On Design: Room Design

Art and Literature, Culture, Update & News


“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society. When visitors came in larger and unexpected numbers there was but the third chair for them all, but they generally economized the room by standing up. It is surprising how many great men and women a small house will contain”

from Walden (1854) by  Henry David Thoreau.

More than a week ago, I wrote about designing book covers (Read here), and at the end of the article, I refereed to my room and promised to write and suggest some tips about designing your room, I got a few email asking for the article, bust watching Football kept me away, now,  the World Cup is over (I was cheering for Argentina, but it wasn’t to be), I got some hours of spare time, so here is how I planned and designed my room:

In Winter Time

In Winter Time

As I mentioned in the previous article; designing a book cover is not much different from designing your room,  or as a matter of fact; in designing anything that exist in nature, there are a few elements you have to consider; Space, Objects, Layout, Theme, Colors, and Time.

Having a deep passion for cinema, I wanted my room to become like an inside of a theater, the reason for that is because I use the room mostly to watch film and write, and in order for one to feel comfortable in an environment, one must reshape that environment to one’s liking and taste, only then can one become creative and feel comfortable.

One of the question that I’m always asked as to why I choose the color Red as the primarily color for the room? I chose is for the simple reason that it is my favorite color, and also; by its nature, Red is an active color, it attract the eye, move and animate one, but to balance the Red, the second color that I have used it Black, almost every object that I choose to decorate the room has a tone of black to it; from the DVD/Book Shelves, to the wood on the door, tables, furniture and even the frame of the posters on the wall, Black is the secondary color.

I like to think that I have divided the room into Seven different parts, each function independently from other in term of its suggestive layout, rather an abstract notion to explain, but I will try my best to point out the reason I divided the room into Seven parts:



1. Passion for Cinema: When you walk into the room, the first think you encounter is a collection of Film Posters on the wall (Read about my selection of Posters here), there are a total of 38 Film Posters, they are my favorite films from my favorite directors, I have designed some of the posters myself, others I have collected, some were given as a gift by friends (thanks Ruben), and I have printed most of them. The frame are made of wood, all in the same style; black. In a way, one side of the room is almost like a small wall on a museum to be looked at.



“Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”
― from Walden (1854) by  Henry David Thoreau.

Tolstoy standout about the rest

Tolstoy standout about the rest

2. DVD and Book Collection: On the other side of the wall, hang floating shelves, therefore taking very little space, for now; space are filling up, which mean in the future, I might have to add more shelves at the bottom of it. So far; it hold more than 720 DVD cases (total of 3330 DVDs in them), and more than 200 book. Although I primarily collect DVDs from Criterion, Master of Cinema, and other known publishing label, I also have large quantity of Film that I brought back from the States with only the disk and no cases, a reason that I decided to display the DVDs by directors and countries, for example; I have the complete works of Hitchcocks both on DVDs and Blu-rays, for the blu-rays they are in their own cases, but for the DVDs, I have combined many film into one case, therefore saving space, same is true for Soviet cinema; I managed to display one hundreds years of Soviet films into at total of 96 DVDs cases, there are total of 645 DVDs in those 96 cases.


Film Posters: Boris Barnet’s By the Bluest of Seas and more…

Culture, Film Diary, Update & News

I used to have fun making fake covers for the Criterion Collection years ago, looking over hundreds of posters and trying to re-design them, but when it came to choosing 38 posters to decorate my room, it was the hardest task of choosing, how can one chose among hundreds of favorite films, only 38 posters?

By the Bluest of Seas / Self Design

It took me almost two week to decide upon the 38 posters, and among those 38, there was one film that had no poster to be found for, that was Boris Barnet’s By the Bluest of Seas (1936), one of my top ten favorite film. I shouldn’t say that there no poster for the film, there is a terrible design for its Russian dvd release in low quality. The reason that one can hardly find a poster from a Boris Barnet film is because Barnet is among the forgotten masters of the Soviet cinema, only two of his films have been released on DVD, Outskirts and The Girl with the Hatbox, and rarely any of his film were ever released in the theater as of recent . After a long search and no luck at finding a poster, I decided to make my own design,  copying the criterion cover for Ozu’s Late Spring.

Late Spring / Criterion Collection Design

The reason I had to have a poster of By the Bluest of Seas is because it is film that one never get tired of watching it, I’m simply in love with the film, it almost has a magical power over the viewer in recalling its rich images days, weeks, month, even years after the first encounter with it, that power is  best explored in this short essay by Nicole Brenez (short video below).

A film that is rich in imagery, lyricism, poetry, beauty, conflict and lovable characters  in a triangular love affair is best to have a poster that express all that, so it was no surprise to chose a similar design to that of Late Spring.

Lyricism of The Ocean

The lyricism is the ocean, always in the move, once I tried to count the shots of the Sea in the film, from the opening shot onward, I gave up after counting to 52, that is how much the Sea is present in the film, the sea is the face of the film, and the wave cover the upper half of the poster.

Poem of Love

What is poetry? Word in space. What is cinematic poetry? Image in time. The lower half of the poster is image in time as it is captured from the film.

Poem in Conflict

Between the love of Mariya and Alyosha is not only Yussuf, but also her fiance solider, whom we hear about but never see, she reject both Alyosha and Yussuf for a solider far away on a mission.

Poem of the Sea

Lyricism in everyday life

 The conflict in the film, unattainable love with barriers between the lovers. What is best to describe that, than split the image of Mariya and Alyosha, and in between, the conflicting imagery.

The choices were by directors, rather than choosing their best film, I choice my favorite film, take Francois Truffaut, his best work is no doubt, The 400 Blows, but my favorite film from Truffaut is La chambre verte. Some directors got more than one film, Godard and Ozu each got two. Some didn’t make the list due mostly for not being able to find a higher resolution images of the films that I wanted to print, not to mention that I only had 38 poster to chose from. Almost every single one of them is being fixed some way or another in  Photoshop, some text have been added to few of the posters.

On the Wall. Size of each is 70 cm by 45 cm:

True Heart Susie (D.W. Griffith, 1919)
Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1921
The General (Buster Keaton), 1927)
Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
The Crowd (King Vidor, 1928)
City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931)

The Man I Killed (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)
The Only Son (Yasujiro Ozu, 1936)
There Was A Father (Yasujiro Ozu, 1942)
By the Bluest of Seas (Boris Barnet, 1936)
Germany Year Zero (Roberto Rossellini, 1947)
The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)

Good Sam (Leo McCarey, 1948)
The River (Jean Renoir, 1951)
The Big Sky (Howard Hawks, 1952)
The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)
Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
Ordet (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1955)

A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1956)
Seven Men from Now (Budd Boetticher, 1956)
Night Of The Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1959)

Nazarin (Luis Bunuel, 1959)
Accatone (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1961)
8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963)
Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
Kes (Ken Loach, 1969)
Punishment Park (Peter Watkins, 1970)

Fat City (John Huston, 1972)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah, 1974)
Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1974)
La chambre verte (Francois Truffaut, 1978)
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
Close-up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)

The following two: 100 cm by 70 cm:

Pierrot Le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
Yol (Yilmaz Guney, 1981)

Many lyrical images from from By the Bluest of the Seas couldn’t make the final poster, nor did many of my favorite posters made it to my wall. Below are the images and the poster that were left out: