This is the front room of the Paris Apothecary. The Art dept. and Set Dec departments did major research to try and make this as accurate as possible, and yes the alligator was really used. We we found 18th Century etchings that showed the alligators hanging from the ceiling. This was the period of the Enlightenment and people were interested in all things from foreign lands. More photos to come.
Close up detail of the bottom center panel of parlor pilasters. The same detail is at the top of the pilaster and on each side of the center medallion.
I found this image last year on some blog and I just Love it!! Sorry I don’t know the Artist. You might think what the hell does that have to do with Outlander? Well, to keep this blog from getting boring for You and mostly Me, I will be throwing images that move or touch me in some way. But to be truthful I see tons of Symbols, Sacred geometry and Alchemy that we have used in sets through out Outlander. You know which ones I am talking about. I like everyone else in the world find Stunning images on blogs and Tumblr. It’s a great place for inspiration for up and coming Designers!
This is a close up the center detail of the french molding detail on the pilaster. The scenic artist paint it with three or four layers of paint, glazes and tinted rubbing wax. They do a brilliant job!
This is the point of the sets being built when it really all comes together and takes shape!!! It is when the artisans from Construction, Plaster and Paint put their final touches on the set. This photo is a detail of one of the Pilasters with a corinthian column capital. The Pilaster would be built like a tall box in the construction shop. The plaster men would cast the column capitals and the french moldings and apply them to the pilaster. Then the carpenters would add all the different moldings. The crown moldings would be cast and added to the top of the walls. Then scenic artists would do their magic!
Now I am going to show you some of the Architectural Details of the Paris Apartment. I already showed you one of the boards with the different french moldings that we used. Now I will show you close-up details and explain some of the process. Do you know I went to a five year Architecture program and I don’t think wood or plaster moldings were ever discussed? You kinda have to learn about that on your own, or from the different jobs you work on. Using different moldings is one very good way to set the period and tone for your Film or TV Set. Just so you know I had a couple of teachers telling me they were showing this blog to students to show them a bit of the behind the scenes making of sets to inspire beginner designers in theatre and film. Which is exciting!
This photo is included because it is beautiful and Gold… I will be posting lots of images that I find inspiring. You might think what does that have to do with Outlander, and I am trying to show up and coming designers that you are inspired by EVERYTHING! Sometimes it is a painting, sculpture, photograph or maybe just someone that passes you by on the street…..just something to thing about, because we are all Artists…Aren’t we?
This shows just one board of some of the beautiful french rococo molding that we used in the Paris Apartment. I will have to say that picking moldings is one of the really fun parts of the Production Designer, Art Directors or Set Designers jobs!!!! It is like toys for adults, we love them though they aren’t cheap. Most of these came from a supplier in Chicago. The plaster men would make many many cast of each to cover the walls of the sets.
This is one of the hundreds of books that we used in the Art & Set Decoration Department for inspiration and research. As I have said before lots of people in the Art department are always researching for the continuous upcoming sets. We use research from books, magazines, tons of Feature films and TV shows, google on line and just LIFE itself!
This photo is to show you all the great detail that the carpenters and plaster men put into the Paris Apartment sets! This is my favorite time during the set building, everything is almost finished being built, floors are done and covered for protection, the moldings and pilasters are all finished and painted, now to glaze and age the walls then Gina Cromwell the Set Decorator brings in all the amazing furnishings. Then they light and shoot the show.
This is me going over the set models with the Creator/Writer of the Outlander books (Diana Gabaldon) and the Creator/Writer of the Show Outlander.
This is the only photo I can find of the mirrored daybed pocket doors. Each mirrored door slides into the pocket in the wall. The mirrors are made to pivot so the Director of photography and their lighting team can pivot them to not see cameras or lights. I love using mirrors on sets but some DP’s do….some don’t.
This beautiful painting is called “The Kiss of The Sphinx”, by Franz Von Stuck. Painted in 1895. I love this painting and just included it to inspire others.
This beautiful photo was a Starz photo shoot of Sam and Cait in the Paris daybed. The back wall was removed and a window was added to have light fall on the Actors faces. Gina Cromwell our brilliant Set Decorator did a great job with all the draperies and furniture in the Paris apartment as always. The Actors, Costumes and Sets look pretty good together.
This is a wall in Cafe Florian in Venice Italy. This was part of the inspiration for the walls inside of the Paris apartment daybed.It is a stunningly beautiful restaurant!
This photo shows the outer part of the daybed almost finished. The mirrored pocket doors will be added next. The interior walls were made in the construction shop and then carried down to Stage A to be installed, moldings added and then painted. The floors were finished and will be aged later.
This is a close up photo of the finished daybed. I wanted to show you the back wall which is covered with golden bronze silk,blue mirror squares and gold moldings. I wanted the mirrors to be blue because I knew that Gina and I were using several blue velvets and silks. I also wanted it to be different than the silver mirror pocket doors on the daybed. We were try to make it very sexy, I think it worked out pretty well. I will try to find a photo of the mirrored doors closed.
