Premiere Date: Feb 10, 2017 Exec. Producers: Scott Dadich, Morgan Neville, Dave OConnor, Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes
1 Christoph Niemann: Illustration From New Yorker covers to Instagram sketches, illustrator Christoph Niemann plays with abstraction and interactivity -- and questions authenticity.
2 Tinker Hatfield: Footwear Design Tinker Hatfield's background in architecture and athletics sparked his game-changing shoe designs for Nike, including the iconic Air Jordan series.
3 Es Devlin: Stage Design Stage designer Es Devlin crafts evocative sets for concerts, operas, plays and runway shows using light, film, sculpture -- and even rain.
4 Bjarke Ingels: Architecture Architect Bjarke Ingels unites function, fantasy and sustainability in "pragmatic utopian" designs like a clean power plant topped with a ski slope.
5 Ralph Gilles: Automotive Design As Fiat Chrysler's global head of design, Ralph Gilles steers the brand into the future with sleek new sports cars and a self-driving electric van.
6 Paula Scher: Graphic Design Graphic designer Paula Scher paints with words, developing the visual language of iconic brands and institutions around the world.
7 Platon: Photography Platon's fearless portraits capture the souls of world leaders and ordinary people. A shoot with Gen. Colin Powell provides a window into his process.
8 Ilse Crawford: Interior Design Interior designer Ilse Crawford creates spaces and objects that engage the senses and promote well-being, from high-end hotels to Ikea furniture.
Episodes Season 2
Premiere Date: Sep 25, 2019 Exec. Producers: Scott Dadich, Morgan Neville, Dave OConnor, Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes
1 Olafur Eliasson: The Design of Art Olafur Eliasson creates sensory-rich immersive installations, including a lamp-lit sun at the Tate Modern and chunks of Arctic ice on city streets.
2 Neri Oxman: Bio-Architecture Can we design our way out of an ecological crisis? At the MIT Media Lab, professor Neri Oxman cultivates new materials that emulate nature.
3 Ruth Carter: Costume Design A visual storyteller and frequent Spike Lee collaborator, Ruth E. Carter won an Oscar for her Afrofuturistic costume design for "Black Panther."
4 Cas Holman: Design for Play As founder of toy company Heroes Will Rise, Cas Holman crafts tools and objects designed to inspire kids (and adults) to play creatively.
5 Ian Spalter: Digital Product Design On the heels of leading influential projects for Nike and Instagram, Ian Spalter explains the process of experimenting with new product designs.
6 Jonathan Hoefler: Typeface Design While researching vintage watches as inspiration for a new font, Jonathan Hoefler delves into his work for Apple, Obama's "Change" campaign and more.
Abstract: The Art of Design isn’t just about storytelling, though: it illustrates the intent behind the amazing objects around us—which many take for granted—and the decisions from which they originated. It brings newfangled technology to the age-old task of explaining what designers do. It’s delightful to see so much money thrown at people who, almost unanimously, think best with a pen and a pad of paper.
Genre: Documentary Network: Netflix Created by: Scott Dadlich Seasons: 2 Episodes: 14 Runtime: 42-48 minutes
At its best, Abstract illustrates that work through building tours, crits, and portrait sessions, augmenting everyday reality with animation and digital transformations, making designers into action figures and superheroes. At its worst, it swamps the screen with imagery, trusting us to be impressed without offering criticism or context for the subjects’ glossy portfolios.
This series—created by former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich—features world-class designers and creatives. Each roughly 40-minute episode goes deep behind the scenes of each of its subject’s creative process. Even if you don’t think you’ll be interested in the discipline being explored, you’ll likely get drawn into their story and leave with some insightful takeaways.
Each episode stands as its own documentary film, highlighting design visionaries like graphic designer and Pentagram partner Paula Scher, illustrator Christoph Niemann, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, stage designer Es Devlin, architect Bjarke Ingels, automotive designer Ralph Gilles, photographer Platon, and interior designer Ilse Crawford.