art & design, costume design, filmmaking, interior design, movies, musings, set design

60s love on the x-men

i was excited when teaser clips of this film were circulated.  what’s not to love? a younger batch of x-men in the 60s? it’s like porn. and rightly so, with the magnetic chemistry and undeniable bromance between professor charles x xavier and erik lehnsherr, played by james mcavoy and michael fassbender.

this may be the best x-men film out there for me. the pacing was right and fassbenber’s performance is just killer. he owned the film actually.  online reviews reflect a more mixed feedback but im all for this film. weak link was probably january jones, playing the white queen, because she doesnt seem to know how to act.  she always had this blank stare and looked like she’s eternally bored and it’s not a very convincing bored look in the first place!


but the biggest selling point for me with this film is the 60s look. i thought it was an obvious route for director matthew vaughn to take this movie to that era because he also did the 60s advertising tv series, mad men.  i apparently have mistaken him for matthew weiner haha.  vaughn, a totally different guy, produced lock stock and two smoking barrels with director guy ritchie (ex-mr.madonna) before he went on to direct stardust and kick-ass, among others.

credit for the gorgeous set design go to the production designer chris seagers and his team of art directors led by john king and dawn swiderski plus set decoration by erin boyd and sonja klaus. costume design is by sammy sheldon. i just love anything 60s-70s.  they’re so much fun to look at and do.  full info at  i do not take credit for the photos below.  details on the photos were taken from architectural digest.  im just a fan  🙂


more after the jump.


this is englefeld house in london, which served as the x-mansion and home of professor charles x xavier


this was in an existing room in the mansion, furnished with additional books and other furniture pieces.


this set was built at pinewood studios in england.  the soundstage was built in 1976 for james bond’s the spy who loved me film.  from the photos posted in architectural digest, it was noted this bedroom’s walls were painted with a red base coat and finished with the emerald top coat to create tonal depth on screen. this are painting techniques i should have learned in art school.  would have helped me a lot with my painting for the set i did in erik matti’s aswang (just finished shooting).


this kremlin war room is shot on location at the australia house, a 1918 london landmark.  the design team added “simple, architecturally noninvasive touches” like the rounded conference desk and that map, a free-standing installation.  ahlovet!


this was also shot on location at farnborough airport (which used to be a british aviation research center). that plane installed is made of foam (!) to avoid damaging the existing structure.  nicholas hoult plays beast and jennifer lawrence is a younger mystique (the mystique in the original trilogy was played by rebecca romijn).


this fireproof set was constructed also at pinewood studios.  with lucas tiil as havok


winner set! i love the 60s wallpaper, decor and even the circular couch.  i found a similar looking coffee table for sale at mandaue foam in ortigas extension!  this submarine room and the other connection sets were built in the studio. sebastian shaw is played by kevin bacon and january jones plays emma frost.


ooh, reel-to-reel tape recorder!  🙂 my grandfather had one of those and recorded computer data on them (!).


this was a mix of real mirror and and CG work to pull-off. you cant have the camera reflecting on the panels.

from the AD article, designer seagers is quoted, “They’re not screaming,” he says of the historic filming locations and artfully constructed interiors. “Rather than becoming their own characters in the film, they create a mood and serve as wallpaper for the actors and the story.”

Here’s the trailer to the film starring James McAvoy​, Michael Fassbender​, Rose Byrne​, Jones, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Jason Flemyng​, Oliver Platt, Morgan Lily, Zoe Kravitz, Bill Bilner.

forgive me if i geek out a bit more.  here are some screencaps of the film. my apologies for the low-res quality, the official dvd and blu-ray copies of the film wont be out until september 2011. please indulge me in drooling over the set pieces.  the couch set looks very eames or parker knoll, 60s danish/german pieces with the boxy build and steel legs.



i remember my mother had similar-patterned drapes with that green decorative wall panel


gorgeous patterned wall!



and a vintage (well at least today) jukebox, in “far-away” blue  😉


i love that whenever michael fassbender appears on screen, the movie felt like real serious film noir similar to the bourne films and the james bond thrillers in the 70s.  his mutant powers didnt seem as outrageous when fassbender threw knives like he did in the bar scene because he made it so realistic. im sold! he’s magneto!


lovely paneling.  check out the lamps and those throw pillows. the long couch also speak much of the era, or perhaps a decade too early.


the US war room.  this design is iconic, originally designed by prod designer ken adam for dr stranglove. nuff said.  you can also see this room in monsters vs. aliens and mars attacks.


i love the furnishings on top of the submarine (or was this a yacht?).  check out the studded spritzer at the back and that dome-shaped lamp! *drool.


i like the piping on the futton mattresses.


yey more mid century furniture at the back. and another lamp.  we have something similar to that lamp  🙂


always loved the look of the hot point 60s refrigerators (i cant read the letters on this unit though). if you happen to be throwing out yours (even if it is not working), id like to have it  🙂

of course my joy for the set pieces didnt take me away from the story of the film.  i still followed the movie and enjoyed it immensely but i had to watch a 2nd time to absorb the background better. haha  another gorgeous movie i should be writing and raving about is tilda swinton’s o sono l’amore ( i am love). although the movie isnt 60-70s but the house practically runs on that aesthetic and well, would need its own blog writeup next time. for now, buy and watch X-Men 1st Class again when the video comes out next month. cheers


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