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Objectified 2009

NR CC
4.2 out of 5 stars (52) IMDb 7.1/10

OBJECTIFIED is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. Director Gary Hustwit (HELVETICA) looks at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets, profiling the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It's about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. Through verite footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world's most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?

Starring:
Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle
Runtime:
1 hour, 15 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Gary Hustwit
Starring Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle
Supporting actors Andrew Blauvelt, Erwan Bouroullec, Ronan Bouroullec, Anthony Dunne, Agnete Enga, Dan Formosa, Naoto Fukasawa, Jonathan Ive, Hella Jongerius, Bill Moggridge, Marc Newson, Fiona Raby, Dieter Rams, Karim Rashid, Alice Rawsthorn, Amber Shonts, Davin Stowell, Jane Fulton Suri
Studio Plexifilm
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Objectified is an odd beast. It's too niche for the average person, yet it's not informative enough for experienced designers. Objectified falls into that category of "introductions to a subject that only people already in it will care about." Also, being about designers, it has moments of intense navel gazing. One designer makes a particularly floaty claim about how government policy makers will turn to designers for truth.

There is also a section in the middle about the "greening" of design, which feels forced and out of place. It is wedged in there to hit a particular demographic checkbox. And there is a *lot* of shots of people on the street using their cellphones in slow motion. By the end, this technique has long since degraded into cornball.

That is not to say that Objectified is without value. If you know who Dieter Rams is, you might get a kick out of seeing him trim his bonzai. You might enjoy watching Jonathan Ives wipe shmutz off of his iPhone screen, or hear people talk about the birth of User Interface design. Don't expect any actual information about User Interface design, or design in general. The enthusiasm that some of these designers bring to the table is infectious. And their perspectives on design, while classic archetypes, have been useful reviews to stay on message with.

But what Objectified brings to the table is not rocket science. It is a basic, but solid 1st-year introduction to the world of industrial design.
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I saw this documental three times. I also played it in my user centered design class. It's great material for educative purposes, but for first or second semester design students, and particularly the design process at Smart Design and IDEO. I do personally empatize with the way design is done at those two firms. Dieter Rams interview is great. Although it shows the state of affairs and different points of view, it's scope is too narrow, mostly focusing in well known designers, curators, critics and studios from the US, Europe and only one from Asia (N. Fukasawa) Design book publishers (Phaidon) started to realize that there is a lot of good design activity beyond the U.S. , Europe and Japan. I't would be great to see a second part showing the work of Filipino, Brazilian, Kenian or Mexican designers or small design consultancies in emerging countries who have to apply a lot of creativity, obtaining great designs in cultures with less corporation oriented design philosopies, and more technology limited environments. I do agree partially with "JW's" review, Most of this people are involved with a small fraction of the produced goods in the world but it does generally sample the way many design professionals do their work.
Overall its a good introductory film, but I hope more deep filmed material on I.D. will show up in the future.
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Format: DVD
I enjoyed this movie but, it did not feel as tight as Helvetica. I think a slightly different direction in filmmaking and editing was needed. It felt slow and ponderous at times. Maybe it was the subject - limited to commercial product design? Just not enough juicy material to bite into. Maybe industrial design is too young, too commercial, too much built to meet the buyer's needs - despite any radical concepts or methodologies that emerge?
I would like to have seen more 20th C. history. Joe Columbo, AEG: Peter Behrens (the worlds first industrial designer and first to create and use all types of design at a corporation in a consistent manner), Buckminster Fuller (maybe), 1920s American design, Raymond Lowey, etc.. Even as a short 15 minute segment or interspersed throughout, it would be nice to see the history that lead to the "object".
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Format: DVD
Saw this the night after I watched Helvetica. If you are like me and incredibly interested in industrial design- as it pertains to the user and the environment- this will leave you disappointed. I've read books by Bruno Munari and George Nelson, seen exhibits on streamline design and studied the tenets of Dieter Rams...and this film didn't come close to any of those experiences. It didn't go over manufacturing, the challenges, the history- anything of interest. It was 75 minutes of mostly younger designers talking about themselves and their own importance. Dieter Rams got maybe 5 minutes of screen time and the Eames got mentioned once. No discussion of Danish design or Mid Century Italian work. Just an incomplete thought...a perfect metaphor for today's modern "designers."

Btw-[...]

Yeah, way to be innovative.
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Format: DVD
I watched this the other day, thinking, "Oh, yeah, that documentary I started watching but never finished." Only to discover that I had, in fact, watched the whole thing before, and had forgotten 90% of it. This is a work you *want* to like, but in the end it feels... insubstantial. Pointless. There's no meat on these bones, no material here. This film actually lessened my appreciation for some of the designers interviewed, many of whom seemed lost in their own estimation of the value of their work and their field. The contrast is humorous, actually— one interviewee talks about designers replacing philosophers as the guiding thinkers of society, closely followed by another who points out that the vast majority of modern design goes into the creation of new consumer-culture "junk". And I almost rolled my eyes clean out of my head hearing designers talk about the 'white man's burden' upon them to improve the world for the rest of us.

The main lessons I gleaned from this film had to do with marketing, with selling 'shinys' and 'sexys' to first-world consumers. I learned how designers who fancy themselves would like to be perceived. I remain curious about the meat-and-potatoes of design, and I kept waiting for the celebrity parade to end. This film somehow fails to be much about design, art, philosophy or really anything.

I wouldn't recommend it.
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