Objectified premiere brings its stars along with it

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After the screening of the latest documentary from Gary Hustwit, we were treated to something universally expected; Jonathan Ive dodged questions with a quiet voice and some well-chosen pauses.

Objectified showed with candid detail the human characters behind the names behind the products. Although afterward business was resumed as normal for a man happy to sidestep a straightforward question, but whose presence was as big a draw for the crowd as the actual screening.

The starry names of the film, Ive and Marc Newson, were greeted to as warm a welcome as they walked down the aisles to the Q&A session underneath the screen as they had been when on it, when shown working from their offices, sat alongside a CNC machine, or at a table full of ‘inspiring shit’. These looks into their working environments and homes were as intriguing as the views they offered.

Dieter Rams’ attention to his bonsai tree in his garden; Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s sibling bickering; Karim Rashid’s collection of kitch items at his offices; all of these give the documentary its colour and variety, showing how different each person is in both approach, attitude and application.

Hustwit has approached Objectifed without the clear definition of his previous release, the font-geek-chic Helvetica. Taking in as much of the spectrum of designers and their work as allowed, this film shows the differences in what makes them tick, as well as the issues facing them.

The film is very good, occasionally skittish, regularly humorous, and approaches the subject very warmly. Hustwit admits that the films he makes are the ones he wants to watch himself but can’t find. It would be safe to say that the glowing fondness of the designers that feature in the film was still present as he welcomed Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson to the stage.


Each designer’s idiosyncrasies and characteristics are enclosed in short segments, occasionally they are returned to, while some intriguing commentary from critics such as the International Herald Tribune design editor Alice Rawsthorn, also present for the Q&A, offer most of the direction for the film to follow.

The post film chat was brief but offered up some insights, interestingly what concerns Ive and Newson held for the future of design. A key theme for the film was that there is already enough bad design in the world, but what troubled the pair was the advent of design being handed over to the consumer with the availability of 3D software and the ease of 3D rapid prototyping, just how much will this waste resources and have a negative impact on our lives?

As I left the cinema Ive was still being approached at the front, while Newson greeted his own swarm of admirers, all were keen to learn more about these idols of design. This proved to be the only problem, after each segment you were left wanting more from each designer.

You can view Objectified at the Barbican Centre, London, from 22 – 28 May


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