The Production Design Thread

jake24jake24 Sitting at your desk, kissing your lover, eating supper with your family
edited March 2016 in Bond Movies Posts: 8,300
In honour of one of the most talented and gifted people ever to grace our screens, the legendary Sir Ken Adam, I though I would create this thread as a place to discuss the importance of production design on the film industry, but more importantly its impact as an integral part of the Bond franchise. A place to keep Adam's influence and legacy alive, a man who gave the Bond films class, elegance and beauty during the glory days of the 60s and 70s.

Feel free to discuss all aspects of production design - past, present, future, Bond, non-Bond, etc.

Sir Ken Adam's legacy in pictures:

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Comments

  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,266
    The Production design of Bond movies have been some of the best designs in film ever. Nothing has ever been able to really match that unique art deco standard Ken Adam and others have put on the series.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited March 2016 Posts: 21,670
    The Vandamm house at the end of North by Northwest (which predates Bond films by 5 years, and incidentally is my favourite film of all time) could have been an inspiration of sorts for Adam's work.

    In fact, there are many scenes in that film, including some in the UN, that remind me very much of Adam's efforts on Bond (including the famous Mt. Rushmore finale). Same goes for Vertigo.

    Vandamm house
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    Vandamm house
    323933VueplongeantesjourVH.jpg
    UN
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    Community Parks building near Mt. Rushmore
    Mt-Rushmore-park-bldg-1-511x288.jpg
    Vertigo
    3530.jpg
    Vertigo
    vertigo4.jpg

    I'm including some text from what looks to be an interesting book: The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock

    "Depicting a chase through a succession of spectacular locations, North by Northwest has been considered a precursor of the James Bond series – this certainly applies to the Vandamm house as well. The Bond films, in which a master criminal with foreign accent inhabits remote and precariously sited ultramodern hideaways, confirmed the connection between modern design and dastardly doings. Undoubtedly, the Vandamm house could have been designed by Ken Adam, the production designer responsible for famous Bond set pieces such as the in-rock-carved ultramodern hideout of Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962) or the laser room in Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964). Adam’s peculiar combination of contemporary shapes with antique furniture and his strange mixture of metal and wood are reminiscent of the tension between the ‘googie’ cantilevered structures and modern surfaces on the one hand and the telluric embedment that characterizes the Vandamm house on the other."
  • mcdonbbmcdonbb deep in the Heart of Texas
    edited March 2016 Posts: 4,119
    North by Northwest was the first film my parents saw together.

    They also had the foresight to name me after Connery.

    Anyway North is absolutely one of my favorites as well ...and I beautifully designed film.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,029
    @bondjames

    =D> wouldn't know where to begin to praise you for that great post and the accompanying pictures of North By Northwest.

    Hitchcock is my favourite director and I'm lucky to own all of his movies that were released on Blu-ray and/or DVD.
    I just purchased the new Criterion Edition of 4 of his early classics on Blu-ray.

    I got that book The Wrong House The Architecture Of Alfred Hitchcock. It's a fascinating book, again thanks for posting this.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited March 2016 Posts: 21,670
    Thanks @BondJasonBond006. I'm a huge Hitchcock fan as well. Just watched Dial M for Murder recently on blu ray and am waiting on Rope on blu which I ordered from Amazon. He was such a master at creating tension and his films had superb production design for their time in my view.

    I haven't got that book, having just read about it for commenting on this thread, but I'm definitely ordering it this evening, along with "Ken Adam Designs the Movies: James Bond and Beyond", if I can find a reasonably priced copy somewhere.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,700
    A few of my favorite production design films include Flightplan and Gattaca
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,029
    A few of my favorite production design films include Flightplan and Gattaca

    Gattaca is a work of art.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,700
    A few of my favorite production design films include Flightplan and Gattaca

    Gattaca is a work of art.

    I agree. The use of colour is superb.
  • Posts: 10,496
    Although hardly seen on screen one of my favourite Ken Adam sets, was the conference
    Table ( under the Moonraker ) which all folds away into the floor. I've read a scene was filmed
    using it ( hence why such an elaborate set for such a short sequence ) but I think the design
    was so imaginative.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    edited March 2016 Posts: 15,266
    It's a shame we didn't get to see this set from Moonraker.
    Apparently it was a meditation room. It was built but never shown.
    VSJSWXZl.jpg
    uc5OF2pl.jpg
  • Posts: 10,496
    Would that have been the area mentioned in Chris Woods Book, where Bond
    sees a couple getting down and dirtu in zero gravity ?
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,266
    It is a possibility. :)
  • zebrafishzebrafish <°)))<
    Posts: 2,187
    Now here is a Bond-worthy concept:

