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Designs on Film

A Century of Hollywood Art Direction

Designs on Film by Cathy Whitlock
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Who can forget the over-the-top, white-on-white, high-gloss interiors through which Fred Astaire danced in Top Hat? The modernist high-rise architecture, inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, in the adaptation of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead? The lavish, opulent drawing rooms of Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence? Through the use of film design—called both art direction and production design in the film industry—movies can transport us to new worlds of luxury, highlight the ornament of the everyday, offer a vision of the future, or evoke the realities of a distant era. In Designs on Film, journalist and interior designer Cathy Whitlock illuminates the often undercelebrated role of the production designer in the creation of the most memorable moments in film history. Through a lush collection of rare archival photographs, Whitlock narrates the evolving story of art direction over the course of a century—from the massive Roman architecture of Ben-Hur to the infamous Dakota apartment in Rosemary's Baby to the digital CGI wonders of Avatar's Pandora.

Drawing on insights from the most prominent Hollywood production designers and the historical knowledge of the venerable Art Directors Guild, Whitlock delves into the detailed process of how sets are imagined, drawn, built, and decorated. Designs on Film is the must-have look book for film lovers, movie buffs, and anyone looking to draw interior design inspiration from the constructions and confections of Hollywood. Whitlock lifts the curtain on movie magic and celebrates the many ways in which art direction and set design allow us to lose ourselves in the diverse worlds showcased on the big screen.

HarperCollins; February 2013
400 pages; ISBN 9780062241603
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Title: Designs on Film
Author: Cathy Whitlock
  • News
An Author's Time Travel - Huffington Post
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:58:54 -0700
Huffington PostAn Author's Time TravelHuffington PostAn homage to the days of the author's hometown of Hollywood long ...
Art Direction: Designs on Film - New Yorker (blog)
Fri, 25 Feb 2011 09:02:51 -0800
Art Direction: Designs on FilmNew Yorker (blog)“Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction,” by Cathy Whitlock and ...
Don't Stress the Mess - Huffington Post
Thu, 16 Jan 2014 01:22:30 -0800
Don't Stress the MessHuffington PostShe is the author of Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction (Harper ...