A First-Class Ticket to The Orient Express Set Design

As you know I hate spoilers so I’m going to strictly talk about the brilliant set design without mentioning anything else about the movie (which by the way is A MUST SEE!)

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Director Kenneth Branagh and production designer Jim Clay have recreated the iconic  Orient Express to match the grand history of the railroad and Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery.

The Orient Express was a high-class long-distance passenger train established in 1833; its most famous route connected Paris to Istanbul. To prepare for the movie, Director Kenneth Branagh along with everyone involved in the movie took a trip on the Orient-Express, from Paris to Venice because it still uses its original vintage train cars until today. This was a great experience for all of them. They managed to look at and take notes of every detail on the train and made notes of all the surrounding scenery.

 

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Jim Clay also started his designing process by studying the 1974 film and early on decided that the new version needed a more modern look — “a more current style of shooting,” as he puts it.

By “a more current style” he did not mean to make it feel modern but rather a modern aesthetic that we have today! He meant cleaner lines so nothing ornate, and no Victorian furniture, with floral patterns in them!. He went towards art deco and lines that were more geometric rather than floral and this way he made sure that the backgrounds were still opulent and rich but not distracting.

 “The idea was to try and give people a sort of sensual, sensory kind of experience of what all that wood feels like, all that marquetry, the crispness of the line, the degree to which they work out the precision of which cutlery is laid out, which was all done with little tape measures and things,” Branagh said in an interview.

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Overall, Clay and Branagh succeeded brilliantly in giving the Orient Express the opulence for which it was known for. Just look at the first-class accommodation in the photo above,  it looks like a luxurious hotel lounge which was grand yet comfortable!

 

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Nocturnal Animals: Part 2 The Movie Set

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Set designer Shane Valentino along with the movie director Tom Ford chose a stunning Malibu house designed by Scott Mitchell. The house was used as the home of Susan and her husband, Hutton. “One of the directives we had in terms of Susan’s world was that it wanted to feel very hard and cold,” he says. “A good way to do that is to look for lots of glass, concrete, or hard materials.”

Art was also a major component to the design of Susan’s home. Valentino used a mix of modern and contemporary art throughout the house.

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Valentino reworked the interior design of the house to include darker furnishings which you can see in the 2 pictures above.“A lot of it is almost a mirror of some sort of Tom’s life and his world that he lives in,” he says. “The chaise lounge, the settees, and the armchairs that are there are part of his aesthetic. We went to a lot of high-end design places like JF Chen to find particular pieces.” Below I’ve put 2 pictures of the original house before the changes were temporarily made for the movie! It has the complete opposite ambiance of the dark and mysterious movie set… here the house is light and airy which is beautiful but somehow I’m in love with the changes made by Valentino!

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Anyways back to the set design

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I love this photograph from Richard Misrach’s Desert Cantos series that was hung in the entryway. It’s  from Tom Ford’s private collection. Not sure if I would use or put this photograph in a home, but  I think that this particular movie it was a brilliant choice by Valentino, especially with Susan’s hair colour against it! And most importantly I feel that landscape was the perfect hint for us of what was expected to come in the movie….  and sort of set the mood for us!

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Another art piece that caught my eye was that beautiful painting by Mark Bradford that hangs above Susan’s bed. I haven’t seen his work in person before but after I saw this I put him on my lists of artists to check out!… I just love it… In fact, I love everything in this room… Everything chosen complements each other without feeling matchy …like how the black marble table top complements the painting…. I love how all the wood walls complement the black and white in the room… I could go on and on about this room but I’ll stop and instead share a picture of the original bedroom just in case you were wondering about it!.

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So what do you think?  Which house do you prefer?  The dark and mysterious one? Or the bright and airy one?