My recent posts at World-Architects


Monday, December 09, 2013

DVD Review: Inside Piano

Inside Piano by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine
BêkaPartners, 2013
Book: Hardcover, 144 pages
DVD: All-Region PAL, 99 minutes

In the vein of their earlier documentaries on the use and maintenance of buildings designed by Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, and Frank Gehry, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine examine three buildings designed by Renzo Piano: B&B Italia Offices, IRCAM, and the Beyeler Foundation. While the previous titles clocked in at just shy of an hour, the three mini-documentaries add up to just over an hour-and-a-half – over two hours if we take the Renzo Piano interview into account. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the other three "Living Architectures" documentaries (of five, with one more to go), there was something to these three bite-sized films that made them even more enjoyable, each one making me anticipate the next one.

[B&B Italia Offices, Studio Piano and Rogers]

While it's hard for me to say exactly why these three short films were so appealing to me when watching them, I think part of it stems from the need to look at more than one Piano building since he is an architect that tackles each project anew (minus some recurring details and themes that show up in low-slung museums like the Beyeler all these years later). The B&B Italia Offices come from the years when Piano was designing with Richard Rogers – the filmmakers actually call the building in the film and companion book "the little Beaubourg," after their most famous commission. IRCAM moves to the site just next to Beaubourg/Pompidou in Paris, for a primarily below-grade project that bridges Piano's work with Rogers and on his own through its various phases. Lastly, the Beyeler Foundation sees Piano creating one of his masterpieces, one of the buildings that makes his numerous museum commissions understandable.

[IRCAM, Studio Piano and Rogers]

But like the documentaries on Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, and Gehry, Bêka and Lemoine could care less about platitudes and other high praise. They want to see how a building really functions – by following a postal worker through the offices (B&B), talking to sound technicians in their windowless offices (IRCAM), and heading up into the gap between lower and upper roofs to change a light bulb (Beyeler). For the filmmakers, there are two groups of people that use a building: on the one hand the office workers, artists, museum-goers and other people who inhabit the building; and on the other hand the engineers and facility managers who exist to make sure the building continues to operate effectively. In the case of these three Piano commissions, the latter is of the most interest, both for us and the filmmakers. This makes sense, given the technology of both the programs and the building designs themselves. Those able to contemplate hiring Piano for a building would do well to watch these films to get an idea of what might be in store for them.

[Beyeler Foundation, Renzo Piano Building Workshop]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated for spam.