What Matters

March 2022 Issue

What do interior designers and filmmakers have in common?

On Sunday, March 27 at 8pm ET, the 94th Academy Awards will be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The nominees may be found here. Among the prestigious categories is the one for best cinematography. Cinematography includes lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens choices, depth of field, zoom, focus, color, exposure, and filtration. Interior designers can feel like cinematographers as we explore and design the framing, layers, composition, lighting, color, and texture of a space. When we say “action” we’re imagining how people will interact with the space. Will they stop and sit? Walk through? Relax? Read? Cook? Shower? Work? In the end, we don’t walk the red carpet, but we do prepare for our project’s close up!

We’re Duned

Director of Photography (DP) Greig Fraser worked with film director Denis Villeneuve to create the wide, sweeping shots of the planet Arrakis while focusing on the main characters and action in nearly every scene. He does something unusual in melding analog with digital film to produce an emulsion that is incredibly dynamic and stunning especially in IMAX. The power and process are discussed here.

What We Do in the Shadows

DP Dan Laustsen worked with director Guillermo del Toro to realize his vision for Nightmare Alley. Laustsen used light and shadow with influences from American realist painters like Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton to dive deeply into the darkness of the film’s main character.  The result is an homage to historical film noir.

All Riot on the Western Front

Only the second female director of photography ever to be nominated for an Oscar, Ari Wegner worked with film director Jane Campion on The Power of the Dog

(we also have to plug Wegner’s work on Zola this year). The visuals are real, gorgeous, unsettling, and ominous even in the many quiet moments of the film. The connections between man and nature are established early with the bigness of the landscape highlighted. This is our favorite film of the year and we strongly encourage seeing it on the largest screen possible to appreciate the beauty, sensuality, vulnerability, and dynamism.

Rhythm and Blues

DP Bruno Delbonnel worked with Joel Coen to visually realize The Tragedy of Macbeth.  Interestingly, it was shot in color and then converted to black and white in post-production in order to take advantage of blue to expand the gray scale – a technical attribute explained in this article. Delbonnel explains, “This movie is about rhythm. It’s about the light being a rhythm inside the rhythm of the language, and the rhythm of the way the actors walk across the set, and there’s the rhythm of the sound design and music. It’s a rhythm inside a rhythm inside a rhythm.”

Jerome, Stephen, Leonard, and Steven

DP Janusz Kaminski has been collaborating with Steven Spielberg for decades and continued their partnership on the 2021 remake of West Side Story. Originally choreographed by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story was adapted from the 1957 Broadway musical into a 1961 film influenced by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Kaminski used color, light, and shadow to tell this dynamic, musical story.  It was particularly challenging to light the big dance scenes on location in New York at different times of the day over the period of a few months. “That’s the job of a cinematographer,” Kaminski asserted, “maintaining the visual coherency and consistency from one day to another night.”

On the Boards

On the boards this week is one of our current projects; our design team just finalized the design for this beautiful shelving system from Atlas Industries for the client’s study. Clad in natural walnut and architectural bronze, this custom workspace has been tailor-made to fit our client’s needs. Our designers work directly with workrooms from start to finish, making sure no detail is missed. See below for some of our drawings from this process, and how we fine-tuned the design from early concept sketches to the final render.