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Effect of Industrial Revolution on Architecture-Influence of Scandinavian Architects in American styleSlide3.JPG

Industrial Revolution

Diamonds are forever was a novel written by Ian Fleming in 1950s. He was inspired to write the novel after reading about diamond smuggling.The movie was later on released in 1971 it was a  progress period in Architecture. A period that followed the industrial revolution brought innovations in science and technological. Leading to growth in economic expansion, change in living conditions and most importantly a shift in Architecture styles. With the introduction of steel and glass tall tower buildings such as the world trade centers became possible to be built.

With the rapid industrial expansion there is was a high demand of the bigger, and taller architecture. In parallel Mid-Century modern architecture movement was taking place in America reflecting the International and Bauhaus style but with a slightly more organic style and it was less formal than the rigid structure of the International style. Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gropius, and Florence Knoll are some of the Architects that creating Significant designs using this style. In this period Scandinavian architects were very influential. They used simplicity and integrated nature within the building. This style can be seen in the palm spring house designed by John Lautner. The style includes open floor plans that opens up the interior and exterior space bringing the indoor and the outdoor. In addition, the post and beam design element are utilized to eliminate the bulk of walls. Glass is prefered over walls to create the seeming feeling of an open space.

Mid-century modernity & space age



Looking through the iconic buildings in the movie we see influence from different architectural periods. To begin with the Los Angeles International Airport LAX building designed by William Pereira and  Charles Luckman has the characteristics of a space ship design that is popular in pop culture. This design is influenced by the Atomic age designs which appeared during the 1940’s to 1960’s. A period following the detonation of atomic bombs.

The Elrod house was influenced by more than one style including the Modernist Architecture this is apparent in the use of open floor plans, the use of glass and integration of nature. Additionally the slated circular roof has a futuristic design integrating the natural landscape as well.

The set design of Willard whyte’s penthouse by Ken Adams. He was influenced by his superiors Mies Van der Rohe his design philosophy is about not reproducing reality. This is shown through the metallic interiors, High tech gadgets, and fancy furniture.

The Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas was designed by Martin Stern, Jr. Although he is not influenced by any particular style he pioneered that stereotypic glass concrete white building by designing the Hilton Hotel thus setting a trend on the Vegas Strip. He was commissioned to do most of the buildings along the strip post his completion of the hilton hotel. He initially started his career by adopting googie architecture for small scale restaurants.

Architecture- Iconography of buildings and the depiction of space age within the cinematic world



Iconography : “a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings”

In film: “Iconography is an important aspect of genre. We expect to see certain objects on screen when we see a particular genre.

All the locations have very distinct characters which tend to create a sense of realism, tranquility, glamour, romanticism, expressionism, drama, futurism, playfulness and liveliness. This is mostly achieved through shots which meticulously capture exterior and interior scenes of opulent, classical, beautiful and modern designs such as the hotels in Las Vegas, the ‘Whyte House’, Tropicana Hotel, Riviera Hotel and Casino, the ‘Slumber Inc Mortuary’ and the pioneering, modernistic design of Elrod’s house designed by John Lautner, acolyte of Frank Lloyd Wright following the innovative contemporary set of Blofeld’s hideout in Willard Whyte’s palatial penthouse in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

Las Vegas and it’s importance within the movie sets.


Las Vegas, the desert metropolis which thrives on 24-hour gambling, showgirls and casinos without a clock in sight to remind revellers of the world outside. Synonymous with hedonism, this adult playground has grown to attract millions of visitors annually, each bringing with them trillions of dollars to its Nevada location.General Idea of the movie related to Las Vegas in particular, since it was considered one of the most impressive and developed landmarks during an age of complete transformation within a desert like terrain. So, the movie itself presents a complete visual history of the emergence of casino culture and design and its effect on the last built city in the USA.

General Idea of the movie related to Las Vegas in particular, since it was considered one of the most impressive and developed landmarks during an age of complete transformation within a desert like terrain. So, the movie itself presents a complete visual history of the emergence of casino culture and design and its effect on the last built city in the USA. Diamonds are Forever seemingly defines the embodiment of all-American pioneering ideas and attitudes established during the 1960’s a special time full of creative, playful, modernistic, futuristic designs predicated upon the very provocative ideas envisioned by old West creators, promoters dreamers, idea makers and visionaries who made Las Vegas the unique place it is today.

