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Designs on Film by Cathy Whitlock

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Newly released by Harper Collins, Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywod Art Direction is a compendium of images celebrating iconic interiors and architecture. Interior designer and historial Cathy Whitlock worked with the Art Directors Guild and sifted through decades of archival photographs to assemble this rare glimpse into the world of Hollywood art direction and set design. In this slideshow, she shares a few images from the book.

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  Our Dancing Daughters, 1926, was one of the first films to begin showcasing the new Art Deco style, an aesthetic rooted in symmetrical geometric patterns that came to define the glamorous life of the American elite. From the book: "[MGM's Art Director] Cedric Gibbons' sets, with their high-gloss floors, chrome surfaces, and sleek furnishings, took an emerging design style and created a national trend."
    Our Dancing Daughters, 1926, was one of the first films to begin showcasing the new Art Deco style, an aesthetic rooted in symmetrical geometric patterns that came to define the glamorous life of the American elite. From the book: "[MGM's Art Director] Cedric Gibbons' sets, with their high-gloss floors, chrome surfaces, and sleek furnishings, took an emerging design style and created a national trend."
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  Another still from Our Dancing Daughters features long, vertical wall panels and a table in the foreground topped by Formica (a material, along with Bakelite and Vitrolite, that would characterize the Art Deco style).
    Another still from Our Dancing Daughters features long, vertical wall panels and a table in the foreground topped by Formica (a material, along with Bakelite and Vitrolite, that would characterize the Art Deco style).
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  Another Cedric GIbbons set, The Single Standard (1929). Gibbons banished all painted backdrops from his sets, insisting on constructed backgrounds. Eventually the Art Deco aesthetic would morph into Streamline Moderne, a style that incorporated both curved and linear forms, with white as the primary color.
    Another Cedric GIbbons set, The Single Standard (1929). Gibbons banished all painted backdrops from his sets, insisting on constructed backgrounds. Eventually the Art Deco aesthetic would morph into Streamline Moderne, a style that incorporated both curved and linear forms, with white as the primary color.
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  Jean Harlow, with her signature platinum hair, fit right into the all-white set design of the 1938 film Dinner At Eight. From the book: "[Streamlined Moderne] would not have been feasible if it had not been for the development of incandescent lighting, which gave a crisp (if not blinding) look to the sets."
    Jean Harlow, with her signature platinum hair, fit right into the all-white set design of the 1938 film Dinner At Eight. From the book: "[Streamlined Moderne] would not have been feasible if it had not been for the development of incandescent lighting, which gave a crisp (if not blinding) look to the sets."
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  A matte painting by Matthew Yuricich of the Vandamm house featured in North by Northwest (1955). Production designer Robert Boyle was heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.
    A matte painting by Matthew Yuricich of the Vandamm house featured in North by Northwest (1955). Production designer Robert Boyle was heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.
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  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), with sets created by production designers Harry Lange, Ernest Archer, and Anthony Masters, reflect the contemporary design trends of the 1960s. In this shot, we see Louis XVI works contrasting with nonlinear pieces that nod to Eero Saarinen. From the book: "[The film] represents Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of space and infinity...his symbolic monolith passageway links the primeval, futurist, and mystical sections of the film."  Courtesy of: MGM/Photofest
    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), with sets created by production designers Harry Lange, Ernest Archer, and Anthony Masters, reflect the contemporary design trends of the 1960s. In this shot, we see Louis XVI works contrasting with nonlinear pieces that nod to Eero Saarinen. From the book: "[The film] represents Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of space and infinity...his symbolic monolith passageway links the primeval, futurist, and mystical sections of the film."

    Courtesy of: MGM/Photofest

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  In the 1997 film L.A. Confidential, production designer Jeannine Oppewall selected a 1929 Richard Neutra–designed residence in Los Feliz as Pierce Patchett's home. She and set decorator Jay Hart were nominated for an Academy Award for their work. Available now: Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywod Art Direction
    In the 1997 film L.A. Confidential, production designer Jeannine Oppewall selected a 1929 Richard Neutra–designed residence in Los Feliz as Pierce Patchett's home. She and set decorator Jay Hart were nominated for an Academy Award for their work. Available now: Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywod Art Direction

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