    Take a cliff, cut a cube out of it and put a swimming pool with glass floors as the roof. Voila, be your own Blofeld! Producers take note, this would be ultra-cool to see on film.

    img_3_1435757352_ce52121403726ffd8501e35137ebd41d.jpg

    img_6_1435757352_c95d9c76582675fc0ab5fb9769c8c121.jpg

    img_7_1435757352_adab704b542e790ba391758c48276092.jpg

    casa-brutale-opa-works-9.jpg

    casa-brutale-opa-works-10.jpg
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,266
    That's amazing.
  • jake24jake24 Sitting at your desk, kissing your lover, eating supper with your family
    Posts: 8,300
    Anyone want to get this thread going again? I feel there are more discussions to be had.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    edited March 18 Posts: 2,700
    Yes. I'll get it going. I loved Red Sparrow's production design as well as Blade Runner's.
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    Posts: 2,543
    Me too! I never knew the thread existed. Some of you may know that Ken Adam was born Klaus Adam in Berlin, where his father owned a department store, and Klaus/Ken later had to emigrate since the family was Jewish. Anyway, Ken bequeathed his personal collection to the Deutsche Kinemathek foundation in Berlin, and in 2015 there was a brilliant exhibition of that in Munich...to which I went.

    Taking pictures was...uhm...unwanted, and certainly not with a flash, so I only took VERY few pictures when I couldn't resist, and some of them turned out blurry. Nevertheless, here they are. These show models for the set design of Moonraker. In case anyone wonders, the second is the centrifuge, and if I remember correctly none of these are larger than maybe 50 centimeters across.

    dscf2959erphl.jpg
    dscf2960xvrnm.jpg
    dscf2961ocr7k.jpg
  • edited March 18 Posts: 4,690
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    Me too! I never knew the thread existed. Some of you may know that Ken Adam was born Klaus Adam in Berlin, where his father owned a department store, and Klaus/Ken later had to emigrate since the family was Jewish. Anyway, Ken bequeathed his personal collection to the Deutsche Kinemathek foundation in Berlin, and in 2015 there was a brilliant exhibition of that in Munich...to which I went.

    Taking pictures was...uhm...unwanted, and certainly not with a flash, so I only took VERY few pictures when I couldn't resist, and some of them turned out blurry. Nevertheless, here they are. These show models for the set design of Moonraker. In case anyone wonders, the second is the centrifuge, and if I remember correctly none of these are larger than maybe 50 centimeters across.

    dscf2959erphl.jpg
    dscf2960xvrnm.jpg
    dscf2961ocr7k.jpg

    Great, great pictures! Isn't 50 centimeters across very small for models like these? Not that it shows!
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,700
    Awesome! Another production design movie I love is Craig's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,086
    j_w_pepper wrote: »
    Me too! I never knew the thread existed. Some of you may know that Ken Adam was born Klaus Adam in Berlin, where his father owned a department store, and Klaus/Ken later had to emigrate since the family was Jewish. Anyway, Ken bequeathed his personal collection to the Deutsche Kinemathek foundation in Berlin, and in 2015 there was a brilliant exhibition of that in Munich...to which I went.

    Taking pictures was...uhm...unwanted, and certainly not with a flash, so I only took VERY few pictures when I couldn't resist, and some of them turned out blurry. Nevertheless, here they are. These show models for the set design of Moonraker. In case anyone wonders, the second is the centrifuge, and if I remember correctly none of these are larger than maybe 50 centimeters across.

    dscf2959erphl.jpg
    dscf2960xvrnm.jpg
    dscf2961ocr7k.jpg

    Great, great pictures! Isn't 50 centimeters across very small for models like these? Not that it shows!

    Seconded! Thank you to @j_w_pepper for sharing these great pictures! :)
  • j_w_pepperj_w_pepper Hamburg, near the Atlantic Hotel
    edited March 18 Posts: 2,543
    Thanks everybody. The "catalogue" of the exhibition mentioned is this:

    51-qAARbyiL.jpg
    It's still available (among others: via Amazon), but in spite of the impression the title makes, it's only in German.
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation Co-Founder
    Posts: 2,700
    The hotel featured in the first episode of Instinct TV series.

    Michael Douglas's office in A Perfect Murder.
  • edited April 1 Posts: 211
    zebrafish wrote: »
    Now here is a Bond-worthy concept:

    Take a cliff, cut a cube out of it and put a swimming pool with glass floors as the roof. Voila, be your own Blofeld! Producers take note, this would be ultra-cool to see on film.

    img_3_1435757352_ce52121403726ffd8501e35137ebd41d.jpg

    img_6_1435757352_c95d9c76582675fc0ab5fb9769c8c121.jpg

    img_7_1435757352_adab704b542e790ba391758c48276092.jpg

    casa-brutale-opa-works-9.jpg

    casa-brutale-opa-works-10.jpg

    Does this actually exist someplace?

