ADFF:Vancouver 2022 – 2022.11.09–12
November 9–12, 2022
4 Days. 15 Films. Parties. Q+As. Panels.
Presented by the Architecture + Design Film Festival
In partnership with All in Pictures and Vancouver Special
Hosted by the Hollywood Theatre and VIFF Centre
The Architecture + Design Film Festival returned to Vancouver, November 9–12, for in-person film screenings, talks, and receptions celebrating architecture and design. It all kicked off at the Hollywood Theatre on November 9th, followed by 3 days of screenings at the VIFF Centre including two locally produced films, “Richard Henriquez: Building Stories,” and “Outside In.”
The League was proud to be a contributing sponsor to this year’s festival, introducing a film reaching to modernism further afield. Beyond the Life of Forms is a story dedicated to two works by two great Italian architects of the twentieth century – Carlo Scarpa’s Brion funeral complex in San Vito d’Altivole and Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena. The film layers architectural images and spoken words from the architect of record and others’ voices, demonstrating the contrast in Scarpa and Rossi’s work and thus their respective views about life on this earth and afterlife. The audience embarks on two separate emotional and symbolic journeys into the visionary universe of the two architects – a trip beyond the life of forms.
The West Coast Modern League Introduces
Beyond the Life of Forms
Beyond the Life of Forms is a story dedicated to two works by two great Italian architects of the twentieth century – Carlo Scarpa’s Brion funeral complex in San Vito d’Altivole and Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena. The film layers architectural images and spoken words from the architect of record and others’ voices, demonstrating the contrast in Scarpa and Rossi’s work and thus their respective views about life on this earth and afterlife. The audience embarks on two separate emotional and symbolic journeys into the visionary universe of the two architects – a trip beyond the life of forms.
Beyond the Life of Forms | 2021 | Italy | 63m | Directed by Francesco Conversano and Nene Grignaffini
Brion Mausoleum in San Vito d’Altivole, Italy was designed by Carlo Scarpa and constructed between 1969-1978, and was unfinished at the time of Scarpa’s untimely death. Carlo Scarpa was born in Venice in 1906. He was an architect (unregistered to practice), a well-respected and innovative glassmaker and craftsman, mentor and teacher. Scarpa had a deep respect for history, nature, and the fabric of the city, and as an artisan, he had a passion for craft and the mark of the hand, which brought a real sensuousness to his work and, while modernist, was distinctive from the machine-made pursuits of the International Style.
San Cataldo Cemetary in Moderna, Italy was designed by Aldo Rossi and conceptualized in the early 1970s. It is considered one of Rossi’s most important built works, and was also unfinished at the time of his death. It has been credited as one of the first and most important Postmodern buildings. Aldo Rossi was born in Milan in 1931. He was an architect, architectural theoretician, and writer, and is described as being a neorationalist, and one of the leading experts of postmodernism. He is credited as the first Italian architect to receive the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Rossi too placed a lot of value in the historical development of the city and held that architecture should be not an individualistic expression, rather, that architecture should be created within its context and in alignment with the historical types that have formed the collective memory of the city over time.
Architecture + Design Film Festival
Popular with all design lovers, the ADFF showcases films that investigate design’s impact on the worlds of fashion, art, architecture, urban planning, and housing. Featuring inspiring films and talks that offer insights into the lives and works of global design visionaries with films from Canada, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Greece, and Italy.
2022 Film Screenings
- ALICE STREET | 70m | Alice Street is a compelling story of how two artists in Oakland come together as a community to adjust the process and pace of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Pancho Peskador, a Chilean studio painter, and Desi Mundo, a Chicago-born aerosol artist, form an unlikely partnership to tackle a four-story mural at a unique intersection where Chinese and Afro-Diasporic communities face the imminent threat of displacement and gentrification. Three months after the conclusion of the mural, the construction of a luxury condominium threatens to demolish the artwork, forcing the artists and the community to rally once again to protect its history, voice, and land. The film delivers a universal message, demonstrating that the change process has a better chance of success when communities work in unison with developers.
- BAWA’S GARDEN | 84m | Bawa’s Garden is a road movie in search of the work of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. The film follows a protagonist scouring the island for the ‘lost’ garden of Lunuganga. Finding the treasure might be the goal, yet her search is the catalyst for encounters with a series of characters and rarely visited buildings that reveal the story of Bawa’s life and work. Shot across Sri Lanka, this experimental documentary weaves dreamlike narratives with real life characters intrinsic to the output of this renowned 20th century architect. This alternative docudrama is tantamount to the eclectic and quietly moving work of Bawa’s buildings and gardens, and the collaborators that influenced his oeuvre.
