The Architecture and Design Film Festival Lands in Chicago

Architecture and Design Film Festival 04

"Fashion Reimagined" opened the festival with a look into the difficulty of designing an ethical collection in an industry caught in a cycle of exploitation.


February 3, 2023

The Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) has been making its way across North America since September, with stops in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, LA, Washington DC, and finally Chicago. All of these cities have interesting architecture, but over here in Chicago, we like to think we have some of the best—making the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) a perfect venue for the festival’s last stop before going online.

This year marks ADFF’s first visit to Chicago and to CAC since it opened to the public in 2018. The Center’s Skyscraper Gallery provides a fun backdrop to the event with large models of notable skyscrapers worldwide—from Chicago’s own Willis Tower to Malaysia’s Petronas Towers. With furniture provided by Forward Space and impressive paper room partitions from Molo, the gallery transformed into a screening room beginning Wednesday and continuing through Feb. 5.

The Chicago festival opened with a special screening of Fashion Reimagined, a documentary following fashion designer Amy Powney’s quest to create the most ethical and sustainable collection for Mother of Pearl, starting from the fiber itself. CAC’s CEO Eleanor Esser Gorski, AIA introduced the film along with ADFF Director Kyle Bergman.

Architecture and Design Film Festival 03

Mother of Pearl Creative Director Amy Powney searches for ethically produced wool in Fashion Reimagined, 2022 (United Kingdom).

“We are thrilled to bring the Architecture & Design Film Festival to the Chicago Architecture Center. This is a fantastic opportunity to assemble the architecture and design community for a line-up of thought-provoking features and short film shorts from across the world,” Eleanor said.

The lineup includes 15 feature films and a short film program, all contemplating design’s impact across fashion, real estate, art, architecture, urban planning, and housing. The films include the stories of Dutch architect Winy Maas, Danish design pioneer Grethe Meyer, and Finnish artist and one of the first designers for Marimekko, Maija Isola.

Architecture and Design Film Festival 02

Still from Maija Isola – Master Of Colour And Form, 2021 (Finland).

Chicago’s turn hosting the festival continues through Feb. 5, and the films will become available online through the ADFF website from Feb. 8-17. Full list of films:

  • Fashion Reimagined (2022)
  • Concrete Landscape (2022)
  • Under Tomorrow’s Sky (2021)
  • Bawa’s Garden (2022)
  • Beyond the Life of Forms (2021)
  • Building Bastille! The Tangled and Improbable story of the Opera Bastille (2021)
  • Beyond the Life of Forms (2021)
  • Builders, Housewives and the Construction of Modern Athens (2021)
  • Alice Street (2020)
  • Segregated by Design (2019)
  • Committee of Six (2022)
  • A World to Shape (2022)
  • Robin Hood Gardens (2022)
  • Grethe Meyer – The Queen of Danish Design (2021)
  • Maija Isola – Master of Colour and Form (2021)

Screentimes and tickets available at