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Stanley Kubrick’s Stark and Sterile Futuristic Vision for ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, 1968


The production period for 2001 took four years prior to its release in 1968 and producer/director Stanley Kubrick employed a large art department and many specialists (including scientific advisor Frederick Ordway, set /visual effects designer Joy Cuff, special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull and art department guru Harry Lange) to help realise his vision.

Kubrick’s meticulous attention to detail and fastidiousness is legendary but interestingly the film also set new standards in movie making in being one of the first examples of innovation through strategic product placement: The 2001 team invited commercial product manufacturers and designers of the time including IBM, Honeywell, Whirlpool (kitchens), Macy’s, Dupont (fabrics), Hilton Hotels, Parker Pens, Nikon, Kodak (cameras), Hamilton (watches) as well as outstanding interior and furniture designers of the time to create projected versions of how their products they might look decades later in the year 2001 (and in return they would receive exposure in the film). The film therefore stands not only as an outstanding piece of film making but also as a platform for progressive contemporary design – driving design innovation.

Kubrick was influenced by ‘a living room that changed colour’ featured in The Hall of Science in the 1964 New York World Fair. Kubrick who wanted to use the same effect in 2001’s set design was also influenced by the a magazine article in American Home magazine – ‘Home of the Future’…. (read more)


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