- BEYOND THE LIFE OF FORMS | 63m | Beyond the Life of Forms is a story dedicated to two works by two great Italian architects of the twentieth century – Carlo Scarpa’s Brion funeral complex in San Vito d’Altivole and Aldo Rossi’s San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena. The film layers architectural images and spoken words from the architect of record and others’ voices, demonstrating the contrast in Scarpa and Rossi’s work and thus their respective views about life on this earth and afterlife. The audience embarks on two separate emotional and symbolic journeys into the visionary universe of the two architects – a trip beyond the life of forms.
- BUILDERS, HOUSEWIVES AND THE CONSTRUCTIONS OF MODERN ATHENS | 87m | The city of Athens is so much more than the classical architecture that adorns it since there is a vibrant energy, buzz, and density that fills its streets and neighborhoods. Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens unveils a new perspective of the city, examining the most distinctive Athenian building type – the polykatoikía – and the city’s reconstruction by the anonymous lay builders and their housewives, who were the most unlikely “co-authors.” The documentary takes a deep dive into the lives of the provincials who came to Athens after the Civil War and shed light on how they developed their craft and communicated with the educated architects. Based on the book with the same title by Ioanna Theocharopoulou, the film proposes a fascinating account of the provincials’ role and encounter with the “project of modernity.”
- BUILDING BASTILLE! THE TANGLED AND IMPROBABLE STORY OF THE OPERA BASTILLE | 76m | A half a billion dollar project, a crushing architectural challenge, an impossible deadline, two warring political titans, and a blind competition. What could go wrong? The film is set in 1982 France when the new socialist President Mitterrand opens a blind competition to build an opera at the site of the notorious Bastille Prison. The jury selects the best design, a drawing that looks like the hand of prominent American architect Richard Meier but is a submission from an unknown and inexperienced Canadian architect Carlos Ott. Building Bastille! is a feature-length documentary that tells the comedic, dramatic, and tangled story of modern history’s most remarkable case of mistaken identity and seized opportunity. Drama ensues when right-wing Jacques Chirac is elected Prime Minister, and his hatred of Mitterrand causes him to place
- CONCRETE LANDSCAPE | 72 m | Concrete Landscape presents a narrative view of the life of Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, highlighting small strokes of remarkable moments that have changed and influenced his work and daily life. The film explores his relationship with Brazil, including his familial roots and the Ibere Camargo Institution – Siza’s only building in his country.
- FASHION REIMAGINED | 92 m | Can one woman change the course of an entire industry? Maybe. Fashion Reimagined follows Amy Powney, designer of the London brand Mother of Pearl and the daughter of environmental activists who raised her on a remote eco-friendly homestead, as she sets out to create a collection that’s ethical and sustainable at every level, from fibre to finished garment. Powney’s journey takes a deep dive into the supply chain, uncovering its destructive cycle from deforestation, and animal mutilation to farmer suicide. Set across three continents, her narrative is a modern retelling of the David and Goliath story that features a fiercely determined young woman fighting a complex behemoth while exposing the cost of our consumption along the way.
- GES-2 | 77m | In 2014, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop was tasked by V–A–C Foundation to transform GES-2, a 20,000 sq meter former power plant in Moscow, into a new, global cultural institution providing cultural energy for all. With intimate access to workers, builders, project supervisors, and architects, the director offers an up-close portrait of the transformation of this remarkable building into a cultural center. Interlacing the events in an unconventional and non-chronological order, the film provides a dose of humor on an often unexplored topic in design.
- GRETHE MEYER – THE DANISH PORCELAIN QUEEN | 61m | Globally renowned for its simplicity, functionality, and longevity, Danish design rose to popularity during the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Danish Design in the 1940s and 1950s. Grethe Meyer – The Danish Porcelain Queen narrates the story of Grethe Meyer – one of the few pioneering women who, despite the enormous consequences, created classic designs such as the Royal Copenhagen Blue Edge set. Combining humanist thinking with an almost scientific methodology, Meyer analyzed her way into all her designs – working, reworking, and testing – in a man’s world.
