M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
Seven arduous years in the life of "starchitect" Bjarke Ingels, founder and head of the BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) Architecture firm, are chronicled in Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s intimate portrait. Named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2016, Ingels started his company in Copenhagen in 2005 and expanded to New York in 2012; he now oversees a staff of 400 and is responsible for bringing more than 40 projects from conception to completion. The most famous projects he is currently working on are the new Google headquarters in California and the 2 World Trade Center building, but he also designed the sweeping new 'Vancouver House' tower currently under construction at Pacific and Granville.
Astrup Schröder’s film benefits immensely from the director having been there in the early days of Ingels’ success. One of the first designs that brought Ingels worldwide attention was his strikingly original plan for a smoke-ring-blowing power plant with a ski slope on its roof in Copenhagen, and we are witness to the creative processes and bureaucratic hassles that accompanied this playful, innovative project. But it is with his move to New York, when Ingels really did make it to the "big time," and his subsequent work on the VIA 57 West apartment complex that the film really begins to reveal the pressures and problems that come with success: at the exact midpoint of the film, in the wake of his 40th birthday, things start to go wrong… Through it all, though, one thing remains constant: Ingels himself, who comes across as a refreshing, paradoxically down-to-earth visionary and a genial genius.