'Design Is One' at the Architecture and Design Film Festival
The Architecture and Design Film Festival kicked off in New York at the Tribeca Cinemas with the world premiere of Design Is One, a film about the legendary design duo of Massimo and Lella Vignelli. Filmmakers Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra's retrospective of the Vignelli's union and career covers a spans a vast array of material, in keeping with the breadth of the legendary designers' work. Played to a standing-room-only crowd, the film captured the often humorous and always insightful wisdom of design's first couple.
To leave an indelible impact on a whole nation of people is an accomplishment perhaps no other husband and wife team can claim. The Vignellis moved to New York from Italy in 1966; only a few months later, they were commissioned to redesign the New York City subway signage and map. While the map was replaced five years later, the seminal signs remain in use today (and the map itself has resurfaced for use in the MTA's Weekender app, showing that perhaps the Vignellis were ahead of their time). Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, says every time we take the subway we are entering "Vignelliland"—this analogy could be taken a step further as even those residing in Anytown, USA, come across multiple marks of their design legacy every day, whether in driving a Ford Focus, shopping at Bloomingdale's, or catching a flight on American Airlines (the Vignellis designed all three brands' logos).
After the film, Massimo fielded questions from the audience and dispensed sound advice: "There is no good design without discipline," and "Freebies are your best work, they're not contested by the client," he says.
The Architecture and Design Film Festival travels next to L.A. And Chicago this spring. For a design fan of any pedigree, Design Is One is not to be missed.