- MAIJA ISOLA – MASTER OF COLOUR AND FORM | 90m | Finnish artist Maija Isola was one of the first designers of Marimekko – the Finnish design brand known for its vibrant and original prints and colors worldwide. Having designed over 500 prints during her 38-year tenure at the company, Maija not only revolutionized Finnish homes in the 1950s and 60s with her fabric designs but also extended the brand’s reach overseas to cities like New York and Tokyo. The film traces the footsteps of Maija, an avid traveler who has lived in various cities and countries throughout her life. Presented through archive material, new fictive footage, animations, and film clips, the film explores the artist’s life, sources of inspiration, legacy, and the secret behind the success of her nature-inspired fabrics.
- OUTSIDE IN | 60m | What is happening to us as we remove ourselves from nature and place ourselves into high-rises of steel and glass? What are the physiological tolls this displacement takes? Outside In examines the hard science behind a movement of healthy home design called biophilia, which suggests that building healthier homes can affect positive changes in our blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones. The film features interviews with renowned architects about the future of biophilic design, introduces viewers to homeowners experimenting with biophilic principles, and showcases Jennell Stanley, interior designer and mother, and her process in building a biophilic home from the ground up, focusing on the health of her young family.
- RICHARD HENRIQUEZ: BUILDING STORIES | 30m | Richard George Henriquez is a Canadian architect known for founding Henriquez & Todd with Robert Todd in 1969 which evolved over 50 years to become the Henriquez Partners Architects of today. His projects are known for its blend of unique design with its historical context. His accumulation of work are celebrated by dozens of awards including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2005, Governor Generals Medal in 1994 and the Order of Canada in 2017. He is currently a Principal at Henriquez Partners, along with his son Gregory Henriquez and continues to make art and sculptures alongside his architecture practice. “Richard Henriquez: Building Stories” explores his influences and focus on memory and history in his approach to his work.
- ROBIN HOOD GARDENS | 90m | Robin Hood Gardens is a story of complexity and contradiction in modern architecture. Built by British architects Alison & Peter Smithson, the controversial East-London council estate was not only unloved by its first residents in 1972 but also garnered divisive responses from internationally-renowned critics. Decades later, the brutalist building was demolished to pave the way for site redevelopment yet simultaneously exhibited at the Venice Biennale. In light of the estate’s 50th anniversary, the documentary offers surprising insights from residents and critics and presents a second look at the construction of the ostracized project.
- UNDER TOMORROW’S SKY | 75m | Renowned architect and urbanist Winy Maas is passionate about finding innovative solutions for the city of the future. As the co-founder of MVRDV Architects and director of The Why Factory think tank at the Delft University of Technology, Maas advocates for ‘high rises on a human scale’ – stacked structural volumes with open spaces and greenery around them that feel like vertical villages – instead of uniform tower blocks. From sincere discussions with clients to challenging design meetings and construction site visits in Asia, Under Tomorrow’s Sky provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Maas’ professional life and explores how his designs can keep future cities compact and liveable.
- A WORLD TO SHAPE | 52m | Nienke Hoogvliet (1989) and Dave Hakkens (1988) represent a new generation of contemporary Dutch Designers. This generation is acutely aware that raw materials are depleting, energy is scarce, and globalization is driving new forms of small-scale production. As makers, they don’t care about existing boundaries between art, design and science. In a WORLD to SHAPE, director Ton van Zantvoort guides you through the respective ingenuity of Nienke and Dave. Nienke’s mission is to make the world’s second most polluting industry – the clothing industry – more sustainable. She is currently working on sustainable applications of seaweed, such as using it to make paint. Dave’s ambition is equally ambitious. His Kamp project attempts to establish a living and working community that uses a minimal carbon footprint. He has created a blueprint for a new society and made it open source so that anyone can adopt and improve the ideas. Where many people might see problems, Nienke and Dave envisage solutions.
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In the News:
- Architecture and Design Film Festival: Vancouver not just for those in the business. Dana Gee. November 4, 2022. The Vancouver Sun.
- Documentary on Richard Henriquez premieres at ADFF:Toronto and Vancouver. October 27, 2022. Canadian Architect.
- Architecture & Design Film Festival 22/23. Claudia Chung. September 16, 2022. Dexigner.
- AD:FF Announces Details of 2022-23 Season. August 16, 2022. Architect.