Poor Things, Saltburn and One Life win big at the British Film Designers Guild Awards

Poor Things, Saltburn and One Life win big at the British Film Designers Guild Awards

The British Film Designers Guild (BFDG) Awards took place last Saturday 25th February at the glamorous The Londoner hotel, Leicester Square and announced the worthy winners in the 13th Production Design Awards, supported by BENlabs, including Poor Things, Saltburn and One Life.

Winners in the film categories included One Life (Christina Moore, Aline Leionello, Philippa Hart), Saltburn (Suzie Davies, Caroline Barclay and Charlotte Dirickx) and the recent BAFTA Production Design winner Poor Things picked up Best Production Design in the Major Motion Picture Fantasy category (James Price, Shona Heath, Adam Makin, James Lewis and Zsuzsa Mihalek). 

Poor Things

Surreal, sexy and brimming with imagination, BFGD Awards winner Poor Things is a cinematic marvel. It takes us on a whirlwind adventure alongside the Frankenstein-esque, enigmatic and impetuous Bella Baxter (portrayed flawlessly by Emma Stone), through imagined places and spaces that typically exist only in our wildest imaginations or in the worlds created in film.

Bella’s declaration: “There is a world to enjoy, traverse, circumnavigate… Let us do this” sets the tone for a journey that is as profound as it is exhilarating as she traverses from London to Paris, Lisbon, Alexandria and beyond. The collaboration of minds behind the scenes is as captivating at the tale itself: Directed by the visionary Yorgos Lanthimos (renowned The Favourite and The Lobster), and written by frequent collaborator Tony McNamara, this filmic tale draws its essence from the novel by Alasdair Gary.

The design team of Poor Things at the BFDG Awards
The design team of Poor Things at the BFDG Awards. Photo © Film and Furniture.

What sets Poor Things apart is how the vision was brought to life through the film sets, by the dynamic duo of production designers, James Price and Shona Heath. Here’s where the magic unfolds: Lanthimos, the maestro orchestrating this creative symphony, ingeniously brought together two creatives with different perspectives. “I thought that if I put two people that have very different minds together, and if it worked out and if they got along it would be something very interesting” says Lanthimos. And he was bang on with that thinking!

You can read more about this in our feature How a creative coupling sculpted the fantastical film sets of Poor Things.

Saltburn TV room
Saltburn TV room

Winner of Best Production Design Feature Film Contemporary, Saltburn, exudes some captivating performances but none quite as alluring as the Saltburn house itself. This film is an immersive experience that lingers in your thoughts long after leaving the cinema. Despite the peculiar and shocking events, many of us have fantasised about being invited to a long-lost summer in a majestic country house.

Production Designer Suzie Davis collects the award on behalf of the Saltburn team at the British Film Designers Guild Awards
Production Designer Suzie Davies collects the award on behalf of the Saltburn team at the British Film Designers Guild Awards. Photo © Film and Furniture.

Be sure to check out our video interview with Production Designer Suzie Davies and Set Decorator Charlotte Dirickx in our in-depth feature Saltburn exclusive: Creating a house of dreams (and nightmares) which delves into the filming location, design and décor details (including that bath!).

Concept art for the Piano Nobile in A Haunting in Venice
Concept art for the Piano Nobile in A Haunting in Venice

Best Production Design Major Motion Picture Period, was awarded to A Haunting in Venice (John Paul Kelly, Peter Russell, Celia Bobak). Set in Venice just after World War II, and loosely based on the 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie, production designer John Paul Kelly set out to convey a Venice quite different to the usual associations of the Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge which we know today. This is a world of shadows and secrets.

Produced, directed and starring Kenneth Branagh, the film depicts the dilapidated grandeur of an iconic palazzo, yet this one was built and shot almost entirely in the UK. Kelly tells us that in order to achieve the feel of a setting in the backwaters of Venice canals, as well as an interior that was right for the story, he and his team decided to build their own haunted palazzo at Pinewoood Studios. Discover more about the design of A Haunting in Venice and take a view of behind the scenes concept art and drawings in our feature Behind the scenes of A Haunting in Venice with production designer John Paul Kelly.

LtoR: Lawrence Shinn from Farley's, Sarah Greenwood, F&F's Paula Benson and Katie Spencer
LtoR: Lawrence Shinn from Farley’s, Production Designer Sarah Greenwood, F&F’s Paula Benson and Set Decorator Katie Spencer. Photo © Paul West.

In the television categories, awards went to Black Mirror Season 6 (Udo Kramer, Philip Barber, Peter Findley and Mike Britton) and Silo (Gavin Bocquet, Phil Harvey and Amanda Bernstein). 

In other categories the Planet Positive Award, was presented to the Art Department of the second series of the BBC’s Good Omens for using innovative and sustainable building and construction practices. Honourable mentions in the category went to the television series Sløborn and Hijack.  

The Crown
The Crown. Production Design by Martin Childs

The esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Production Designer Martin Childs who is best known for his work on the Netflix series The Crown, as well as The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Shakespeare in Love.

The awards took place before a sold-out audience of over 400 BFDG members, industry creatives, sponsors, and Paula and Paul from Film and Furniture!  The ceremony was opened by an unexpected and high drama performance of the theme song from You Only Live Twice from BFDG Chairperson Blair Barnette (originally sung by Nancy Sinatra). 

The British Film Designers Guild Awards ceremony was hosted by the charismatic film critic and radio presenter Mark Kermode with whom F&F’s Paul West has a lot in common: They share the same favourite film Local Hero and both their favoured footwear is Doctor Marten boots! They discussed their film and fashion passions together after the awards ceremony.

F&F’s Paula Benson took a spontaneous decision at the Awards, after meeting so many talented people, to conduct a series of one-minute interviews which you can view over on our Instagram.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, you all rock our world!

This feature is FREE to Classic members.

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