Gary Hustwit’s new film documents Foster + Partners’ transformation of the workplace

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Bob Greenberg, R/GA Founder, Chairman, CEO, inspects an office model. (Courtesy Gary Hustwit)

Bob Greenberg, R/GA Founder, Chairman, and CEO, inspects an office model created by Foster + Partners. Hustwit’s film tracks the design of the venerable ad agency’s new space.  (Courtesy Gary Hustwit)

Gary Hustwit, the director of documentaries Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized, has announced a new film, Workplace, in time for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The two-million-square-foot Oceanside Center, completed 2014, provides downtown San Francisco with two flexible-plan office towers and residential space. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners’s two-million-square-foot Oceanwide Center, completed 2014, provides downtown San Francisco with two flexible-plan office towers and residential space. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Workplace follows the design and construction of R/GA‘s New York City headquarters. R/GA is one of the world’s most prominent advertising agencies, with offices in 15 cities worldwide. Since its founding more than four decades ago, the agency has contributed to more than 400 feature films and over 4,000 television commercials.

The ten-story Bloomberg London (expected completion: 2020) is intended to dialogie with historic buildings in the heart of London. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

The ten-story Bloomberg London (expected completion: 2020) is intended to reference historic buildings in the heart of London. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

In collaboration with Foster + Partners, the agency spent a year and a half thinking about how to synthesize digital and physical space for a more harmonious office environment that facilitates collaboration and connects offices to the world outside.

Hustwit explains that the theme of the documentary—improving office space—coincides perfectly with the Biennale’s theme, “Reporting from the Front.” In the words of Biennale director Alejandro Aravena: “There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life. We will present cases and practices where creativity was used to take the risk to go even for a tiny victory, because when the problem is big, just a one-millimeter improvement is relevant.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because myriad firms, environmental psychologists, and student projects have tried to “rethink the office” already. It remains to be seen what Foster + Partners, with their experience designing workspaces for London’s Bloomberg headquarters and San Francisco’s Oceanwide Center, among others, will contribute to the conversation.

At this time, no images of the office’s interiors are available online. The film will premiere at the Biennale, and run from May 28 through November 27.

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