No, we don’t mean that Sam Smith, but our Sam Smith: our senior designer and stylist, who’s picked her favourite films from the Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival 2015 programme. The festival starts at Rialto Cinemas in Auckland (May 7-20) before moving to Wellington’s Embassy Theatre (May 28-June 10), Dunedin’s Rialto Cinemas (June 11-21) and Christchurch’s Academy Gold (June 25-July 08). Download the full programme from the link, and make your bookings soon! Here are Sam’s five favourites from the fest:
1. Architect of Dreams
Ian Athfield designed so many iconic and extraordinary buildings in New Zealand, and this 2008 documentary is an unmissable chance to celebrate his work and his stamp on New Zealand’s visual history. His voice and vision for alternative but appropriate cultural and social designs has intrigued even the most uncreative New Zealanders and has left a legacy for years to come.
2. Haus Tugendhat
The story of this iconic modernist house and its inhabitants promises to be an interesting and exciting journey set in the Czech Republic. I have a soft spot for early modernist work, particularly that of Miles van der Rohe, so it will be a treat to follow a house’s history that epitomises the movement’s values of social utopia and pure functionalism. The home was designed for Mies’ affluent and open-minded clients, the Tugendhats, and the film documents the role the house played in a time of turbulence, injustice and optimism through its inhabitants and users.
3. Gray Matters
As a woman who defined and influenced the modernist movement in the early 20th Century through furniture and architectural design and competed with the most successful men of that era, I’m looking forward to this showcase of the life of a designer who never received the attention she was due in her ground-breaking career.
This promises to be an exciting look into the fascinating and entertaining life of Brazilian modernist architect Sergio Bernardes, known for his playboy and elite lifestyle, but also his thousands of elegant buildings designed throughout his career. I’m looking forward to finding out how his radical and controversial social ideas eventually led to his fall from grace. This film by his grandson documents his prolific life and investigates his eventual anonymity.
5. Slums: Cities of Tomorrow
As a sixth of the world’s population live in a slum or some sort of informal dwelling, the documentary will take us on a visual journey through the communities that are built and developed over a series of different continents, cities and cultures. This form of public housing is purely designed and built by its inhabitants with limited resources, taking inspiration from their cultures and landscapes surrounding them, while fighting the various governments that constantly try to eradicate the slums. I think it’ll be an interesting look into the lives and communities that are built in these dwellings. Also, it’s pertinent given that the common problem of housing shortages is set to continue to grow, even in our own backyard.