Watch & Learn: Abstract – The Art of Design

What is Abstract: The Art of Design?

Abstract: The Art of Design is an original Netflix documentary series created by the former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, following the stories of designers working across mediums and industries. An eight-episode series, it covers the careers and works of illustrator Christoph Niemann, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, stage designer Es Devlin, architect Bjarke Ingels, automotive designer Ralph Gilles, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon, and interior designer Ilse Crawford. Each episode has a look and feel that is different from the other, but sticks to the same underlying premise — that creativity need not have one fixed process or expression.

What stood out to us?

The series approaches the subject of design from a perspective that is a lot more comprehensive than the one we may be used to. For instance, countless films (including some documentaries) have led us to believe that designers work squarely within the realms of illustration or fashion, leaving little room for discussion on designers working within other related domains. The series breaks out of that by highlighting the professions of shoe designers, automotive designers and stage designers. In addition to the unexpected line-up of designers, the series also tries to keep the focus on creative professionals who actually favour innovation, rather than trends. Whether it’s discussing the manner in which certain technological developments were applied to a domain’s design for the first time, or evaluating how it is necessary to reimagine the past, Abstract does a great job of highlighting the need for creativity and innovation, making it apparent that while just one of these alone might make us successful, it is the combination of the two that leads design into the future.

Why watch it?

We recommend watching the series for its unique selection of artists as well as its emphasis on understanding the importance of contemporary design in our daily lives.

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