Design Onscreen goes to Russia this week, where we’ll co-sponsor the 2nd Annual Moscow Architecture Film Festival December 2-4, 2010, in partnership with our hosts, the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, the Center for Contemporary Architecture and the Moscow Museum of Cinema.

Design Onscreen will proudly present three of its own feature films, Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs; William Krisel, Architect and Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day, along with two other excellent documentaries on American architects, Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner (produced by the Googie Company) and Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio (produced by Big Beard Films).

In addition, on December 1 at 7pm, Design Onscreen Board Member and Historian Alan Hess will lecture at the State Museum of Architecture on current issues in U.S. architectural preservation. On the the Festival’s opening night (Dec. 2), Alan Hess and Executive Director Heather Purcell Leja will give a presentation on Design Onscreen’s mission and activities.

All of the following screenings and events will take place at Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow, Russia. For a complete Festival schedule, click here.

Screenings presented by Design Onscreen at the Moscow Architecture Film Festival

Thursday, December 2, 2010
Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs (2009, 58 min, Director Jake Gorst)

Desert Utopia

Desert Utopia traces the origins and growth of midcentury architecture in the modernist mecca of Palm Springs, California. The city boasts many landmark buildings by such modernist pioneers as Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, William Cody and William Krisel. Director Jake Gorst’s film brings these unique structures alive and features never-before-seen archival footage of the architects and construction that made Palm Springs a unique gem of design in the desert.

(view trailer)

Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wiliam Krisel, Architect (2010, 86 min, Director Jake Gorst)

William Krisel: ArchitectOne of the most prolific Southern Californian architects of the 20th century, William Krisel’s influence continues to reverberate today. This documentary explores Krisel’s life and work, including his roots in 1930s China, his ground-breaking designs for modern living, and interviews with scholars, his contemporaries and family. “I’m a firm believer that good modern design can make your life happier, more productive and more enjoyable,” says Krisel. During the 1950s, Krisel built thousands of mass-produced tract homes in Palm Springs–and throughout Southern California–and thus played a key role in establishing the desert modernism of the area.

(view trailer)

Friday, December 3, 2010
Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner (2009, 90 min, Director Murray Grigor)
(screening presented by Design Onscreen)

John Lautner

“The purpose of architecture,” said John Lautner, “is to create timeless,
free, joyous spaces for all activities in life.” Infinite Space traces the lifelong quest of visionary genius John Lautner to create “architecture that has no beginning and no end.” It is the story of brilliance and of a complicated life – and the most sensual architecture of the 20th century. Renowned architectural filmmaker Murray Grigor explores Lautner’s dramatic spaces with choreographed camera moves, as Lautner himself provides the commentary, speaking with insight and wit in recordings culled from archival sources.

(view trailer)

Saturday, December 4, 2010
Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day (2010, 77 mins, Director Murray Grigor)

Commemorative British stamp of Robin Day's chair designRobin and Lucienne Day transformed British design after World War II with striking furniture and textiles that signaled a new era of modernist sensibilities for everyday living. Robin’s revolutionary furniture designs introduced materials such as plastic, steel and plywood to homes, offices and schools. His stacking polypropylene chair endures as an icon and now graces a Royal Mail postage stamp. Lucienne’s abstract textile designs brought accessible elegance into the homes of postwar British consumers. The Days’ fresh design approaches, including their contributions to the Royal Festival Hall in 1951, helped fuel the artistic and commercial awakening that led Britain out of the devastation of World War II. The film traces the Days’ personal and professional progression over the course of their careers, spanning more than seventy years—from their days at the Royal College of the Arts in the 1930s, through their long heyday at the forefront of British design.

(view trailer)

Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 4:45pm
Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio (2010, 60 min, Director Sam Wainwright Douglas)
(screening presented by Design Onscreen)

Samuel Mockbee

In 1993 the late architect and MacArthur Genius Samuel Mockbee started the Rural Studio, a design/build education program, in which students create striking architecture for impoverished communities in rural Alabama. Guided by frank, passionate interviews with Mockbee, Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio shows how a group of students use their creativity, ingenuity and compassion to craft a home for their charismatic client, Jimmie Lee Matthews, known to locals as Music Man because of his zeal for old R&B and Soul records. The film reveals that the Rural Studio is about more than architecture and building. Mockbee’s program provides students with an experience that forever inspires them to consider how they can use their skills to better their communities. Interviews with Mockbee’s peers and scenes with those he’s influenced infuse the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship

Schusev State Museum of Architecture
119019 Moscow, Vozdvizhenka str., 5