With the Oscars on Sunday, we thought this would be a good day for a blog about art direction for films. Now, we will be honest and say we know nothing about film making or the process when it comes to doing set design, but we do know how important this is to the overall feel of a film. It sets the stage, so to speak. This years nominees are for The Artist, Harry Potter, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, and War Horse. Below are pictures of each film and the tone the production designer and set decorator intended to set.
Laurence Bennet (Production Design), Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
This is a take on the silent film era, so the set needed to have a 20s flair. A strong Art Deco influence is apparent in the sets for the film, making it very authentic and real. It’s hard to believe this movie was made in 2011. Robert Gould was interviewed regarding the set decoration in the New York Times recently which explains more about this whole process – you can read the article here. His budget was only $305,000! For the entire movie!
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2
Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephanie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Stuart Craig has been with the Harry Potter series since the first movie adaptation which is why the films all have the same tone. This is rare for a series and probably partly added to the success of the whole franchise – the continuity maintained throughout all eight movies allowed fans to really bond with the sets. If you have more interest in the design for this movie, another very interesting Q & A between Craig and the New York Times can be found here. The goal for these sets was to capture a contemporary time in a non-traditional world (wizardry and witchcraft). Architectural Digest featured the sets along with an article found here. The following are some images from that article.
Dante Ferretti (Production Design), Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
The goal for this film set in 1930s Paris was to combine both period and fantasy, something that apparently is very difficult to achieve and remain believable. The two professionals who worked on this film are a husband and wife team and previously won an Oscar for another Martin Scorcese film, The Aviator. You can read an interview Dante did with the New York Times regarding his designs here. We didn’t see this movie, but from what I have read it seems to be a shoe-in for this category (and the sets for The Aviator were pretty spectacular, if I remember correctly). Take a look and see what you think.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Ann Seibel (Production Design), Helene Dubreuil (Set Decoration)
One of our favorite movies last year, this Woody Allen feature is set in both modern day AND 1920s “Golden Age” Paris. The differences, while subtle, allow for the believable transition at midnight in the taxi (if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry). We loved the art direction in this movie. Woody Allen has such a way with choosing the right actors, production staff and setting to make a movie feel exactly the way it should. He certainly is amazing at capturing upper-crust eccentricity with the help of talented Ann Seibel – the taxidermy wedding scene?? Amazing! An article about Ann Seibel where she describes her process (and shares her inspiration boards for some of the sets) can be found here.
Rick Carter (Production Design), Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)
It wouldn’t be an Oscars without an epic Steven Speilberg movie, so of course this film is nominated. Admittedly, I have only seen the previews – I didn’t think I could handle watching horses in a World War I movie after tearing up at only a two minute glimpse, but the art direction looked amazing! The film is set in World War I era England and the various battlefields in Europe. Trenches were obviously an important aspect, as well as the quiet English countryside. On an interesting side note – War Horse was adapted from a play of the same name that utilized full sized puppets as the horses. A slideshow of photos from the play can be seen here.
Who do you think will win? Our money is on The Artist. The whole movie had a fantastically authentic vibe. A close second is Midnight in Paris. We will know on Sunday – enjoy the Oscars and cheers!
Trolling our favorite blogs everyday is something we look forward to – whether it’s via subscription and shows up in our inbox, or via a bookmark, they hardly ever disappoint. Now that we are blogging, we thought you might be interested in the blogs we subscribe to for inspiration and ideas to add to our memory banks for entertaining, travel, fashion advice and interiors. Click on the title to go to each of their respective blogs. The following is a list of our greatest hits in the blogging world (in no particular order).
Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle newsletter – it has gotten a lot of criticism, but we love it. Her tips on travel to Nashville helped out a lot with a bachelorette party I went to a few years ago. Ever since then, I’m a GOOP devotee.
A non-professional with great taste. She goes to amazing design events in the Los Angeles area, too, so those posts alone are worth subscribing. “Coco” has managed to turn her blogging into a growing textile company. Recently she had a booth at the New York Gift Show – for all intents and purposes, she’s made it in the industry!
Joanie from Cote de Texas is one of the most successful design bloggers out there. Her posts are very thorough and image heavy which is enviable – we wish we had that kind of time to devote to our blog. Check this out if you like a washed out traditional French/Swedish look.
