While a film set’s built walls are always temporary, their designer’s inspirational lessons are often long-lasting. The following films are a few examples where we took cues and jumped into action:
This house, designed for a farm in Indiana, was directly inspired by the Merchant-Ivory film, “Howards End”. As a matter of fact, when the client was asked what style of house she wanted, she told us to just watch this movie and create the ambiance of the ivy covered cottage. No other direction was given. Or needed.
One of Bobby’s own personal favorites is the set of Rebecca’s bedroom in Hitchcock’s melodrama “Rebecca”. The scale of this room is absurd – it’s as if no ceiling exists. The gauzy drapery covering the windows continues up and up ad infinitum. Bobby took this dramatic scale cue and employed it in his own personal Manderlay salon. Luckily, Mrs. Danvers never showed up to belittle his presence.
Movie color palates can also be a lush source of inspiration. Susan Ferrier’s mind has always been haunted by the subtle hues of the 2007 film “Elizabeth The Golden Age”. It shows in the rich depths of her interiors.
Sometimes the cinematic sway of direction comes from kids. A client’s daughter was totally enchanted by “Tangled” – Disney’s animated retelling of the Rapunzel fable. When her doting father asked if the tower from the film could be incorporated as a folly into his estate, we responded by turning a seemingly silly child’s desire into a fanciful guest house for the property. We trust the lucky guest staying in this retreat (currently under construction) will not be held captive.
Wouldn’t everyone like their own personal movie lighting designer to illuminate their best side? So much can be gleaned watching how cinematographers, like the one from “The Girl With the Pearl Earring”, paint and embrace a space with light. A bit of similar stagecraft was duplicated in one of our dining rooms. A table is set awaiting a hungry Vermeer or Caravaggio for lunch.
So, if you find yourself needing to invigorate an idea for a project and you desperately seek a muse, her name may very well be Netflix.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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