    Nvm, found some documentation on it. It's planned to be built near Beirut, Lebenon (Faqra Mountain). Totally would fit in the Bond world. http://aasarchitecture.com/2016/03/begins-construction-of-casa-brutale-the-cliff-house-by-opa.html
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    Long way to go for just a swim. But definitely striking looking.
  • Posts: 4,690
    For all the issues people might have with Diamonds Are Forever, there's some fantastic work by Ken Adam in this one. Always loved this set.

    tumblr_maeokw174F1rw9l47o1_1280.jpg
    PENTHOUSE%2BA.JPG
    004-diamonds-are-forever-theredlist.jpg
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    I agree, @Torgeirtrap. Adam wasn't tossed the budget of a movie like YOLT, but he still made it work just as he did with the small budget on DN. The mark of a true craftsman and visionary. The story of how he scored the penthouse for the production that becomes Whyte's home in the hills is a great tale from Bond's legendary cinematic past, something stranger than fiction. It was a crazy production, with a lot of wildness going on, not least of which was Cubby having a dream of Howard Hughes being overtaken by an imposter, a nightmare which kicked off the creation of the film's plot.
  • Posts: 4,690
    I agree, @Torgeirtrap. Adam wasn't tossed the budget of a movie like YOLT, but he still made it work just as he did with the small budget on DN. The mark of a true craftsman and visionary. The story of how he scored the penthouse for the production that becomes Whyte's home in the hills is a great tale from Bond's legendary cinematic past, something stranger than fiction. It was a crazy production, with a lot of wildness going on, not least of which was Cubby having a dream of Howard Hughes being overtaken by an imposter, a nightmare which kicked off the creation of the film's plot.

    The DAF production is worthy a book alone! Haven't actually heard about how they (Adam) scored the penthouse for the production. How did they get it?
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    edited April 3 Posts: 28,232
    @Torgeirtrap, a while back I did a comprehensive review of DAF and in my research I did a lot of digging into the crazy production of the film to go along with my thoughts. Here is that story about Adam and the Whyte house building that I read into, excerpted from the review (I invite you to read more into the story of the Elrod House, as it's very fascinating how it became a part of Bond history):

    "The Elrod House, a design by architect John Lautner, is where the fight between Bond, Bambi and Thumper is staged as 007 attempts to rescue Whyte from his own home. For uninitiated Bond fans, the space feels exactly like a Ken Adam set. It has an elemental feel and uses earthy materials in its construction, with a minimalist style when it comes to spacing to accentuate a feeling of wideness and a wonderful ceiling with an unconventional design that makes it look like an alien spaceship has crash landed on top of a rich man’s villa.

    Adam noted that the design of the Elrod House seemed like something right out of his own imagination, with its floor made entirely of natural rock, a large vaulted ceiling and a mix of natural material and manmade design elements. These design choices weren’t just stylish looking, however: they had function. The vaulted ceiling was positioned to shield the inside of the space from the rays of the hot desert sun and the giant rocks Thumper is seen resting on in the movie were real rocks that were removed from the ground as the construction of the home began and Lautner’s contractor uncovered them as the digging of the earth progressed. Because of this, the space co-exists with the nature that birthed its materials.

    While he was scouting for locations to shoot Diamonds Are Forever around, Adam was joined by Sidney Korshak, a Los Angeles lawyer who had a reputation for being able to make any deal come through even in the toughest of negotiations. Korshak was able to exert his influence around California, getting EON permissions to shoot at all sorts of locations, including the Elrod House, after he was able to persuade the right people to give carte blanche to Adam, who was allowed to see any house that caught his eye. Originally, the owner of the Elrod House wasn’t willing to allow EON to film there, but once Adam called Cubby and Cubby called Sidney, it took just thirty minutes on the phone for the man to give his full permission. It’s like something out of a Bond film."


    I think the big factor that demanded less sets from Adam during DAF's production was the hefty check going to Connery, whose participation used up so much budget money that cuts had to be made elsewhere to make up for it. We can see this in the effects, but I'm sure Cubby and the other overseers also had tight control over the money for the production design after seeing how expensive Adam's work was for the last movie he worked on. DAF then feels perhaps the least Adam-like of any Bond movie he led the set design on, but I still find his part in it fascinating and positive.
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