Roost documents Caitlin’s foray into adapting to her husband’s very specific dietary needs. Her recipes are great, but what keeps us coming back are the photographs! She has a beautiful style that is very soothing and serene – much like her.
Heather Clawson is a New Yorker who loves all things chic, be it travel, interiors or fashion. She gets the opportunity to photograph many wonderful interiors and posts them on her blog, which sets her apart from other shelter bloggers. She has actually interacted with the spaces she blogs about, so her posts are especially informative.
If you have seen the book Patina Style, you are sure to love the Velvet & Linen blog since they are authors of both! Brooke and Steve Giannetti feature projects they are working on, events they attend, and products they come across on their blog. It is enjoyable and stays very true to their style.
A fashion blog with a great mix of higher and lower end lines, this girl is amazing at translating trends. The photography is always fun and she doesn’t take herself too seriously, something fashion bloggers tend to do.
Dana is a mid-west interior designer who documents her design process on her blog. It’s fun to look at and see what the trends are in another part of the country.
Watson-Kennedy’s blog, curated by proprietor, Ted, is a great way to stay informed about what is new and happening at his Seattle shops. He is so good at what he does, and his blog is indicative of that, too.
A seattle blog about gardening, her tagline says it all: “Ramblings of a waterlogged Seattle area gardener and wannabe urban farmer.”
Do you have any to add to our list??? Let us know in the comments section…
In honor of colorful Fat Tuesday, I thought I would compile a post of pictures of interiors to brighten up our grey Seattle day. In 1892, Rex, the King of Carnival, selected and gave meaning to the Mardi Gras colors – purple stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Below are some great interiors using those three colors, either individually or combined…
Now how do you interpret this into your own space???? Fresh flowers are a great way to introduce these three colors. They work surprisingly well together – here are the ingredients for a fabulous Mardi Gras colored arrangement.
Start with purple and green kale:
Then add in purple hydrangea:
Tuck in a few David Austin Graham Thomas roses – they need to be fully open to work with the scale of the other pieces of the arrangement.
Add a silver accent to tie it all together with Lambsear. Most gardens in the Northwest have this planted as a perennial filler around the edge – it works beautifully in arrangements, too.
Next time we have an opportunity (and the season is right), we will complete this arrangement step-by-step for a future blog. We hope these colorful rooms distracted you today from those grey skies outside!
The last blog in the garden series this week features the work of David Pfeiffer, our favorite Northwest landscape designer – in fact he is our favorite in the entire country. With a real dedication to his craft, he treats an outdoor area the same way an architect or interior designer treats a house. This is what makes his gardens truly unique and magnificent. They are suited for each individual site and homeowner. With many accolades, David Pfeiffer is much sought after, completing projects for well known architects and clients. Below are some of our favorites.
The following few images are for a project he did with David Smith on Vashon Island. It’s very zen – you can find the rest of the article here.
This house is located in Vuecrest – I’m sure some of you will recognize the garden.
Another landscape he did in the area – this time in Medina.
A project in Santa Barbara.
And another garden in Vashon – I think this is our favorite. Of course the house is so charming, too.
There is even a horse!
A few more great images.
I didn’t know this until I looked at his entire portfolio on his website – he designed the entrance to Canlis.
His gardens have such a magical quality about them, it was a real pleasure compiling the images. As I was looking through them, I noticed how well his gardens photograph. That in itself is an accomplishment – they wouldn’t photograph so well if they didn’t have the same level of depth of colors, different shades of green, and varying textures.
The garden theme this week continues with the Highgrove Gardens in England. Over 30 years ago, Prince Charles bought the Highgrove estate. It didn’t have any gardens to speak of and who would have thought he would have the vision to decide to go the organic route? It has become one of his best accomplishments as he is deeply passionate about sustainable agriculture and gardening. Every year, Prince Charles chooses a garden to evolve – recently he created the Walled Kitchen Garden for the chefs to use at the cafe open to the public on the property.
No pictures are allowed on the tours and very few have been released to the public, so I searched and searched and found what I could online! A lot of them are from the Highgrove Gardens website. Click on the images and it will take you to the source where more information or pictures are available to view. Also, the videos at the end of the post provide the best way to see the gardens.
