Gary Hustwit started his trilogy of documentaries with Helvetica. By concentrating on one of those things that we never even thought might have contained a theme, a whole world was revealed. All of a sudden we began to look around and realized that this letter type was everywhere. The clean, simple sans serif typeface with horizontal cuts at the endings of letters was the spirit of modernity, of the new postwar times. Hustwit then moved on to objects—all of them.
Objectified, his second film, made us realize that every single thing we use has a form that was decided by somebody. Logically, the trilogy closed with Urbanized, a documentary that made the general public realize that the places where they live have a form, and that that form, which can improve their living conditions (or not), was decided by somebody.
His new film is about the workplace. The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “architecture” is houses, and the word “architect” somebody who designs houses. Perhaps, also, domestic life was how we spent most of our time not all that long ago, and if we include time spent sleeping this is still the case. But if we take sleeping out of the equation, we spend only a couple of hours at home: in the morning, taking a shower and having breakfast, very rarely at lunch, and then in the evening for dinner and perhaps some TV. Most of our time is spent at the workplace. We invest a lot of money in our houses, looking for the best possible conditions to make our lives better. But we should spend twice as much in the workplace because that is what actually makes our life better or a misery. Just like his others, this film—which will be given its world premiere at the Venice Architecture Biennale—will make us aware of a reality we are so enmeshed in, that we take so largely for granted, that we never even think it could be different. And this is the first step towards improving a situation (if it needs to be improved).