Serendipity had a big part to play in the replica of the bedroom scene from Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey which is currently on display at the multi-media art space The 14th Factory in downtown Los Angeles.
The final scene of ‘2001′, one of the most influential films of all time, takes place in this iconic film set. With its illuminated white floor, ornate Louis XVI décor, renaissance sculptures and paintings it has given cause for much discussion and debate ever since it’s release in 1968. The original film set was designed by Harry Lange who had previously worked for NASA.
When The 14th Factory founder and artist Simon Birch conceived the idea of recreating the room, he didn’t have a huge amount to work with being as much of the original set, sketches and reference did not survive. As with most of Kubrick’s film sets they would have been hastily dismantled and destroyed after filming.
That did not deter Birch however, from approaching the project’s architect Paul Kember in the hope that he could recreate it. Birch must have had luck on his side as it transpires that two of Kember’s uncles had been draughtsmen on the original film and could thus access the details.
In the film, spaceman Dr. David Bowman finds himself in the bedroom appointed with opulent style furniture. He sees, and then becomes, older versions of himself, first standing in the bedroom, middle-aged and still in his spacesuit, then dressed and eating dinner, and finally as an old man lying in the bed. A monolith appears at the foot of the bed, and as Bowman reaches for it, he is transformed into a fetus enclosed in an orb of light.
One thing missing in Birch’s film set homage is the looming black monolith which appears at several points throughout the film and which has thrown up many theories about what it means and represents: An alien life force, the source of life itself, a presence that can accelerate development of less-evolved lifeforms, a cinema screen… All of these and more were enough for us to base our own Film and Furniture perspex, laser-cut business cards on it.
The Space Odyssey bedroom is one of a series of micro-exhibitions in The 14th Factory space which take viewers on a “hero’s journey,” a reference to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. The exhibition is open until April 30.
The Jeremy Sternberg photo above is of a model of the ‘2001’ bedroom on display in the 2013 Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Art. You can zoom and take a good look around the model on this Flickr page.
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2001 A Space Odyssey – a close look at those fabulously futuristic Djinn chairs and how Kubrick’s vision of the future was brought to life through ‘product placement’ >