects as explored by some of the world’s most influential product creators. Hustwit is a master interviewer, and he gets his subjects to convey their passions in ways that even the kids can get excited about.