Architecture enthusiasts with a penchant for buildings with futuristic vision: pay attention now. The Australia-wide architecture film festival, ArchiFlix, is bringing to four of Australia’s capital cities two films that recount the work of architecture greats Eero Saarinen and Zaha Hadid.
The travelling film festival, which looks to celebrate the unique creative spirit that drives architecture and design, is this year sponsored by name partner Modulyss at Gibbon Group. The commercial carpet tile producer is a passionate follower of architectural luminaries of the ‘future architecture’ movement, itself a pioneer in human-centred design with a focus on environmental wellbeing.
Having launched in Sydney last month, ArchiFlix is travelling to Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth – but just for one night only. Each evening will involve two films: Eero Saarinen – The Architect Who Saw the Future, and Zaha Hadid: An Architectural Legacy.
The two films make for a powerful and moving vision of ‘future architecture’ in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Finnish-American modernist architect, Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), and Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), have effectively topped and tailed the 20th century. But despite the time difference, both had an ambitious and charismatic vision for how people, place and the built environment should come together.
“It’s all aimed at making a better world. I still believe in the 20th century dream that [architecture] can contribute to a better life,” Hadid quips in the opening scenes of Zaha Hadid: An Architectural Legacy. Saarinen too, is a futurist and big-picture thinker in his dreams for a better built environment: “Our architecture is too humble. It should be prouder, more aggressive, much richer and larger than we see today. I’d like to do my part in expanding that richness.”
Both Saarinen and Hadid have become luminaries within the global architectural profession – the former posthumously when his impressive practice archives came to light, and the latter in 2004 when she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. Their work has encouraged architects and designers alike to look outward, think big and rigorously innovate – particularly at that intersection of architecture, user, site and environment.
In these modern times, much of our design and creative practice is influenced by a sense of social consciousness and environmental responsibility. It comes as no surprise to see a new generation of architects looking to leave their mark on the built environment, but with very modern values of human-centred design and environmental wellbeing.
This is supported by the introduction of building standards and programs such as WELL Building Certification, which has seen the focus firmly shift towards good design as a facilitator of well behaviour and innovation. WELL gives structure and bench-marking to the practice of ‘wellbeing design’, by addressing the human condition through designed and built features such as air, water and light quality.
The standard also encourages occupants – both organisations and individuals – to actively engage in WELL certified aspects within their spaces; the intention being that WELL-certified buildings will positively empower people, businesses and communities to think and act with wellness in mind.
It’s a perfect drawing together of values and vision for design innovators like Modulyss, which designs and produces high-quality carpet tiles with a distinctly sustainable approach. Inspired by the Hadids and Saarinens of the ‘future architecture’ movement, and tapped in to the gaining momentum for built environments that address user wellbeing in a sustainable manner, Modulyss has undertaken numerous measures to produce a high-quality product that is good for the user and the environment.
The company has undertaken a Life Cycle Impact mission, supporting organisations that turn recovered fishing nets into ECONYL yarn – in the process cleaning the oceans and seas of marine litter. It is also provides low-carbon carpet, by offsetting the carbon emissions of selected carpet tiles. And, most importantly, it addresses product performance by addressing superior qualities of acoustics and reduced light reflection (it’s soft to walk on and a great sound-breaking device), and air quality (it is solvent- and PVC-free, odourless and has dust-capturing qualities).
Hadid is famously quoted as saying, “Architecture is really about wellbeing. I think that people want to feel good in a space … On the one hand it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” If that is so, then our future architecture can only bring us good things.