After several years of successful editions across the United States – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and New Orleans –, the Architecture & Design Film Festival sets foot in Europe for the first time. From the 27th to the 29th of April, visit the Benaki Museum in Athens to enjoy movies, short films and documentaries that will reveal secrets about buildings, everyday objects and their complex creation, and how do architects, designers and urban planners work.
From how do the environment and the architecture of hospitals affect its patients to the latest building by frank Gehry, to artistic short films focused on performance, site-specific installations or a chair, the almost twenty titles in the festival’s show a wide spectrum of what do design and architecture mean. But all of them show the beauty and complexity of the places where we work, dance, have fun, walk, live and die. Among the many possibilities, we’ve chosen our top five.

Getting Frank Gehry
(2015), by Sally Aitken

This documentary takes the latest building by the architecture genius as an excuse to deepen into his work. Frank Gehry is a worldwide known figure, and his iconic buildings – the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Vitra Museum, the Gehry House, etc. –are loved and hate equally. In his latest project, The University of Technology in Sidney (his first building in the country), polemics, tension and drama arise again. An intense journey through the creative process of one of the most brilliant figures of our time.

Workplace (2017), by Gary Hustwit

If you try to calculate how many hours you’ll have spent at an office by the end of your life, you’ll get two results: depression and a stratospheric number. But something is clear: workplaces must evolve and become inspirational, welcoming, warm, comfortable, practical, friendly. How? This documentary explores the past, present and future of offices while exploring how can we turn them into better places thanks to technology. By following the design and construction of R/GA’s new headquarters in New York City, designed by Foster + Partners, the piece reflects on themes like the boundaries between physical and digital spaces, public and private/personal.

Ghost Story (2017), by Sarah Elgart

This is a seven-minute short film starring four dancers/performers prowling the interiors and exteriors of Via 57 West building in New York City, designed by one of the most influential architects right now, Bjarke Ingels. The impressive space, which also has the artwork Flows Two Ways, by Stephen Glassman, has become another landmark of the worldwide known city, and is now turned into the stage of gesture-based performance that explores space. Oh! And don’t miss the Issey Miyake’s clothings, which make everything even more architectural.
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Made in Ilima (2017), by Thatcher Bean

In the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there’s a rather isolated community: the Ilima. For decades, they’ve coexisted with endangered wildlife in their surroundings; now, the unstoppable pace of capitalism and the so-called evolution and development is risking everything. To preserve the ecosystem, the community has partnered with African Wildlife Foundation and the firm MASS Design Group to create a new conservation-focused primary school and community centre. The documentary follows the steps they’ve taken and how is this changing their surroundings and dynamics.

 Pioneer: Stephen Talasnik (2016), by Taylor Fraser

This short film guides us through the life of Pioneer, an artwork by Stephen Talasnik and commissioned by Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail (Montana, USA). From its inception and design to problem solving, fabrication and installation, the piece is more than an artwork: it implies engineering, manufacturing, craftsmanship and, of course, artistry. A mesmerizing film that combines nature and art beautifully.
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