From sustainable architecture to pixel art, you can learn about the world’s most innovative designers and their works from the comfort of your home via Netflix with art and design shows.
When it comes to relaxing after a long day, Netflix is my drug. For me, logging on to the streaming service doesn’t always mean catching the latest episode of a reality dating show (no judgement, though). At times when I want to find inspiration or just to feel cultured, I switch over to an art and design show or docuseries. It’s like killing two birds with one stone — I can relax and let my brain empty out after a busy day, but at the same time, I’m (sort of) taking in useful information.
(While you’re at it, here are some of my favourite art podcasts to listen to, too.)
Best art and design shows on Netflix
Abstract: The Art of Design
With two seasons available, this documentary series takes you inside the minds of the world’s most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines. Each episode deep dives into a different creative bubble in the design world, including illustration, graphic design, stage design and even shoemaking. As an architecture graduate, I recommend starting with Bjarke Ingels’ episode, which hones in on the Danish starchitect’s “pragmatic utopian” designs like a clean power plant topped with a ski slope.
Watch Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix here
If you’re into anime, pixel art or music videos, then Art&Tech is for you. Explore the intersection between art and technology in this two-season Japanese show, where each episode introduces a new contemporary artist and takes a closer look at their innovative methods. The inaugural episode features Japanese artist, illustrator and character designer PALOW, who shares the inspiration behind his famous Bug Mechanic Girl illustrations and the design process of creating the character for virtual singer KAF.
Watch Art&Tech on Netflix here
Made by Design
Explore African creative talent in the first season of this Netflix documentary dedicated to Nigerian design. In each episode of the 13-part series, the viewer is introduced to a Nigerian designer, who is a leader in their field and who has embraced the function-first design perspective of working in Africa. The show also addresses the misconceptions about African design and depicts it as multifaceted. Some segments may be a little heavy, but each episode is standalone so you can start and stop whenever you want.
Watch Made by Design on Netflix here
The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals
With international travel starting again and a relatively lightweight seven-day quarantine upon arrival for us in Hong Kong, it’s time to start planning your next trip. Catch the two available seasons of The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals on Netflix, which, as per its title, showcases the best holiday homes around the world. From a bird’s nest in Bali to a farm-to-table gourmet stay in the Berkshires, these escapes are something else altogether — and may even become reality if you’re up for it.
Watch The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals on Netflix here
Tiny House Nation
Surprise, surprise — tiny homes aren’t just a thing in Hong Kong (though we do seem to be the only ones without a choice when it comes to the size of our homes). Tiny House Nation shows that you can have it all while living small. Learn some tips and tricks from the tiny homeowners featured in each episode, from a songwriter with a family plan to live in a luxe micro-home to a night nurse who goes mobile in a mini-home. What do you guys think — can we relate or are these Americans crazy for choosing to live this way?
Watch Tiny House Nation on Netflix here
The Creative Indians
Travel to South Asia to learn about the best of India’s creative scene in this docuseries. The Creative Indians covers a range of disciplines, from chefs and comedians to filmmakers and fashion designers. Not sure where to start? Learn about Delhi-based band Peter Cat Recording Co. in their episode, which offers the viewer a glimpse into the musical influences of India’s most contemporary sounds; or discover the works of graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee, who shares who he uses text and imagery to offer social commentary.
Watch The Creative Indians on Netflix here
(Lead image: Abstract: The Art of Design/Netflix)