Trade secrets! From Set Decoration to Interior Design

Please join us tomorrow at the D&D for a talk:  “From Set and Screen to Living Room: The Set Decorator and the Interior Designer.”  I will be on a panel discussion with Cathy Whitlock,  film historian, designer Marshall Watson (his line at Lewis Mittman has graced the sets of the new Katie Couric show). and Ann Maine, editor in chief of Traditional Home, will be the moderator.  For more information and the address, click here.

Design*Sponge Interview

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.  We talked about set decoration, interior design , and of course, wallpaper!

The radio station, Heritage Radio, where we did the interview was really great – in the back of the super popular Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s Pizza.  Check out Heritage Radio’s great programming here.   I hope you enjoy the interview!!

Lindsey Adelman featured in Elle Decor “How to Light up a Room”

We have been huge fans of lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s since day one! Lydia used one of her fixtures to create a drop-dead foyer in Sex and the City and we try to use her fixtures in every client’s home that we possibly can. These beautiful, hand-blown, gold leaf inflected globes add sparkle and glamour to every setting…and the industrial chic hardware is pretty fab, too. Her new work is a deadly combination of milky spikes, ropes, chains and a little jewelry thrown in….can’t wait for an opportunity to design one into one of our clients’ homes.
To read about Lindsey’s tips for the best way to light up a rooom, check out the Elle Decor article online today!

Cinema Style

Cinema Style (a blog that I love) had a great post yesterday:  When Worlds Collide: Fashion and Film.   The post discusses how the influence of celebrity can affect our purchasing choices.  Specifically, moving beyond celebrity endorsements, how celebrity partnerships and inspirations actually may guide this market. Check out the article and while you are there  take the time to look around.  There are a lot of excellent posts to read if you are interested in film design.

At Marks & Frantz we are always interested in these intersecting worlds and try to foster these collaborations in our own work as much as possible.  Our redesign of the Top of the Strand, the rooftop bar at the Strand Hotel in New York City, was a creative partnership with Trina Turk for Schumacher and the set decoration for the films Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada were chock full of fashion/design/furniture crossovers.





20 Unforgettable American Movie Interiors

Sex and the City 2 was included in Cathy Whitlock’s list of unforgettable movie interiors on Apartment Therapy.  Very exciting for us!  The list is a great conversation starter as well.  Bring it up at your next cocktail party and let the film/design debates begin!! Read the post here.


The Daily News loves the sets for Sex and the City 2…who doesn’t?

The Daily News loves the sets for Sex and the City 2 so much that they devoted an entire supplement to Lydia and her memorable, iconic decorating. Getting a chance to jump off residential and commercial interior design for a minute to do an occasional movie or photo shoot keeps our work fresh, exciting….always pushing the envelope!  view the full article here

‘Sex and the City 2’ on set: Behind the scenes of the new movie

– The Daily News,  May 2010

Much effort went into designing the fabulous life led by Carrie and co. in ‘Sex and the City 2.’

Before the ladies take their first-class trip abroad, they reunite in the city where they first met as twentysomething girls. On the second day of shooting, the crew re-created 1980s New York at the intersection of Fifth Ave. and 58th St., which involved a head-to-toe makeover.

“We had to work with the city and close down part of Fifth Ave. to pull it off,” says producer John Melfi. “And to really sell it, we brought in dozens of period cars and hundreds of extras in ’80s costumes.”

Add to that a hundred-person crew, an army of trucks carrying tons of equipment, swarms of paparazzi and hundreds of onlookers, and you get the challenge of filming on the streets of Manhattan.

Even a less ambitious scene can require months of preparation. Explains Melfi, “Carrie and Big’s apartment is supposed to be located in a pretty tony building on the upper East Side. It took months to secure just that one location. We had meetings with the city, every resident in the building had to give their approval, the street had to be closed, and buses had to be rerouted.”

But one location remains unchanged after all these years: Carrie’s old apartment. Her upper East Side brownstone isn’t really on the upper East Side, but is far downtown in Greenwich Village. And it was there, while shooting the second film, that the crew witnessed a first — the “Sex and the City” tour group stumbling upon the movie set.

“They just kind of swarmed over us,” remembers Melfi. “It was surreal to be shooting while people were getting off the ‘Sex and the City’ bus. It was overwhelming to be part of this cultural moment.”

Other locations were a little more manageable to re-create, such as the iconic SoHo coffee shop set from the series. The original set seen in many episodes was actually built on a sound stage at Silvercup Studios in Queens. But for the films, the coffee shop was re-created, if not for real, then in the real world — in an empty furniture store in SoHo.

Carrie’s new closet

Even though the apartment is for the two of them, one space remains signature Carrie: the closet. “One side of the closet is Carrie, and the other side is Big,” says production designer Jeremy Conway. “What I love about that, of course, is that there’s not enough room for Carrie, so she has to come over to Big’s side a little bit.”

“The palette in this closet is very different from the palette in Carrie’s old closet,” adds set decorator Lydia Marks. “It’s really about Carrie’s grownup clothes. There are no tutus here.”

The wedding set

The design team went all out in creating the big white wedding that opens the movie. Says director Michael Patrick King, “The wedding is stylish in a way that you don’t see anymore. It has a very old Hollywood feel to it. The scenery is extravagant: It’s a huge exterior built indoors. And even the wedding motif is in black and white, so there are times when it actually looks like something out of ‘Top Hat’ or a Preston Sturges movie. It’s in color, but we deliberately stressed the black and white.”

Over two months on a soundstage in Brooklyn, production designer Jeremy Conway and a crew of hundreds of carpenters, painters and craftspeople re-created the rustic Colonial courtyard of a quaint country inn — and then transformed that inn into an outrageous, snow-white, crystal-covered party.

“Sparkle was a very important part of this set,” says set decorator Lydia Marks. “We managed to add sparkle into the flower arrangements, into the trees, into the handrails on the footbridges — pretty much anywhere we could put crystals.”

“You haven’t seen a set like that since MGM in 1935,” says Mario Cantone, who plays Charlotte’s wedding-planner friend, Anthony Marantino. “I mean, it’s literally like a Busby Berkeley musical.”

Excerpted from “Sex and the City 2: The Stories. The Fashion. The Adventure,” publishing this month from Running Press, Copyright 2010.


Lydia’s Decorating for SATC2

Look what’s hitting the blogosphere….Lydia’s fabulous work on Sex and the City 2. This is just the beginning of a crazy week of tons of SATC publicity highlighting Lydia’s decorating!

Just like millions of other SATC fans around the world, I’m enthusiastically looking forward to the premiere ofSex and the City 2 coming out in a few weeks.  I was looking through some movie stills of the sets and came upon this lovely shot of Carrie Bradshaw in her bedroom.  If you’ll cast your gaze to the gorgeous glass bottle sitting on the credenza you might recognize it to be one of Joe Cariati’s hand blown and lovingly created Petite Decanters in Topaz.   The bottle demonstrates the great amount of care that set decorators Lydia Marks and Lee Sandales put into creating this film.

The sets are quite interesting, from what I understand, in the new film.  Michael Patrick King wanted to juxtapose color v. black/white – perhaps the past v. the future?  Or what’s good on paper v. what’s really good?

Carrie and Big’s apartment is designed to reflect how Carrie sees them as a couple, which apparently is very staid and defined with its dark furniture and dramatic wallpaper.  When the girls go to Dubai the sets (and the wardrobe) explode with color.  Very poetic and can’t wait to see!

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