Another pictures post, I guess I am visually-minded today.
I guess it’s kind of like ‘mid-century modern’ —
(I’m actually kinda freaking out that I found this last one, it’s a real piece of furniture my grandparents own. A record and 8-track player/minibar/fake fireplace.)
But the furniture alone doesn’t do enough to describe it. Everyone has seen pictures of this stuff in like basic living rooms with low ceilings in the 1960s. And indeed the aesthetic IS tied to the 60s, but it’s not just that design philosophy that makes me like it so much.
I specifically enjoy this kind of crazy, geometric design within a space that is kind of large and looming, and multipurpose.
Here’s some looks at a set from the movie Help, starring The Beatles. Within the film, this set is meant to be the house the lads all live in together – there’s a gag where they all walk home, wave at each other and walk into four separate doors next to each other. Then it cuts to an interior view where it’s revealed that all 4 doors enter the same shared, big living space. It would be hard to overstate how much I have enjoyed this fake house from since I was a little kid.
All of the pictures I could find of this online were pretty small, so actually maybe go ahead and watch this little scene first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx_7xjpySK0
OK now I can talk about some of the things I really love.
Paul’s Wurlitzer organ rising up out of the ground is AMAZING. Like I could go on about just this thing by itself for a while, probably. The shape, the lights, the rising platform! The fixed lamp nearby! My dad’s friend Curt, who trained me in the art of comics, has an organ in his home and he keeps a row of 60s comics on the music stand in imitation of this scene. I love it so bad.
I have always wanted a bed like John’s little sunken-in bed with bookshelves.
Here is a similar view, but a little better look at Ringo’s wall of 60s-style vending machines, which are actually maybe the best part of the whole thing. I don’t know what it is about that that I like so much. There’s the design of the machines, for one thing. All geometric lines, shiny metal, flourished logos hanging out in well-thought-out negative space. But it’s also maybe just the idea of replacing a kitchen with an instant-output food wall. It’s such a pleasingly outdated view of modernism/futurism, but like, also exactly the kind of thing a group of rich young men would want to buy in real life.
My other example is the titular hotel from Grand Budapest Hotel, but – of course- it’s the 1960s version used in the wraparound framing narrative I love.
In the film, this version is actually contrasted against the 1920s decor and is meant to represent the slow decay of gentility and refinement in the 20th century but I love it WAY more.
This room is even bigger than The Beatles had. I love that it’s so vast, I love the shiny veneer of the different kinds of paneling on the wall. I love that you can tell how quiet it is in there just by looking at it. I love that the seats are like a little comfortable island within the larger ecosystem of the space.
Some more really cool vending machines. I think it appeals to the same part of my mind that likes things tidy. Everything all perfect and lined up and like, exactly the way it should be.
Everything has that kind of sleek look, and every individual furniture on down to the ashtray is like its own sovereign, freestanding nation. It gives such a desolate and melancholy feel. But the warm colors all blend into each other and make it feel kind of warm. I want to say “Cozy Desolation?”
I like how it looks simultaneously well-lit and sort of dim and atmospheric. I swear to god that is how my dreams look.
If you were to represent my mind metaphorically as interior design, it would look like these places.