Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory (2019)

Anyone who is a fan of Pedro Almodóvar knows that his set displays are a feast for the eyes. His Pain and Glory is a movie about a prolific Spanish film director (played by Antonio Banderas) suffering from chronic back pain and depression, contemplating his retirement from his one great love - filmmaking. Brought to life by Antxón Gómez (Almodóvar’s long time trusted production designer), the interiors have as big a personality as any character in the movie. 

This movie is mostly set in an apartment in Madrid which is in fact a near replica of Almodóvar’s own residence. Brilliantly coloured designs include the red and turquoise kitchen, Fornasetti butterfly cabinet, award winning Magistretti lamp, iconic Utrecht chairs and the playful Patricia Urquiloa Fjord H dining chairs accompanied with Hermes delph, to name but a few. 

70’s inspired

Almodóvar went as far as donating his own furniture and accessories to the set. “If there was an empty corner on set, the art director sent his assistant around to my house to find an object with which to fill it,” the director recounts. As to why Almodóvar is so interested in interior design, Gómez says he believes that “it is because of the influence of classic Hollywood cinema, in which the universes where things happen are important. His movies seek to recall and re-create sets from the golden age of Hollywood.”

Tom Ford, Single Man (2009)

Known for his impeccable style and eye for detail, fashion icon Tom Ford made his directorial debut with Single Man. In it he collaborated with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, and from an interior perspective the Mad Men design production team of Dan Bishop and Amy Wells. The film uses the interiors of the lead characters’ houses to showcase a contrast between opulence and neutrals. 

Charly's Room

Set in the 1960s the production team must have had a lot of fun designing the two different houses. Charley’s (Julianne Moore) house is in ultra feminine Hollywood regency style. Think pink and plush, lots of opulence and comfort with a hint of Moroccan design mixed in. There is even a flokati (think shaggy rug) upholstered chair. Meanwhile George’s (Colin Firth) house is devoid of colour, based on a scheme of neutrals and wood finishes. Ford used a house designed by one of America’s leading modernist architects John Lautner. 

The two houses, like the characters, have huge personalities and help audiences connect with the central characters in the movie. In an interview Ford humbly said his one criticism is that it was too beautiful!

Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby (2013)

This movie is a shoe in when contemplating great interiors on celluloid, The Great Gatsby by genius Baz Luhrmann. This was a movie that aimed to show how sumptuous and privileged the Gatsby life was. Catherine Luhrmann (Baz’s wife) was the set director and in her own words “Baz had no overt desire to modernise The Great Gatsby. Rather, he wanted modern audiences to understand how modern the Gatsby world felt to its protagonists at the time. He didn’t want it to be seen through a nostalgic lens. Instead we tried to capture that frenzy of movement and drive to the future.” 

My clients consistently refer to The Great Gatsby interiors. Savvy customers are always looking for a touch of the art deco look, be it in a slick geometric pattern, or a vintage chandelier, or clean, streamlined furniture set off with a touch of gloss or mirror. Luhrmann shows that Modern Art Deco isn’t about traditionalism, it’s about taking glamour into a contemporary style that echoes the vintage look, yet breathes a new life into interiors.

Is this from the Bellevue project? Love it. It’s perfect.

Wes Anderson, The Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Budapest Hotel has been described by the Financial Times as the decade’s most influential hotel... even though it doesn’t actually exist. As a result of his creation Wes Anderson has become an unintentional icon of interior design. Check out the popular instagram account Accidentally Wes Anderson, it contains images of places or scenes that could be from an Anderson movie. 

In The Budapest Hotel he’s playful with his design and looks at interior spaces differently. It almost has a dreamlike quality. Anderson’s movie has been described as kitsch, retro, art deco and eccentric. When you watch the movie ask yourself: Was he the instigator of the recent popularity of millennial pinks and rose gold? 

If you’re aching for a getaway (aren’t we all?!) there are real life hotels with similar styles: the Ned in London with its massive scale and private member’s bar, The Beekman in New York with its nine storey atrium in Victorian style, and The Pulitzer in Amsterdam with its themed rooms. I can confirm that these are all on my wish list. 

CTO Mezzo

And I love the above with flamingo statues for The Grand Budapest

Other movies I’m planning on watching for some interior eye candy are The Graduate (think 60s sleek and elegant Californian interior), 2001: A space Odyssey (some more cool and funky 60s inspired interiors), and finally the more recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to see how Tarantino recreates the 1960s look in Sharon Tate’s house. 

Great stories, complex characters, and fabulous interiors, enjoy!


Julianne Kelly

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