Expired March 27, 2023 6:59 AM
Already unlocked? for access

Virtual tickets are pay-what-you-can, $5–25. Click "Unlock Now" above to select the price you are most comfortable with.

To accommodate evolving public health recommendations regarding COVID-19, ByDesign 2023 will be held both virtually and in-person. VIRTUAL, IN-PERSON, and HYBRID Festival Passes are available here.

Universally recognized yet frequently discarded, since its creation in the 1970s, the Monobloc plastic chair has been the world’s best-selling piece of furniture. With more than a billion units in circulation worldwide, this deceptively bland piece of furniture was originally conceived by designer Henry Massonnet as a fashionable commodity for upper-class consumers. The pursuit of lowered production costs above all else soon turned the Monobloc into a symbol of cheap design, environmental waste, and bad taste across much of the Western world. Hauke Wendler’s documentary MONOBLOC takes a closer look at its ubiquity and streamlined production process, finding a microcosm of economic globalization and inequality. Filming across five continents, Wendler contrasts this disparaging view of the Monobloc with its role in many developing countries, where its low cost has made it one of the few pieces of furniture that impoverished families can afford. In Uganda, the Free Wheelchair Mission has modified the chairs to make wheelchairs available to millions for the first time. Trips to India and Brazil similarly reveal the chair’s importance to the developing world, where locals have taken over the production process and, surprisingly, the way that Monoblocs can be recycled. Expansive in scope, MONOBLOC reveals how a product can tell a much broader story of global development and economic inequality with profound and complex economic sociological and ecological implications.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
    French, German, English, Hindi, Italian
  • Country
  • Director
    Hauke Wendler