A Single Man is a film whose frames have stayed with me for quite a while after I watched it, for two reasons: firstly, Colin Firth`s striking performance as a British university teacher, struggling with the loss of his life-long partner, and secondly, the incredible attention its director, Tom Ford (yes, the same Tom Ford who you already know to have been the creative director of Gucci, among other big name brands) gave to costumes and decors. As you might have already guessed, in this post I`m going to linger a bit on the second one.
Although everybody would have expected from Tom Ford lots of stylish frames, in this particular case, he took it to another level. In a few interviews, the director stated that he needed a modern set-up, as George, the main character, admired the freshness of American thinking, but a warm set-up at the same time, as to be able to express a certain intimacy, necessary in his quest to reveal George`s deepest thoughts and feelings. This is what must have led him to choose John Lautner`s iconic modernist villa as a backdrop for his first feature film. In my opinion, there couldn`t have been a better choice, since this is exactly what Lautner is best at- building modern interiors while also making use of warm materials, in an era when his contemporaries were very much into the industrial aesthetic. Completely surrounded by a misty forest, the redwood, concrete and glass residence also serves as a medium to suggest the isolation and alienation of George. The house was built in 1949, 15 km away from Los Angeles, as a residence for the Schaffer family and rumor has it that Lautner was asked to build a house that feels as picnicking under the oak trees, which might explain the coziness of the interior and its incredible connection to nature, enhanced through the use of pivoting doors, despite its arresting minimalism.
So if you haven`t seen the film yet and you`re skeptical of considering watching a film directed by a fashion designer (you should perhaps know that Ford graduated in interior architecture from Parsons), I believe it`s high time you leave the prejudices aside and take a leap of faith, at least for the sake of good modernist architecture. But please beware: this experience will most certainly leave you craving for the perfect bachelor pad with open layout and glass façade, which doesn`t usually come for a cheap price.
P.S. Charlie`s pattern infused apartment isn`t something to neglect either, but you`ll have to watch the movie in order to figure out what I`m referring to.