Happy Monday! AN editors have assembled a list of media-related news items worth checking out. From the latest season of a podcast series on women architects to a streaming service dedicated to architecture to a film where architecture plays a starring role, here are design-related programmings to add to your queue:
In Inside, a new film starring Willem Dafoe, architecture plays a starring role
In the film Inside, Nemo, an art thief played by Willem Dafoe, finds himself trapped within the penthouse residence of an architect and wealthy art collector after a robbery gone wrong. Much of the film takes place within the walls of the apartment, conceived as a gray concrete box filled with art objects, including museum-quality furnishings and works by Superstudio and Egon Schiele. Throughout the film, these objects—a total of 38 by 25 actual artists—are destroyed by Nemo as he seeks survival and escape.
The backdrop and scenography play a major role in the movie and fuel its themes of discomfort and entrapment. In an interview with Surface, production designer Thorsten Sabe detailed the architects and architectural styles he was influenced by when designing the sets.
“We took [inspiration from] Brutalist architecture. It was always the idea to make something [uncomfortable] but impressive. If you really look at it, it’s cold,” Sabe said.
“I like Oscar Niemeyer and Gottfried Böhm, who built concrete churches in Germany. These two architects are my heroes. They inspired me to make this huge concrete cage—that’s what it is. It undersigns Nemo’s emptiness and loneliness,” he added.
Leonardo Bigazzi, the film’s director of curation, helped to conceive the space as one that an art collector would actually reside in, taking influence directly from residences he has visited when sourcing and placing the art objects.
Inside is now playing in theaters nationwide.
Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation releases second season of podcast New Angle: Voice
As to coincide with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, national women’s advocacy group Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) released the Season 2 of its podcast New Angle: Voice earlier this month. The series, which debuted in 2021, looks at the lives and legacies of trailblazing women architects and designers.
Season 2 will kick off with a look at the prolific career of Ray Eames, and her countless contributions to furniture, graphic design, and textiles.
“Our original story about Ray Eames draws on new research of her years as a painter in New York, from archival footage and audio of her media appearances as well as interviews with Eames family members and employees of Eames Office, their design studio in Venice, California,” said Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, executive director of the BWAF, in a press release. “The interviews also offer a deep dive into manufacturer Herman Miller’s archives, showcasing the bold ideas sometimes obscured by Ray’s self-effacing public persona.”
Other women architects and designers highlighted in the new season include African American architect Amaza Lee Meredith, architect and industrial designer Anna Wagner Keichline, and Wall Street Journal architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable.
Alongside the BWAF, New Angle: Voice is produced by writer Alexandra Lange and producer Brandi Howell. The audio series is sponsored by MillerKnoll. The project has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Graham Foundation to fund its production.
You can listen to new (or past) episodes of New Angle: Voice online or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Shelter is a streaming service for architecture and design aficionados
In the peak of the pandemic, Australian actors and film distributors Dustin and Camille Clare launched Shelter, a streaming service for architecture and design aficionados looking for more than programming on DIY housing renovations and reruns of House Hunters International.
“We’re aiming for quality and authenticity, depth and substance—nothing repetitive, nothing like reality TV,” Dustin Clare said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We don’t enjoy repetitive reality-style home shows,” Clare continued. “We watch them and feel like we are being treated like dummies.”
Among the programming available on Shelter are profiles of Pritzker Prize–winning architects, surveys of residential work in far-flung corners of the globe, and lots of tiny home content.
Mexity highlights the rich architecture of Mexico City; Follies hosted by architectural historian and artist Rory Fraser looks at the decorative, one-off structures; and Do More With Less is show on up-and-coming Latin American architects that are reusing materials and harnessing the power of community.
While the company does produce its own series, it also hosts films and documentaries by others. Beginning March 28, Shelter will stream Mario Botta: The Sacred and the Profane, and starting April 2, viewers will be able to watch The Proposal, about artist Jill Magid’s engagement with the archive of Luis Barragán.
Shelter is available online for $5.99 per month or $59.99 for a year-long subscription.
Geoff Manaugh’s short story “Ernest” adapted into a film for Netflix
We Have a Ghost, a new comedy film on Netflix, is based on “Ernest” by urban and built environment writer (and AN contributor) Geoff Manaugh. It tells the fictional story of Kevin, a boy who moves into a home in a Chicago suburb and makes friends with the house’s ghost Ernest. As Kevin befriends the apparition, voiced by David Harbour, his father Frank films the family’s interaction with the haunted figure, and the clips go viral online. Kevin and Ernest dig into Ernest’s past and find themselves entangled with the CIA.
Genuinely excited to see that “We Have a Ghost,” based on my short story “Ernest,” is still the #1 Netflix movie in the world two weeks after its premiere. Thanks to everyone for watching—and huge congrats to director Chris Landon, cast, and crew. https://t.co/aYQbK4vBnY pic.twitter.com/oU4NfgL4VU
— Geoff Manaugh (@geoffmanaugh) March 12, 2023
Plans for the film were first announced in 2017, the short story, which first appeared in Vice, in 2017, was adapted for the screen by director Christopher Landon.
A review of the film in The New York Times said: ‘Landon’s tale, based on a snarkier short story by Geoff Manaugh, presents Ernest as the first viral video proof-of-afterlife — an odd situation for an unassuming chap who passed away before the invention of Pong. Before you can say “Boo!’ Ernest becomes a meme, a stunt challenge, and a cause célèbre among TikTok do-gooders (‘Just because you’re not made of matter, it doesn’t mean you don’t matter’).”
We Have a Ghost is available for streaming on Netflix.