This Netflix Show Might Make You Quit Your Job

February 2017Words by Mr Dan Rookwood

The photographer Platon in episode three of Abstract: The Art of Design, 2017. Photograph by Ms Barbara Nitke/Netflix

Abstract: The Art Of Design is no ordinary documentary series. It should come with a “viewer discretion advised” warning. Why? Because you might be inspired to resign from your day job and start doing what you’ve always dreamed of. That’s the effect it had on the show’s creator.

“I can guess what you’re thinking, because I have watched a lot of design documentaries,” says the Netflix show’s originator and executive producer Mr Scott Dadich, who until two weeks ago was also Wired magazine’s editor-in-chief. “Restrained, polished, pretty – so many of them look like a moving version of a coffee table book… Most of it is clean, minimal, and boring as hell. We’re not doing that.”

Instead, what he and his fellow executive producers – including Mr Morgan Neville (who won an Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom) and RadicalMedia’s Mr Dave O’Connor – have done is make a series of eight compelling and perfectly formed standalone documentaries about eight of the world’s most talented designers. These include: Nike’s sneaker guru Mr Tinker Hatfield; The New Yorker illustrator Mr Christoph Niemann; Beyoncé’s set designer Ms Es Devlin; the co-architect of Google’s HQ, Mr Bjarke Ingels; Time magazine photographer Platon; and former Soho House interior-décor maven Ms Ilse Crawford.