Fantasy House: the mid-century fashionable star of Tom Ford’s movie, A Single Man

By Hannah Williams

There’s a scene in Tom Ford’s 2009 movie A Single Man that I feel expresses a fantasy of contentment higher than the rest I’ve seen on movie. In it, George and Jim (performed by Colin Firth and Matthew Goode respectively) are of their lounge, sitting on both finish of the sofa, studying. Their ft are touching within the center, in order that they give the impression of being a bit of like the 2 pages of an open ebook, and between them is a bit of black and white canine; one other is sprawled on the ground subsequent to their footwear. The sunshine is mushy and amber, like sunshine filtered by way of leaves. Every man is wearing impartial colors, in concord with the wood panelling behind them and the books piled on the mid-century shelving behind Jim. No one else is required; no person else is needed. It’s a fantasy of excellent seclusion into which actual life can’t intrude.

The home, which served as each the outside and inside location for the movie, is the Schaffer Residence, designed by John Lautner in 1948. Made from redwood timber and floor-to-ceiling glass, the house has an plain fantastical facet about it, showing to retreat into the arms of the oaks and sycamores that encompass it. Its many home windows appear to develop into swimming pools of water that replicate the sky and the timber.

Colin Firth as George in ‘A Single Man’ within the LA residence designed by John Lautner

Within the Christopher Isherwood novel that the movie is predicated on, the writer hints regularly on the fairytale qualities of the couple’s residence, writing that they “beloved it since you may solely get to it by the bridge throughout the creek; the encircling timber and the steep bushy cliff behind shut it in like a home in a forest clearing [ . . .] Shaggy with ivy and darkish and secret-looking, it’s simply the lair you’d select for a imply outdated story-book monster”. Even the freeway — that is California, in spite of everything — stays hidden, as if it belongs to a unique world. It’s a home that’s open to its environment, it ought to reveal all, however, by way of some unusual magic, manages to hide all the pieces.

The Schaffer Residence’s real-life beginnings are supposedly simply as fairytale. The story goes that the Schaffer household got here to the world simply after the second world battle and used to picnic within the spot, which they beloved a lot that they requested Lautner to construct them a home below the timber. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not or not that is true; for a home that works so nicely because the setting for a narrative, it appears to suit. I really feel the identical approach in regards to the declare on the John Lautner web site that Frank Gehry and Frank Escher each depend the residence “amongst their absolute favorite houses” — who may know if that’s true? It’s merely a part of the mythos.

The home looks like an apparent match for a fantasy residence: it’s exceptionally stunning, after all, an architectural masterpiece near Los Angeles but within the mountains. However there are quite a lot of stunning houses in stunning locations. The actual fantasy provided by the Schaffer Residence is similar fantasy because the fairytale cottage; a spot during which the realities of the world can’t attain us, during which we’re completely at one with one another, with the home, with the timber and the sky exterior.


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