This map will help orient you to the direction the image is taken from – for instance the next picture was taken from the second story of the house facing out towards the center of the map.
These paths seem like they are part of the newer Arboretum (one of the areas he has evolved, like the kitchen garden).
This is the famous Meadow in the front part of the property. The conservation of flora and fauna in this area alone is commendable; over 32 different varieties of endangered native plants.
It’s much less formal than most people would expect; it could even be described as a wild English garden! Recently Alan Titchmarsh went to Highgrove for a tour of the gardens with Prince Charles. Below are the four parts – it’s only an hour long and really conveys the passion Prince Charles has for this cause and his gardens. Enjoy!
We are continuing our garden theme this week – today is Julianne Moore’s garden behind her brownstone in New York, recently shown on Architectural Digest’s website. Designer Brian Sawyer from the architecture and landscape firm Sawyer/Berson gave Julianne and her family an amazing outdoor space. It’s hard to believe it’s in Manhattan, but it still has a distinctly English vibe in an urban context. Everything about it is perfect. Below are the pictures and our comments….
The lovely Julianne in eggplant pants, but what is really fabulous is the stacked flagstone wall. They were smart in making it seat height and depth – when entertaining, it adds an additional “perch” for party guests.
Round boxwoods in varying sizes anchor the raised beds. This is a great alternative use of boxwood instead of the usual trimmed hedge.
Varying shades of green give the whole space a relaxing and peaceful feel. If there were bright colors added, it would not have the same effect.
The look is repeated throughout, even in the containers of boxwood with moss. Succulents in stone troughs add texture without adding a lot of color. What we love most about this image are the rocks stacked on the end of the wall. A very sculptural end result.
The only color is a purple potato vine at the bottom of the steps. My dream come true is a house with black windows and trim – steel would be amazing, but I could settle for painted. This house was in Domino in 2009. Below is a picture of the outside before the redesign. What an improvement!
A link to see the rest of the house: Casa Sugar.
The smooth rocks and rough texture of the trough-turned-fountain compliment each other perfectly. Without the other, they would come off as sort of cliched.
How do they keep those stag horns alive in the winter??? That said, in the winter they would be so lucky that the garden remains green. Very Northwest of them.
Not much needs to be said about the art installation. A tree house made out of branches – it couldn’t be a better application.
all photography by Christopher Baker for Architectural Digest
Sunday found us at the Garden Show – what an event! I had never been, so as a first timer I couldn’t get over the magnitude of the show gardens. The whole time I tried to figure out how they bring everything in, how long it takes to set up, etc. My questions were answered by watching this time lapsed video from 2009 showing the 12 days of set up, show and take down. It’s long, but very relaxing!
We started out with the show gardens and then strolled through the vendors. Patti and I found some great things to buy for the shop (somehow we always find a way to turn a day off into work), including an old carved elephant sculpture that we are going to turn into a lamp. But first, let’s start with the gardens…
The Arboretum’s garden was a big winner – it deserved the awards. Really wild and very Northwest…
This garden was very neat and tidy, something we both really liked. And the faux bois bench was amazing. Unfortunately the guy who made it just moved to California – darn!
The garden with the tulips and the path behind the “hill” reminded me a lot of the woods around Bunny Williams’s house in Connecticut – she has paths that wind around a little area of woods on her property. She doesn’t have a curly leaf maple like this though!
These fountains were made out of old milk jugs:
My paparazzi picture of one of the garden creators – she was taking a moment before the show really got into full swing. We were dying of laughter, so I had to get it on film. They’re garden was very whimsical with a Moroccan theme.
Patti wants a shed similar to this one in her back yard.
This big root was incredible! It was the backdrop for one of our favorite gardens – very Northwest and simple. I could imagine it being on one of the islands.
I love how the water feature looks like a tide pool.
In the vendor areas we definitely found some inspiration. This spring we are going to figure out how to make succulent wall hangings – look for a class where we will teach you, too!
Anyone up for an urban chicken coop? Patti is dying for one!
All in all, I would say it was an enjoyable day! I would definitely love to go back next year to see what the landscape artists come up with. If you went, what was your favorite garden and why?