Have you ever wanted to see the apartments and houses of your favorite TV shows brought to life? To go on a virtual walk-through of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment? Or see the layout of the Simpson’s house in Springfield? Four years ago Spanish interior designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde had the same desire, and so he set out to create a floorplan for one of his favorite TV shows, Frasier. Following interest from his friends for floorplans of their favorite shows, Aliste began to make renderings for them as well. Now, the designer has created floorplans for over 20 shows and movies, ranging from the apartments in Friends to the house in UP!. “Many people have told me that thanks to my drawings, they recall the good times spent with the series or movie…. Even people not used to technical layouts are able to understand my drawings and dive into them,” he said.
Enjoy the full interview with Iñaki as well as images of some of his favorite floorplans after the break…
AD: When and why did you start drawing TV floorplans?
Iñaki: Four or five years ago - I am very bad with dates - I made the floorplan of "Frasier" as a personal treat. I really liked the series and his apartment and I wanted to see him molded. I didn’t make another floorplan until a couple of summers later when a friend of mine, a huge fan of "Sex & The City," asked me to draw the apartment of Carrie Bradshaw. So I did that for her. Then I was asked for the apartment of "Friends," and then for... Until now...
I am not an obsessive fan or a viewer who likes everything on TV. In fact, my tastes are different and my favorite shows are "Northern exposure," "Six feet under," "Upstairs / Downstairs," "Twin Peaks," etc... I am a little bit old fashioned.
AD: Why do you think people like to see these spaces rendered in plan?
Iñaki: I have received several comments about these drawings. Many people have told me that thanks to my drawings, they recall the good times spent with the series or movie. Obviously my clients are fans of the series/movies (or they buy them to give as a gift) so they like to have a piece of memorabilia. For example, girl fans of "Sex and the City" feel like they can do virtual tours and walk freely inside Carrie Bradshaw's apartment.
Normally architectural blueprints are very technical, minimalist and cold. And, in fact, many people don't understand and can't read those kind of layouts. But even people not used to technical layouts are able to understand my drawings and dive into them. The simplification of the technical details, the furniture, the use of color, light, shadows, details, and props make these drawings easy to understand for any audience.
I have also met some fussy fans. Some series, particularly sitcoms and especially the long-running ones, have many design flaws: contradictions, mistakes, tricks and traps that are evident when you make a floorplan. Those fans need to demonstrate their knowledge of the series and I’ve entered into discussion with them, but I always show where the errors are. I invent nothing, I capture only what I see.
AD: What is your process? What programs do you use? Do you draw by hand and then digitally?
Iñaki: Normally I download the entire series or the movie. I prefer if the series has ended so that I have all of the episodes available. In sitcoms the principal set (normally the living room placed in front of the audience) appears in all of the episodes. The hard part is usually locating the secondary sets like the bedrooms and bathrooms. Normally moveable sets that change continuously and contradictory with the central sets are built in a different place from the studio. That is the problem with multicamera series - in fact, they are like theatrical sets.
In series such as "Sex & the City," filmed as movies (not recorded in front of an audience), the sets are closed and more logical and coherent - just like real apartments. In a couple of hours I can locate all that I need using the fast forward button on the player. I revise the episodes several times and save the ones where everything that I need appears. Meanwhile, I'm creating a first basic layout that I refine and develop with notes. Once I’ve made a composition of the place I started a second layout (using the annotations of the first rude layout) to fit the final dimensions and proportions, to place furniture and to complete the final shape of the drawing. Finally, I start the third and definitive floorplan that I make more carefully.To complete the final drawing I revise all of my annotations to find timber tones, the colors of the materials, the fabrics and all the details that I need to make an accurate floorplan.
In total I need about 30 to 40 hours (or more - in fact I've never counted) to complete one floorplan from zero to the final uploaded result. I think that I spend a lot of the time locating everything that I need - time that is multiplied when it's a long running series with many seasons, and time that doubles when the sets of the series change throughout the seasons and/or when they are full of contradictions. That is usually the norm. It's easier to fix the proportions, dimensions, furniture, etc when the drawing is from a movie or a mini-series, mainly because the length of the series or movie is short. The problem with a mini-series or a movie is that there are few that show all of the houses or apartments. Normally we can only see a portion of the house (the living room, kitchen and bedroom only) and there are few movies that completely show a house or an apartment. The apartment of Holly Golightly from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was a good example of a full set. When I make handmade floorplans (that I make by order and sell in my ETSY store), I need only 15 to 25 hours to replicate one of the originals depending on the complexity and size of the purchased drawing.
The floorplans are completely handmade - I don't use architecture or interior design software. I only use Windows paint to add the text. I use cardboard (with high grammage), ink, markers and colored pencils to make the drawings. It's a technique that I know really well and it offers me comfort. For my other work I use watercolors when I make large representations and currently I use 3D software design that allows me to easily change the elements. But for these floorplans I was looking for something more artistic and less technical to transmit the personality of the houses with the warmth and imperfection of a handmade drawing.