Luxury, Action, Romanticism, Glamour, Drama and Scale of Architecture in film during the 1970’s



Film and architecture are mutually inspirational, and filmmakers often look towards architecture for what it offers. For example, the modern home is commonly depicted by filmmakers as sterile and inhospitable — the perfect setting for all sorts of villains and scoundrels. Even Bond films continue said traditions, featuring extravagant, modern bachelor pads for the villains such as John Lautner’s Elrod house. The Architecture of Villains is an entire book dedicated to the analysis of the Micro Empires within the James Bond Movie Series.

Nevertheless, sex, architecture, and design have a lot to do with each other. Beatriz Colomina an architecture historian from Columbia, shows through her exhibitions how cities, buildings, interiors, furniture, and products have always had an important presence within the iconic films where men were presented as dominant and powerful features and women depicted as symbols of beauty and erotica, where these two coexisted and given (somewhat) an equal weight.

Colomina argues that the interior architecture it showcases has helped to shape American ideas about gender identity and aesthetics. The impact began with the escape from suburban family life in the 1950′s in preparation for the sexual revolution and idealized bachelorhood of the 1960′s. As architectural historian Sigfried Giedion described it, 60′s architecture was “[r]ushing from one sensation to another and rapidly bored.”  Of course, Hefner’s famous mansions play a key role in films, including scenes from the Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever.”

Even the architect often views their work in cinematic terms; Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas are perfect advocates. Tschumi explains, “my reference point (for architecture) is filmmaking — there is no architecture without event, without activity, without function; architecture must be thought of as the combination of spaces, events, and movements, without precedence or hierarchy between these terms.” Both Tschumi and Koolhaas emphasize the importance of montage in architecture, using juxtaposition, movement, and events in order to create a story. Tschumi believes “shock must be manufactured by the architect if architecture is to communicate.”


Set designs and their impact in Diamonds are Forever
Depiction of Adam Bondian’s designs as a form of architecture



“Ken Adam’s fantasies, like the Howard Hughes-inspired penthouse in Diamonds Are Forever or the super tanker interior that engulfed whole Polaris subs in The Who Loved Me, reveals his capacity to create an architecture of heightened reality more persuasive than reality itself.” (Architecture and Film, Mark Lamster, 2000)
“If any genre has confirmed the association between dastardly doings and modern design, it has been the action thriller – in particular the James Bond series. In these films, master criminals bent on world domination inhabit remote, precariously sited modern hideaways – in the early films there were most often sets design by the art director Ken Adam at Pinewood Studios, outside London.” (Architecture and Film, Mark Lamster, 2000)
He also developed a dynamic and humorous signature style—a sort of groovy space-age expressionism— which has been imitated and parodied since the 1960s. A typical Adam set is a vast, open-plan, multi-levelled chamber threaded together by ramps and floating staircases. It contrasts rough-hewn rock with shiny metal surfaces, plus a few scattered antiques, just to show how wealthy and sophisticated its villainous owner is. It has movement, thanks to its video screens, sliding panels, and chairs that sink into the floor to deposit their dead occupants. And, above all else, it has dizzying perspectives and elegant elongations. Mr Adam never saw a circle that he couldn’t stretch into an oval, a right angle that he couldn’t squeeze into a dagger point, a horizontal or vertical line that he couldn’t tip over to a diagonal.

John Lautner’s role in shaping the Architecture in James Bond Movies

Slide9.JPGLos Angeles has great contribution to the modern architecture, “it is about cars, driveway,  aerospace and automobiles that embraced technology, gadgets and gizmos, and push buttons and so did Lautner.  Southern California is about spectacular hilltop views of oceans and urbanscape; , it is about the comfortable middle class lifestyle and a vision of privacy and individual expression, it is about permission to do something new. Lautner’s captured these ideas and applied them to his design houses, he pushed the idea as far as concrete or steel or glass would take it.” (The Architecture of John Lautner, p. 10).

