ADFF: LA (March 14-18) Presents Films on a PPP-Funded Futurist City, Bjarke Ingels & More

The Experimental City

Featuring Over 30 Films, Director Q&As, Panel Discussions, VR Experiences & More

March 15-18, 2018
The Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 S. Spring Street | Los Angeles, CA

This spring, the Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to Los Angeles from March 14-18 at the historic Los Angeles Theatre Center, providing the film capital of the world a unique lens to explore architecture and design. Following the success of this fall’s ninth New York festival and, most recently, its first festival in D.C. at the National Building Museum, ADFF: LA will bring a selection of 30+ compelling short length and feature films. The screenings will explore the life and work of revered architects and designers such as desert modernist Albert Frey, contemporary starchitect Bjarke Ingels, and fashion designer Dries van Noten. Films will also cover timely topics such as the power of design to instill positive change and the building of a model city to solve urban problems. Over the course of five days, the films will be supplemented by a robust lineup of programming and interactive experiences, guaranteeing a multifaceted event.

Kicking off with the Short Films Walk (SFW: LA) on March 10, design aficionados are invited to explore the Helms Bakery District, where six showrooms including Arcana Books, Harbour Outdoor, H.D. Buttercup, Scandinavian Designs, Room & Board and Vitra will open their doors and screen over 24 short film documentaries throughout the day from 10am-7pm. The event will conclude with a public screening of Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres, a beautifully shot film by award-winning director Sarah Howitt that tells the story of Maggie’s, their approach to cancer care, and the role that great design plays in the cancer support they offer. The film will be followed by a talk with Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA.

ADFF: LA, presented by Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home, opens on Thursday, March 14 with BIG TIME, a documentary by Kaspar Astrup Schröder that follows Bjarke Ingels during the course of seven years while he struggles to finish his biggest project yet, letting viewers into his creative process and compromises along the way. The following evening, Liam Young of SCI-Arc’s M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment program will curate a selection of experimental films.

Other film highlights include:

Albert Frey: Part 1 – The Architectural Envoy, directed by Jake Gorst, is about the unpretentious Swiss-born mid-20th century architect. The first of a two-part film series produced by Design Onscreen, this film explores Albert’s early life and work in Europe to his New York architectural accomplishments in the 1930s, including the famed Aluminaire House, the Canvas Weekend House, features of the New York Museum of Modern Art, as well as his Kocher-Samson Building in Palm Springs.

The Experimental City explores the story of Athelstan Spilhaus, a visionary scientist and futurist comic-strip writer in the 1960s. Frustrated by the growing problem of urban pollution, he assembled a team of experts to develop a bold experiment: the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC). MXC would be the city of the future, a domed metropolis for 250,000 pioneering residents, built from scratch using cutting-edge technology to prevent urban sprawl and pollution. Things didn’t quite go as planned, as explored in Chad Friedrichs’ fascinating look back at the would-be city of tomorrow.

DRIES, a film about the notoriously private fashion designer Dries Van Noten, who allows a filmmaker to accompany him in his creative process and rich home life for the first time. The film offers an insight into the life, mind and creative heart of a master fashion designer who, for more than 25 years, has remained independent in a landscape of fashion consolidation and globalization.

Other festival highlights include Breakpoint, a short mockumentary that follows the founder of LASVIT, a company that revived the Czech glass making craft; Made in Ilima, a film about MASS Design’s conservation-focused primary school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; REM, a film by Tomas Koolhaas; and for St. Patrick’s Day, a screening of Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect.

Additionally, ADFF will transform the Los Angeles Theatre Center lobby into an immersive lounge area for attendees to enjoy between screenings. The lounge will include VR films including one by Gary Hustwit and Sam Green that explores the work of architect and futurist Buckminster Fuller; an exhibition called “The Original Comes from Vitra” that focuses on authenticity in the design and manufacturing process; short films displayed on the Sony Ultra-Short Throw 4K HDR Home Theater Projector; furniture supplied by Vitra and Poliform; and a pop-up book store.


The Architecture & Design Film Festival is grateful for the generous support of ADFF: LA including presenting sponsor Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home as well as Helms Bakery District, LASVIT, Poliform, Sony and Vitra. Media Sponsors include Interior Design and Architectural Record. Industry Sponsors include The American Institute of Architects, AIA LA and the West Edge Design Fair.


Tickets for ADFF: LA will go on sale February 21 and can be purchased at The Los Angeles Theatre Center or online at Pricing is $16.50 for General Admission, $14.50 for AIA members (must inquire for discount code) and $12.50 for students with valid ID. Ticket packages are also available.


Founded in 2009, the Architecture & Design Film Festival celebrates the creative spirit that drives architecture and design. Through a curated selection of films, events, and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. It has grown into the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the subject with an annual festival in New York and satellite events in cities around the world. For more information, visit or @ADFILMFEST on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.