One of the elements of most affinity between architecture and cinema is the scenographic project. The set designer, like the architect, starts from a concept to create spaces with a purpose. The architect designs spaces for living and the set designer designs spaces for storytelling. Many architects work with scenography because of the affinity between the activities.
Cinema: The Latest Architecture and News
The stage is set in one of the most iconic “end of the world” movie scenes: Citizens of New York City are scrambling on top of taxis, quickly attempting to escape the slow-moving giant tsunami heading their way. In the rear-view mirror of a bus, a giant wave can be seen rushing up the narrow city grid. Searching for higher ground, the main characters, Sam and Laura, run up the famed stairs into the famed New York Public Library, and just as the revolving doors shut behind them, the pressure of the water smashes the windows, and water begins to rise. Without seeing it, we know that New York City and its iconic architecture will soon be destroyed.
Broadly speaking, the performing arts are all those disciplines that take place on a stage, although the main ones are dance, theatre and music. However, parades, religious processions, holiday celebrations and carnivals also have a clear scenic quality. That is why the stage space is so important not only for the presentations of these disciplines but also for carrying out a whole bodily and spatial process that is supported by the architecture.
The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art has announced the winning design for the 2022 summer cinema. Selected from 118 applications, the proposal created by Moscow-based practice LIPMAN ARCHITECTS features gabion walls filled with plastic water bottles, inviting conversation around topics such as material recycling and the environmental impact of temporary architecture.
People die in Squid Game. Lots of people. But while violence is one of the most appealing ingredients for the success (or failure) of a television show, that's not the only reason the series has become so popular worldwide. Pop culture, mesmerizing scenarios, and a plot full of social metaphors all contribute to this.
Available for streaming since September 2021, the Netflix series Squid Game “will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure,” and has “a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever,” according to Ted Sarandos, the platform's co-CEO and Head of Content. The survivor thriller by director Hwang Dong-hyuk tells the story of a group of 456 people who are deeply in debt competing to win 45.6 billion won (around €33 million, $38 million) in prize money.
Canada’s contribution to the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale explores Canadian cities’ established “career” in cinema as stand-ins for the world’s metropoles, raising questions of authenticity, architectural identity and the collective understanding of the built environment. Curated by David Theodore of McGill University and realized by Montréal architecture and design practice T B A / Thomas Balaban Architect, the exhibition Impostor Cities highlights the diversity and versatility of Canada’s cityscapes as portrayed on film.
Rare are the fields, from arts and culture, that have so many things in common with architecture, as film does. Acknowledging that this is far from new, this topic has been debated by theorists and authors from both fields ever since the beginning of the 20th century. Architecture has been trying to embody subtle and poetical features from film while cinema has historically served as a means to discuss, represent, and denounce topics tightly related to architecture and cities.
An interesting example of this overlapping can be found in the contemporary production of French-Italian film company Bêka & Lemoine, whose works show a sensible look towards the details and the simplicity of the architecture and urban spaces. Currently encompassing thirty feature films, Ila Bêka's and Louise Lemoine's portfolio casts light on the everyday life of different cities around the world, revealing an attentive gaze to the most trivial aspects of human existence in the urban realm.
The new Garage Screen cinema designed by SNKH Architects was just unveiled in Moscow. The winning project of the second Garage museum of contemporary art competition for the design of a pop-up summer cinema “resembles an inverted Bedouin tent”. Selected out of 136 submissions from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, the intervention is not instantly recognizable as a cinema, reinventing the usual design.
Representation of the real world is, without any doubt, in the genesis of cinema, an art originated from photography, by creating a sequence to convey the impression of movement to the viewer. In fact, the earliest known film recording is from 1895, picturing the arrival of a train at Ciolat station in France, a trivial event in the daily life of 19th-century European cities.
However, even though tangible reality plays a big role in cinema, one cannot ignore that the fascination caused by this art comes, to a great extent, from its capacity to create imaginary worlds, to activate mental spaces, and to unleash emotions. In this sense, the real world may often provide insufficient fuel, inspiration, or background for the directors' and screenwriters' storytelling, so the art direction and scenic design teams are required to create other intangible realities that serve as a basis for the narrative.
The recent success of Parasite, the award winning film directed by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, has created a conversation around the emphasis of architecture and interior spaces in movies. This particular film does an excellent job of blurring the boundaries between the two disciplinary fields, to the point where the architecture is not just the background of the set, but it has been placed at the forefront of the storyline, and takes on the leading role in many scenes.
Chicago is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Its sparkling lakefront, dramatic skyline, diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and gritty industrial sites have long captured the attention of locals and visitors alike, including Hollywood movie producers. Here the city often serves as not only a backdrop, but also as a starring role--almost as important as the characters themselves.
Architecture enjoys a close connection with moving picture, perhaps because of the limitless imagination it allows. Our mind can be taken far away to utopian worlds where we live different realities with our eyes and skin; movies can carry us to new and distant places, where we face new unusual realities.
However, besides carrying us to distant places, movies can also be a vehicle of social criticism. This is not news, as it has been done for almost as long as cinema has existed. The evolution of this role is relative to the topic of critique that has developed over time, as have our habits and ways of living. In this sense, one of the most emerging problematic of nowadays is climate change.from architecture to arts and, clearly, the movies.