Valeria Crescenzi

5 worth-watching Netflix shows for design lovers

Netflix is brimming with shows about design, interiors, and architecture. Many don’t offer that much value but some, even unexpected ones, give you some food for thought and even prompts whether you are thinking about a career in the design industry.

Let’s dig into 5 worth-watching Netflix shows.

Abstract – The Art of Design

This is the first show on Design I watched on Netflix 3 years ago and still one the best I know of on the topic. This documentary series offers an in-depth insight into the multifaceted world of design. You learn about design through the eyes and the experience of some of the most influential designers and artists of our times.

The series started out in 2017 with the first episode portraying illustrator Christoph Niemann and went on exploring different fields of design: from interiors (Ilse Crawford) to footwear design (Tinker Hatfield), from contemporary art (Olafur Eliasson) to bio-architecture (Neri Oxman).

REASONS TO WATCH IT – For its unique narrative. If you watched ‘The Chef’s table’ you’ll recognize a similar approach in storytelling. ‘Abstract’ demonstrates that design is all around us even if it goes often unnoticed.

Did you know that this show earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction?

Dream Home Makeover

This is really a brand new series (launched October 2020) and I’ve watched it all at once! In this 6-episodes series Shea and Syd McGee, founders of Studio McGee, go through some of their interior projects, including their own dream home, mixing both their professional and personal experience.

REASONS TO WATCH IT – If you are a wannabe interior designer/decorator you’ll gather some useful tips on how to tackle a new project. Leave aside the fact that Studio McGee has high-end clientele and focus on the practical tips and the hacks you can extract from the episodes. One thing I really like as I’m gathering experience in interior decoration is the fact that for each project you can see the before and after also through the sketches. It’s like sitting in the studio with Shea and see the changes while she thinks about them.

One last consideration about this series: Shea McGee didn’t train as an interior design/architect, she graduated in communication and made a career change in 2014. She is self-taught and this demonstrates that if your dream is to pursue a career in interior design/decoration you can actually learn by doing.

Restaurants on the edge

If you are interested in design for commercial spaces, well, this is the series for you. Nick Liberato, Karin Bohn, and Dennis Prescott (experts of the design and food industries) travel the world to revive restaurants that are risking to close their doors.

Their rescue missions all follow the same pattern: they start with an on-site visit, they meet with the owners to understand what are the challenges. Then they try to infuse new lifeblood into the restaurants and this process involves not only the interiors but also the way the owners look at the resources they have and are not aware of. How many times and external look help us in getting a fresh take on the project/space we are involved in every day?

REASONS TO WATCH IT – If you want to train yourself to look at things and spaces with fresh eyes. Can you imagine a new look for the space you work or live in?

The toys that made us

Photos used with permission. ©2020 The LEGO Group.

How much do you know about toy design? Have you ever wondered how Barbie, LEGO, Hello Kitty were conceived? Do you know the real story behind them?

Toys are most probably one of the easiest and immediate ways to get in touch with the world of design. The docu-series ‘ the toys that made us’ looks back at some of the most iconic toy brands of all times. Each episode shows how the toys that enlivened our days as kids were conceived, designed and distributed.

REASONS TO WATCH IT – each episode is a journey down memory lane with the big plus of discovering lots of details and behind the scenes that, as kids, we wouldn’t have appreciated.

Interior Design Masters

The show sees 10 aspiring interior designers from the UK challenged to reimagine a range of different spaces episode after episode. This is a challenge so each time the judges analyze their work and choose who is gonna stay and who is gonna leave the show.

REASONS TO WATCH IT – It’s a down to earth show. The aspiring designers grow as the show goes on and so their confidence in making the choices an interior project requires.

Did you know that lead judge Michelle Ogundehin, former editor of ELLE Decoration, has also been one of the judges in this year’s AMARA Interior Blog Awards?

Did you find something for your next ‘date’ with Netflix?

Cover photo: courtesy of Studio McGee.

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