Objectified - A documentary Film by Gary Hustwit


Let’s get Objectified

Greetings, and welcome to the site. Objectified is a documentary about industrial design; it’s about the manufactured objects we surround ourselves with, and the people who make them. On an average day, each of us uses hundreds of objects. (Don’t believe it? Start counting: alarm clock, light switch, faucet, shampoo bottle, toothbrush, razor…) Who makes all these things, and why do they look and feel the way they do? All of these objects are “designed,” but how can good design make them, and our lives, better?

One reason that I’m delving into the world of objects in this film is that I, admittedly, am obsessed by them. Why do I salivate over a shiny new piece of technology, or obsess over a 50-year-old plywood chair? What does all the stuff I accumulate say about me, and do I really need any of it in the first place?

Those of you who followed the making of my first film, Helvetica, know that the reason I make these films is not that I have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter. I wasn’t an expert on graphic design, and I’m certainly not an expert on industrial design. But they’re both fields that fascinate me, and that I want to learn more about. I’m interested in industrial designers because their work influences so many aspects of our world yet most of the time it’s taken for granted. And I think that, especially today, it’s crucial for us to re-examine how we make and use consumer products at every level.

And if you could get all of these designers and design experts together at a dinner party, what would they talk about? This film will hopefully represent that conversation. I’ve been lucky to be able to include an amazing group of participants in the film so far, and I sincerely thank them all for their time and knowledge.

The term objectified has two meanings. One is ‘to be treated with the status of a mere object.’ But the other is ‘something abstract expressed in a concrete form,’ as in the way a sculpture objectifies an artist’s thoughts. It’s the act of transforming creative thought into a tangible object, which is what designers in this film do every day. But maybe there’s a third meaning to this title, regarding the ways these objects are affecting us and our environment. Have we all become objectified?

The film will premiere in early 2009; in the meantime on this blog we’ll be discussing the issues covered in the film, posting still photos from the shoots, and video excerpts as we finish the movie. I hope it’ll be something you’ll enjoy watching.


Paola Antonelli (Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Chris Bangle (BMW Group, Munich)
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec (Paris)
Andrew Blauvelt (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis)
Tim Brown (IDEO)
Anthony Dunne (London)
Dan Formosa (Smart Design)
Naoto Fukasawa (Tokyo)
Jonathan Ive (Apple, California)
Hella Jongerius (Rotterdam)
David Kelley (IDEO)
Bill Moggridge (IDEO)
Marc Newson (London/Paris)
Fiona Raby (London)
Dieter Rams (Kronberg, Germany)
Karim Rashid (New York)
Alice Rawsthorn (International Herald Tribune)
Davin Stowell (Smart Design)
Jane Fulton Suri (IDEO)
Rob Walker (New York Times Magazine)
and more participants TBA

Produced and Directed by
Gary Hustwit


1 comment:

Anthony said...

we should all see this together!