Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Berlinale Special

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

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His designs are captivating on account of their logic and because they are not dull, functional constellations. The Hearst Tower in New York City, Hong Kong’s airport Chek Lap Kok, the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin, the Viaduc de Millau which spans the valley of the river Tarn in southern France, the renovated Grand Hotel Dolder in Zurich or Masdar City in Abu Dhabi (still under construction) are, indisputably, odes to technology. These exuberant futuristic visions that emerge from the cityscape like a landmark were created by Norman Foster’s office.
This film charts Norman Foster’s career: from his beginnings as a working-class boy from Stockport (southeast of Manchester) who took an interest in architecture at an early age, to the man who, following a stint in the Royal Air Force, went on to study architecture at Yale School of Art and Architecture and worked with Richard Buckminster Fuller before founding his own architectural practice with his wife Wendy as well as Sue and Richard Rogers. His is a face-paced story, one in which he has always sought the principle behind the grand design, as well as the most perfectly crafted, technical solution. This becomes apparent in the details and in the perfection for which Foster’s designs are renowned.
Whilst he was working on the Renault Distribution Centre in England his clients expressed an interest in a table they saw in the architect’s office. Foster began to develop the idea. He created a stainless steel base with suction cups of the kind used by glaziers when they are positioning large panes of glass. On these suction cups he placed large, heavy sheets of glass which give these endlessly versatile tables the impression of being light. This high-tech table did not only appeal to Renault UK. The ‘Nomos’ table is now one of the architect Norman Foster’s best-selling designs. Nomos sums up Foster’s work: beauty is a question of logic.

United Kingdom / Spain 2010, 72 min


Norberto Lopez, Carlos Carcas