So my Objectified DVD just got in the mail like 3 days ago and last night was a time when I could muster the strength to watch it. Its just been one late night with an early start after another so whatever. So right, the film. It’s nice, I suppose. Gary Hustwit is really good at noticing these little details that attach the viewer to humanity at large in relation to the context of the film. He also focuses on very quaint, yet poignant, statements and ideas that address the behemoth that is design, or more precisely industrial design.

There’s plenty of stars from the design world featured here, from the Bondi bum attitude of Marc Newson to the sagely Dieter Rams or the childlike Naoto Fukasawa, it’s definitely interesting if you’re a designer fanboy like I am. I dunno why but I reckon I just admire the philosophies that each individual has. You can say all you want about each one but they’re all where they are today because they think different than you or me.

I appreciate that the film is one that provides a good amount of insight into the design process and all its trials and tribulations. The film takes the viewer from idea conception and generation through to the solutions, then the refinement processes and the eventual outcome and also the ramifications of what they have done. You get to see Jonathan Ive compare an aluminum blank to the finished keyboard cover piece on the Macbook Pro (unibody version) and how designing it wasn’t so much designing the keyboard cover but the processes involved to make it possible. Or the team at IDEO generating completely random and silly ideas for a toothbrush/oral care concept. Or Smart design take out a box full of foam models that eventually led to the OXO good grips peeler. Or Naoto Fukasawa talk about why he put facets on a handphone because of a memory of peeling potatoes as a child. It’s like memories of uni revisited. Hello long nights in the studio! I so do not miss you.

For most people, I think design still remains far removed but I think it should stay that way. Like most of the designers in the film, I too believe design shouldn’t even be seen. Like Apple’s monitors where they try to remove everything and leave you with the screen or the indicator lights that only appear when they need to. You could argue that in the former, nobody really cares or maybe it’s an evil Apple plot to mind control humanity into slavery in Steve Jobs future robotic utopia but it’s really about attention to detail. Great designers make stuff nobody even notices and take for granted. They just do what they’re intended for. You can’t please everyone though. Between the money men and raving teenagers or cranky people. It’s a tough life being a tastemaker.

I’ve always obsessed over the material world, from having the biggest brand whatever to the most hyped this or the legendary XXX designed that. And when I hear Dieter Rams right at the end talking about how design will be more about survival in the future, I almost feel a pinch of hypocrisy in myself. But sorry, I remain indignant that I am a materialistic bigot that thinks he has better taste than everyone else. Rams excluded. Have you seen his pad? It is the shiznit. And his accent and mannerisms. MY GOD! So German! So Kunst! So cold. Just like his coffee maker. Yes I miss his coffee maker. Even if I much prefer expresso coffee, that Braun makes me wish I were drinking drip. I guess I always feel more for the object than for the activity. The tangible, material world rather than the experienctial, emotional one. I must be part German maybe. No. I’m way too humorous.

I think it’s nice to have a film like this. That appreciates the under-appreciated and the maniacal few that decided that they wanna be designers. I think the next film Mr. Hustwit tackles should be a food one. Where he puts his keen eye for detail real up close and personal (you can actually see the lines the lathe makes when it carves out the objectified logo on a piece of white polycarb!) and people can get really hungry. He could do a few of the Michelin starred peeps and then some of the old school guys and some weirdos or whatever. Or maybe a fashion one with the Antwerp 6 at a roundtable sharing jokes or Dolce & Gabbana & Bruno hello?

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