James Bond Production Design

Two weeks ago, Casino Royale became the first high definition disc to crack into the weekly home video sales top ten list. Upon its theatrical release, mi6.co.uk published a rare interview with Bond production designer, Peter Lamont (Academy Award Winner for Titanic). While the interview doesn’t penetrate how Mr Lamont approached design challenges, he does discuss locale selection and his experience designing the Fort Knox exterior for Goldfinger. Production Design for the majority of Bond films were led by either Peter Lamont or the legendary Ken Adam.

Ken Adam (Academy Award Winner for Barry Lyndon & The Madness of King George) is best known for his iconic war room set in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Gladly, good reading material on Ken Adam is far less scarce.

Last February, Faber and Faber published a three hundred plus page book, an extensive interview of Ken Adam by Christopher Frayling. The book, Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design, is text dominant with numerous b&w photos and a smattering of illustrations throughout. For the reader seeking more visual inspiration, I highly recommend the exhibition catalog, Moonraker, Strangelove and Other Celluloid Dreams: The Visionary Art of Ken Adam. This hard to find paperback book published by Serpentine Gallery in 1999 is laden with illustrations from dozens of films across its 145 pages. Images include final concepts, photographs, studies and iterative sketches that depict the conceptual evolution of sets.

A broader look at Bond design with countless anecdotes can be found in The Art of Bond. This is the best of the bunch that were published to coincide with the release of Casino Royale. Coverage includes sets, locations, gadgets, cars, titles, music, action sequences and more. An admirable effort, only diminished by an overly brief title sequence section and a highly scratch prone dust jacket.

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