Netflix has revealed the six creatives due to star in documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design, which will return to the platform on 25 September. Artist Olafur Eliasson, bio-designer Neri Oxman, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, toy designer Cas Holman, Instagram product designer Ian Spalter and typeface designer Jonathan Hoefler will all feature in the series, which aims to show the impact of design on the world and better understand creativity.
The connection between the environment, ecology and design is a key theme for the coming series. Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson creates large-scale immersive installations, including current Tate Modern hit In Real Life. Using light, architecture and digital technology, his practice evolves around highlighting environmental issues and bringing people together. Also working in the intersection of science and design, Neri Oxman is a US-based designer, whose work primarily explores computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology. Past projects have included building a pavilion using 6,500 roaming silkworms on a robotically built silk structure and 3D-printed death masks that were filled with pigment-producing bacteria.
The importance of design in challenging the status quo of the entertainment industry is another strand to the new series. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter has worked in the film industry for more than 30 years and is known for her long-time collaboration with director Spike Lee. She scooped up an Oscar for her work on Black Panther, becoming the first African-American woman to win in the Best Costume Design category. Cas Holman is a toy designer, whose company Heroes Will Rise builds playthings that allow children to learn in an open, imaginative way. Cas’ latest toy, Rigmajig, for example, is a large-scale building kit complete with wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope that can be used to make all manner of contraptions.
Abstract also aims to show how ubiquitous – and hence powerful – design is in everyday life. Ian Spalter, Instagram’s product designer, was behind the Instagram logo and app redesign. He oversees the look and feel of an app that one in seven people in the world use. Jonathan Hoefler is the founder of Hoefler & Co, who has created custom typefaces for Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Esquire.
The new series of Abstract: The Art of Design will launch on 25 September on Netflix. You can watch the trailer below.