‘Blade Runner 2049’: Designing a Brutal, Beautiful Dystopia

IndieWire | 10/27/2017 | Staff
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It was dead of winter in Montreal and the first thing that production designer Dennis Gassner asked director Denis Villeneuve was how to describe his vision for “Blade Runner 2019” in a single word. The answer: Brutality. Thus began the journey of incorporating the harsh climate of Villeneuve’s home city into the dystopian world of “Blade Runner” 30 years later.

For Gassner, it’s all about defining the pattern language and he had plenty of brutalist inspiration when scouting the angular, concrete buildings in Budapest, where they shot the movie — because London didn’t provide enough studio space.

Blade - Runner

“Blade Runner 2049”

However, Gassner’s first priority was tackling an updated Spinner, the iconic flying police vehicle. “The Spinner would create the pattern language, which we could then spin-off into the rest of the world,” Gassner said. While the original Spinner driven by Harrison Ford’s Deckard had a soft quality, the one powered by Ryan Gosling’s K was more angular, robust, and brutal.

Blade - Runner

“Blade Runner 2049”

“It’s really a character in itself because it was an extension of who K was,” said Gassner. “We worked very hard at finding the tone for that. From there, came the rest of the environments. “It was always about going up against the elements… the sea wall to protect the city from flooding,” he added. “It was about survival for the people who remained in that world.”

Design - Wallace - Building - Lair - Inventor

Next came the design of the massive, 300-story Wallace building, the lair of inventor Wallace (Jared Leto), the Zen-like creator of the new, more subservient replicants. Surrounded by three towers, the exterior looks very brutalistic, but the interior exudes an inviting warmth.

“The other lesson that came out of the pattern language was a brutal scale that played against the harshness of the environment,” said Gassner. “The big objective was no sunlight except for the Wallace building....
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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