Box Office Decor: Taking Design Cues from the Cinema


Box Office Decor: Taking Design Cues from the Cinema


The first time I saw A Clockwork Orange (at 13), I was way too young: too young for the content, too young to understand the themes, or even the intricacies of the plot, and too young to recognize it as fine piece of filmmaking (with a remarkable Moog soundtrack). In fact, the only thing I could really appreciate was the insane postmodern interiors of the set décor...From the Korova Milk Bar to the internal shots of the homes to the wildly psychedelic record store, the extreme wall treatments have always stuck with me as much as the social commentary on sex and violence.


I don’t know if I became "conditioned" to being attracted to décor and design inspiration from films (Ludovico?!), but I find the cinema to be a terrific resource. With the budgets and talent available (and the willingness of others to let crews rent their amazing spaces for their 15 minutes of fame), sets from the movies can go nearly anywhere they please.

I can name, off the top of my head, at least five significant design decisions that I can relate to something I saw in a movie…as I type this, I'm gazing upon a plant shelf that I painted to match a wall treatment from the mid-90’s indie fave, Living in Oblivion. (I’m still looking for the perfect place for my Barbarella-style shag room and opium den, and I long for the woodland bathroom from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.)

So, which films do you find most inspiring? Have you ever modeled a room, or chosen furniture or a paint color based on something from the cinema? Do you think well-dressed sets look better than most catalog photos?

Matt Maranian suggests the following films for inspiration:

Bachelor in Paradise (1961),  Black Lizard (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Mummy (1932), Murderer’s Row (1966), Our Man Flint (1966), The Party (1968), Barbarella (1968), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers (1968), Harper (1967), In Like Flint (1967), Pepper (1973), Sleeper (1973), The Stepford Wives (1975), Suspiria (1977), Sweet Charity (1968).

(From Maranian, Matt. Pad: The Guide To Ultra-Living. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.)


Tagged: , , , , , ,