The Playboy Club In Space

Thanks to Kevin Lee Allen Design for sharing this amazing article and the accompanying illustrations of the Playboy Club in Space. While the concept of the club is totally Twenty-first Century, illustrator Thomas Tenery’s work was undoubtedly influenced by Twentieth Century art directors: Sir Ken Adam and Norman Reynolds; production designers John Barry, Harry Lange, Ernest Archer and Anthony Masters; as well as architect John Lautner.

Read the article and view the rest of the illustrations on

Thomas Tenery, Playboy Club in Space: Game Room (2012).


Ken Adam Interviews

Earlier this year, Design and Desire ran an article on renowned film art director Sir Ken Adam, whose credits include, Dr. Strangelove, Dr. No, Barry Lyndon and many others. If you enjoyed our post, Web of Stories has several dozen posted video interviews with Sir Adam.

In the clip here, Adam discusses the beginning of his career at Riverside Studios.

Read more about Sir Ken Adam.

Happy Birthday, Design & Desire!

Design and Desire in the Twentieth Century is celebrating its first birthday. The blog began as part of a class assignment for an online course in Social Media at Syracuse University’s iSchool. I had so much fun researching and writing about my love for Twentieth Century design that I kept on posting after the course ended.

In the past year D&D has covered topics as diverse as architecture of the Arts and Crafts Movement to the origins of the Coca Cola Santa Claus. Some of the artists and designers featured were: architect Louis Kahn, sculptor Isamu Noguchi, photographer Julius Shulman and film production designer Ken Adam, among others. I hope I’ve been successful in adding a human dimension to the design greats discussed.

Design and Desire has given me the opportunity to connect with some very interesting folks who share my passion for great design. I strongly suggest you take some time to check out their excellent and informative blogs:

•    Designslinger
•    DesignCrave
•    Aqua Velvet
•    Frank Lloyd Wright Newsblog
•    Josh Taylor Design
•    Fin de Siecle
•    Wood and Light

You may want to follow the additional blogs listed in the Blogroll on the right.
Sorry there’s no cake to celebrate with but here’s a photo of one that comes to us via Edward Lifson; it’s from the celebration held earlier this year, sponsored by the Mies van der Rohe Society, to commemorate the architect’s 125th birthday on March 28, 2011.


I sincerely want to thank all of you who’ve followed Design and Desire and enjoyed my blog. Please don’t hesitate to suggest ideas for future posts or just connect and say “Hello.” I’m so looking forward to another year of looking back at great design of the past century.

Bond, James Bond

We’re sharing an excellent post from one of our favorite blogs, Clothes on Film.  Guest blogger Matt Spaiser, creator of The Suits of James Bond, analyzes the world’s sharpest-dressed spy. Even if you’re not interested in fashion design, the post features several stunning stills of actor Sean Connery on production designer Ken Adam’s sets.

Sean Connery in a scene from the film “Dr. No” (1962).

Ken Adam Designing the Movies

Sir Ken Adam, the most influential film production designer of the last half of the twentieth century, is hardly a household name, yet it’s likely that his work is ingrained in your memory. While Adam designed sets for seven James Bond films, the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is by far his most memorable creation. Real life for Adam is almost as adventurous and glamorous as Mr. Bond’s.

Ken Adam on the War Room set of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Born in Germany, Klaus Hugo Adam settled in Britain with his family after fleeing the Nazis in 1934.  As a boy Adam knew he wanted to be a set designer after seeing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1). Adam’s mother ran a boarding house in London where the young man met the brother of director Alexander Korda, Vincent, an art director himself. It was Korda “who encouraged Adam’s cinematic aspirations and advised him to study architecture”(2).  

During World War II Adam served as a “pilot in the RAF, earning the distinction of being the only German national to fight for the allied force”(1). After leaving the military, Adam was employed at Riverside Studios as a draftsman and “later worked alongside Gone With the Wind production designer William Cameron Menzies, who encouraged Ken to use bold colors and stylized sets”(1). Prior to The Bond Films Adam’s projects included Sodom & Gomorrah, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1).

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