Palm Springs is peppered with hotels and residences designed by significant architects with John Lautner being amongst the very profound. John Lautner was one of last century’s most important contemporary American architects. His work was concerned with the relationship of the human being to space and of space to nature. Lautner’s designs share a sense of drama, powerful geometry and warmth, and a profound respect for the site. His buildings stand as functional sculpture. They are unique entities unlike those of any other architect.

Hollywood seemed to have a thing for architect John Lautner (1911 – 1994), Frank Lloyd Wright’s disciple, modernist, one of the best-known architects of 20th century. On the contrary, he sincerely hated Los Angeles where he would work most of his life and once said the city was “so ugly it made me physically sick”. This strong love-hate relationship created many beautiful residential buildings in California.

John Lautener lived and worked in Los Angeles for 50 years. It was there where he could find courageous, incredibly rich clients for and with whom he designed houses that have inspired the world ever since. His architecture, like Hollywood people themselves, is probably the most sexy in the world – curvy, organic shapes, courageous structures, important landmarks that at the same time melt into the environment.

Hollywod has shown us for years that murderers, psychopaths and generally the bad people love modern design. Lautener’s houses’ interiors witnessed mainly the tragic movie scenes – among which the most important is probably James Bond fighting with two beautiful ladies in the Elrod House (1968) (see the video below).

This is what Ken Adams, Diamonds are Forever production designer, said about the Elrod House:
“…I wanted to look at exotic looking places in Palm Springs…and I was shown [the Elrod House] and it was absolutely right for the film. It was a reinforced concrete structure, very modern and fabulous. I said ‘this as though I designed it. I don’t have to do anything.’“



Elrod’s House


Stepping into the Elrod house, is like stepping out of time. There are few reference points to a specific period of design. The house is sculpted in pure forms. Organic shapes and monumental construction create an extraordinary experience of space, like entering a chapel or temple, built one dedicated to everyday life. The house strikes an interesting balance between the dramatic and the serene, creating awe-inspiring yet liveable comfort. Elegantly simple, space is deceptive.

Lautner’s signature California baroque aesthetics – soaring interior spaces, curving forms, dramatic vistas – is ideally suited for translation to film, and his houses appear with unparalleled regularity in Hollywood productions. (Architecture and Film, Mark Lamster,  2000)

  1. The Elrod House is a house featured prominently in “Diamonds Are Forever” as Willard Whyte‘s winter retreat. The exposed rock of the desert floor encroaching into the living space along with the angular, vaulted ceiling, made this seem like something straight out of production designer Ken Adam’s imagination, and was in perfect keeping with the James Bond design ethic of bold, dramatic environments.
  2. Lautner was passionate about the relationship between the natural environment and the structures he created, striving to create a harmonious balance and determined to humanise the spaces of the built world.
  3. There is a communication between the landscape and the home, and for there to be a sense of awe and drama in the design.
  4. Lautner uses low ceilings for dramatic forced perspectives and big reveals. Camouflaged stairs add to the space’s organic and serene atmosphere. There is the presence of the natural rock formations, where the architect distinctively and eloquently integrated the rocks making them the primary feature of the home.


Julius Shulman- Photography vs film
American architectural photographer (1910 – 2009)




Julius Shulman, a renowned architecture photographer who depicted modern houses as the ultimate expressions of modern living and helped idealize the California lifestyle in the postwar years

The renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman promoted the midcentury modernism movement through his flawless iconic photographs of John Lautner, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s, Pierre KoenigCharles Eames, as well as Richard Neutra and Raphael Soriano. Some of the modern houses he worked on were shown in some of the best known movies in Hollywood during that time which played an important role to the film industry as well.

Mr. Shulman was part of a post-war generation of commercial architecture photographers who specialized in Modernist buildings, working on assignment for architects and mass-market magazines like Life, House & Garden and Good Housekeeping as well as architecture publications.

He perfected his style of architectural photography  over a half century which was marked by strong geometric compositions, high contrast, sharp focus and evenly exposed interior and exterior spaces.  His photos played an integral role in contributing to the image of Los Angeles and Southern California lifestyle to the locals, the nations and world during the 50s and 60s.

He almost always used black-and-white film, the better to reduce his subjects to their geometric essentials. But he was also able to make the hard glass and steel surfaces of post-war Modernist architecture appear comfortable and inviting.

