The 5 best design documentaries by Jacopo Addini (Canificio)

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The 5 best design documentaries

by Jacopo Addini


This is a selection of five documentaries on design, applied arts and architecture of the 1900s. They can easily be found on the web and are all free to view. These documentaries are not purely educational but I think they are worth watching. Each has informed and inspired me during the course of my studies. Some are important resources not because of their aesthetic value but because they allow us to listen to the protagonists’ own words spoken in their own voices; words whose distant echoes reach us and teach us to this day.


5 Atti Fondamentali

Between 1971 and 1972, Superstudio created five stories dedicated to the five primary, “fundamental” acts of human life, five films: Surface – An alternative model for life on Earth, Education, Love, Death e Ceremony.

Watch on Architecture Player


Le Corbusier

Poème Électronique

An electronic poem in which sounds by Edgar Varèse accompany images by Le Corbusier. Poème Électronique was commissioned by Philips and displayed at the company’s pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Le Corbusier created what he himself defined as ‘a poem in a bottle’.

watch on UBUWEB

Carlo Scarpa

Fuori dal paradiso. testimonianze

Directed by Gian Luigi Calderone
Rai Educational (2012)

A documentary about the life of the architect Carlo Scarpa. Hearing Scarpa’s own voice and words in the excerpt from the famous lesson held in Vienna in 1976 is especially enlightening.

watch on Youtube

Enzo Mari

Design Lessons

Interview by Ugo Gregoretti
directed by M. Malabruzzi
RAI (1999)

Enzo Mari, designer. It would be enough to listen to Mari’s words during the interview, even without watching the video.

‘I believe design is not a game but an act of war.’

watch on rai cultura


una città per salvare l'uomo

RAI, Magazzini Einstein (2012)

Architect Paolo Soleri talks about his education and dedicating his life to the Arcosanti project, an experimental city, which he began building in the 1970s in the Arizona desert. His words and work are strikingly apt to the days we are living now and prove the depth and weight of his conception.

watch on youtube