AD Takes Us Inside The Sets Of The New James Bond Movie No Time To Die
In an exclusive interview with Architectural Digest, set decorator Véronique Melery recently took the team onto the sets of the latest James Bond movie ‘No Time To Die’.
James Bond is a fictional character created by novelist Ian Fleming in 1953. Today, the character is an icon in the world of entertainment. Packed with adventure, drama and more, each remake is often a thrilling visual experience. In the latest movie, James Bond is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica after leaving active service. However, his peace is short-lived as his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, shows up and asks for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond on the trail of a mysterious villain who’s armed with a dangerous new technology.
Far removed from the tense, high-octane world of James Bond is his home in Jamaica, perched on the edge of a lagoon. This is where No Time To Die picks up, following Bond who is cocooned in the tranquility of his island life. It’s not long before the film unfolds, pulling both Bond and the audience into a rapturous new adventure, packed with the edge-of-the-seat action that is synonymous with Bond’s world. But before it does, in a moment of quiet respite, we get a glimpse of the life he’s built for himself since leaving MI6.
Jamaica is therefore a key location in the film. It is often considered Bond’s “spiritual home” and it is also where the character came to life. The island is the birthplace of 007, where writer Ian Fleming created and wrote the Bond novels. As the film opens, look closely, and you’ll find a replica of Fleming’s iconic desk from his Jamaican villa Goldeneye—which is now a luxury hotel—tucked away in a corner in Bond’s bedroom. “We wanted his house to feel authentic and normal. Well, as normal as possible for a guy like Bond,” explained the film’s set decorator Véronique Melery, to the AD team.
The making of the sets was nothing short of an adventure for Melery. From creating a bar inspired by the painting ‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper, injecting more life and flavour into M’s office to covering the walls of a Cuban hotel in large frescoes. Her team certainly had their hands full. Through a series of images, she takes AD inside the sets of No Time To Die.
Melery and her team joined forces with local craftsmen to assemble many pieces on-site, often recreating some iconic pieces from design history. In the living room sits a version of Cité—an armchair designed by a French designer and engineer Jean Prouvé—splashed in red. Next to it, a recreation of the Tripe armchair by Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi.
“For his bedroom, we commissioned Jamaican artists to create a basic bed with local wood,” says Melery. “The idea was to blend into the tropical mood of the location and create a very laid-back place.” Little details, like his clothes and hats hanging from simple wooden pegs are indicative of the unhurried pace of Bond’s retired life.
For the living room, the rug was sourced from Mali. “The house was built on a spectacular lagoon, so the tropical mood is felt very much through the space,” says Melery.
“Decorating his house was about bringing different objects together to make the space feel like a home,” says Melery. “We worked with only the essential pieces that give a sense of peace and authenticity to his house.”
A look inside M’s office.
“We’re familiar with M’s office from the previous movies; we’ve seen it so often. It was interesting and challenging to recreate the space, giving it the same feeling, and yet adding a different flavour to it,” says Melery. “We used the paintings in the room to add a whiff of M’s personal taste to the room, and his rich palette of interests.” The office features furniture in natural wood, in deep, rich shades, leather-upholstered armchairs, a book shelf built into the wall and many antique objects.
“This is what we call the ‘Meeting Room’, where a very important scene unfolds,” says Melery. With this space, Melery and production designer Mark Tildesley wanted to reference the kind of architecture that’s reminiscent of Ken Adam’s work (the franchise’s first production designer). “A traditional Japanese interior of amazing proportions, with low windows offering views on the flowers and the plants (outside), where beauty meets death in a contradictory zen garden,” notes Melery.
The room features traditional tatamis that are laid out on the concrete floor, a low Japanese credenza in a corner, and a 5-meter-long low table. An antique Japanese shrine is seen in the distance. “The strong brutalist architecture of the room required very few items of furniture,” says Melery. “These pieces had to be of the right proportions to not compete with the lines of the building, or disappear in the space.”
With every detail carefully considered we can see that the world of set designs for this movie is on a whole other level!
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