Film: Design & Architecture

A Single Man (2009)

One star of this film is the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner.
One star of this film is the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner.

Tom Ford’s film, starring Julianne Moore and Colin Firth, is one of those films in which every frame is a visual feast and a must-see for all design fans. The “Mad Men” team of production designer Dan Bishop and set decorator Amy Wells provided the phenomenal sets and wardrobe. And it was their sets which helped illustrate and add dimension to the characters and story.

Set in 1962, the drama unfolds in Santa Monica and is filmed primarily in two locations. One is a lushly landscaped Pasadena residence that in the film is owned by Charley (Julianne Moore). It is decorated in an ultra-feminine cream-and-pink Midcentury Hollywood Regency scheme with a Moroccan accent. Far different is the austere monochromatic modern home of George (Firth), filmed in the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner (above).

The first third of the film is drained of color in much the same way George has been drained of life by sorrow. But as the film progressed, I noticed that when another human shared a frame with our single man, the scene’s colors warmed up and glowed.

I have decided not to provide captions for the following photos. That would be just too much. So just click the link and view 42 gorgeous moments from “A Single Man.”

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