Design for Living: Gary Hustwit’s Design Trilogy

American director Gary Hustwit has an impressive track record when it comes to exploring the world of design. While not scanting criticism of the poor planning (and taste) that afflicts so much of urban design, his films bypass the culture of complaint to focus on the positive impact that well-wrought design can have on the culture, environment, and very tenor of our times. The director’s popular essay films Helvetica and Objectified profiled the makers of graphics and household objects, respectively, by combining smart interviews with stylish cinematography. Cool and crisp in delivery, ripe with ideas and insights, Hustwit’s design trilogy is a major contribution to broad, intelligent discussion about the spaces, objects and san serifs which surround us.

The three films comprising Hustwit’s Design Trilogy will screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto from January 13-17, 2012. Hustwit will be present at the screening on Friday, January 13 to present his newest film Urbanized, and on Saturday, January 14 to present Helvetica and Objectified.

“This is the century of city lovers,” proclaims Urbanized, the final film in the Design Trilogy, and as half of the world’s population today now lives in cities there is a pressing need for massive shifts in the way we think, plan, develop, build and live closely together. Urbanized traverses the globe to examine the best, and worst, practices in urban planning and design in some of the world’s major cities, from the vaunting of rapid public transit in Bogotá to bicycle culture in Copenhagen, planning fatigue in New Orleans and New York’s High Line urban park. Addressing some of the most crucial and urgent issues affecting the world today – poverty, overpopulation, sustainability, environmental survival – while maintaining the ebullience and optimism of its predecessors, Urbanized is a cinematic town hall on progressive urbanism and an intriguing account of the ways in which people are working from both the top down and bottom up to remake the urban experience.

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