He largely abjured skyscrapers in favour of houses and was one of the first photographers to include the inhabitants of homes in his pictures. They lent the buildings a charming if sometimes incongruous air of domesticity.

Mr. Shulman believed his photographic mission was to capture the essence of his architectural subjects.

One of Mr. Shulman’s most widely reproduced images shown in the video as well, is a 1960 view of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, shows two well-dressed women in seemingly casual conversation in a living room that appears to float precariously above the Los Angeles basin.


The Bond Legacy: Mid-Century/Space-age Architecture



60s modernist architecture has become strongly linked with this spy/action movie genre, numerous subsequent films and TV shows have featured this style. It acts as a visual shorthand to place these stories in the same world filled with glamorous spies on secret missions.

Worldly as we believe ourselves to be, cinema’s cultural impact popularizes trends, and that was certainly true in the ’50s and ’60s. Mid-century design and architecture, which arrived brimming with optimism and new ideas, and was used by directors, set designers and stylists to symbolize the forward-thinking, modern, nature of those on screen. From classic films to modern period dramas made today, the sophisticated silhouettes of this era of design symbolize the same ideas today.

“Modern architecture itself may have left the public cold, but modern architecture in the movies caught its imagination by embodying . . . their fears, hopes and aspirations.


The Bond Legacy: Sense of Place


Bond movies continue to put great emphasis on the location of a scene. Like Diamonds are Forever, the Bond films that have come after it communicate immediately and clearly with images of iconic landmarks or skyline. Many of the contemporary movies, especially in the Daniel Craig era, take defining a sense of place to an even more obvious level by listing the city’s name at the beginning of a scene.

Bond’s adventures have taken him to over sixty countries, as well as outer space, in locations mostly described as attractive and exotic.

There is often a geographical dispersal of locations for film and television production which has developed in parallel with an increasing trend for the creative talent to be sourced globally. Inevitably the dispersal of production to old and new locations has been accompanied by a broadening of story settings. The global reach of contemporary Hollywood is reflected in the settings of films just as, in an earlier period, the importance to Hollywood of it’s British public generated a notable cycle of Hollywood British films made in Britain and the US.

Furthermore, Klaus Dodds has noted that there is also a geopolitical aspect to the locations used, although this is often a pre-emption of an issue by the film. For example, in the first film, Dr. No, the title villain’s disruption of the American Project Mercury space launch from Cape Canaveral with his atomic-powered radio beam mirrored claims that American rocket testing at Cape Canaveral had problems with rockets going astray. Similarly Bond’s anti-heroin mission in Live and Let Die coincided with President Nixon’s 1972 declaration of a War on Drugs, whilst Golden Eye played against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan‘s Strategic Defense Initiative.


World affairs and their influence on the film and the wider public


The movie captures the then state of art elements such as post war survival of nations, post modernist architecture, advancement in space travel, technology and research.

After World War II drew to a close in the mid-20th century, a new conflict began. Known as the Cold War, this battle pitted the world’s two great powers–the democratic, capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union–against each other.

Beginning in the late 1950s, space would become another dramatic arena for this competition, as each side sought to prove the superiority of its technology, its military firepower and–by extension–its political-economic system.

Nuclear supremacy was used in the film to draw its connection to the current state of the world with its plot of providing nuclear supremacy to the highest bidder using a weapon that is built for the purpose of global disarmament. This clearly indicates the world back in the century when the United States and Soviet union constantly grew their nuclear arsenals.

Research labs in the movie were used as an underground radiation facility is an influence evident from the various military research labs predominantly built by Germany, Soviet union and the United States.

The movie is full of scenes conveying a strong message of supremacy, dominance and geopolitical disorder where one can reflect to some of the most significant transformations in politics, war, technological advancement and space exploration.

The movie could still be remembered for what it is irrespective of  the recording of the fake moon landing but still the directors choose to include it merely on the basis of what was or is an ongoing debate

The film ocassionally features prime locations of architectural and global significance.

In addition, the sets created by Ken adams distinctly emphasise his ideas drawn from the architect’s work as stated by his own words “My background as a boy growing up in Berlin with architects like Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn obviously had some influence on me,”

Based on those influences the film establishes a trend that incorporates the idea of global advancement which eventually becomes a stereotype of the bond movies that followed.