I am including this piece of sculpture because Everyone need a little Gold!!! Bronze sculpture by Bob Clyatt, 2014.
I think this photo of a daybed is inside Versailles? I like it but it I think the mirrors are too large for our set because it would show the camera’s and lights.
This is a beautiful sketch of an 18th century daybed that I found on some blog. I am sorry I don’t know the artist, but it is beautiful!
This is one of several daybed research that I will show you.I like this one but I wanted mirrors inside to reflect the chandeliers in the apartment parlor, I wanted this room to be as decadent as we could afford!
This photo shows the beginning of the Paris Apartment daybed. The plaster men are adding the crown moldings. They already have one layer of paint and will be glazed and aged later. In the next several photos I will show you the progress of the daybed and some inspiration photos.
This is the Jamie & Claire Paris Apartment daybed. As you can tell I like doing built-in beds and daybeds. We have had them in black Jack Randall’s sleeping quarters, Inn’s and assorted other sets. The reason is they really did use them a lot in the 18th century and I like the way it looks and it is an elegant piece of built in furniture that can add a lot to the set. I can see the way Actors and crew respond to them.
This one was built so that Claire could be sitting in the daybed at parties in their apartment and look out toward her guest. The back had a wide panel that swung out so that a camera could be placed there to shoot over claire to the rest of the apartment.
That’s the last image for the Star Chamber…
This is Claire being forced by King Louis to judge the two men.
The camera men were up at the top looking down thru the dome to actors below.
This is a test of how all the fire braziers will look in the Star Chamber.
This shows the finished set with cast. They look great in there!
onto our walls then put gold moldings surrounded each one.
The walls in the Star Chamber were covered with 16th Century etchings of sacred geometry. we had this printed on canvas and stretched and tacked onto our walls then put gold moldings surrounded each one.
These are the secret doors to the Star Chamber from the King Louis’ private bed chamber. The etching on the door panels is of sacred geometry from the 16th Century.
This is a photo of the Rams head basin fountains. They are copies of the real ones at Versailles.
All of this was made by prop makers, plaster men and construction.
We debated on how to do the floor for a while, I wanted a bronze copy of a
astrolabe in the center of the floor. I also wanted a bronze ring surrounding the ring on the floor underneath the dome and bronze markers for North, South, East and West quadrants.
We talked about having it hand painted, talked about real black and white marble? Our amazing graphics man Brendan Hessle worked out the design on his computer and we ended up having all the black and white marble and symbols printed on giant sheets of sticky back vinyl. The bronze pieces of the center and outer ring were built out of wood and done as inlay into the floor. It worked because it only had to play for a week or so.
Different symbols of alchemy.
More alchemy symbols.
Symbols of sacred geometry.
We had tons of research on sacred geometry, alchemy, astrology and astronomy.
I will come back and write more on this later….
The finished plaster dome with the crown moldings with dentil moldings surrounding the bottom of the dome.
In classical architecture a dentil is a small block used as a repeating ornament in the crown mold.
The four corner columns with niches are just being added.
This is one of the first images that I put on a mood board for the Star Chamber.
This shows the finished plaster dome of the Star Chamber hanging on the pipe dome rig.
Now the rest of the walls will be brought in by construction.
The light on this location is really great and we wanted something like this but with smaller shafts of light since our space was so much smaller.
This show one of the plaster cast dome pieces.
This is four pieces of the plaster dome pieces attached and later this will be attached to the pipe dome rigged above.
This image shows the structure that the carpenters and plaster men built to start the process of casting the plaster pieces of the plaster dome of the Star Chamber.
This image shows how the plaster men have spread out the plaster on the rig they built. They cast twelve different pieces…I think. LOL
This image show Alex King our plaster man on far left, Neville Kidd one of our Brilliant Directors of photography and Andy the plaster man to the right.
The lower part of the image shows about six pieces of the plaster dome attached together. The upper part of the image shows the structural pipe dome rigged above the plaster half dome.
The plaster dome will be attached to the pipe dome and hoisted above the rest of the set. I know it sounds confusing, and this was the first time I have ever built a dome? Well we all know I didn’t build it…the Plaster men and Construction did a truly amazing job!!!!
This is the crazy model of the Star Chamber. There were a few jokes about it looking like a spaceship ready to take off. This model was built by Jasper and Gillie. They built the model then we tried all sorts of different images to go on the walls.
This is when Claire is walking into King Louis’ Secret Star Chamber, I will tell more about the details later…
A beautiful ruin…
I saw this photo on a blog…Does that not look like the Stars in the Sky…
I love it!
An Astrolabe a sort of computer of the ancients. Some of these tools were created over two thousand years ago when people thought the earth was the center of the universe. Movable components on the astrolabe are then set to a specific time and date and then the sky is represented on the face of the instrument. This instrument was mainly used to make astronomical measurements, typically of the altitudes of celestial bodies, and in navigation for calculating latitude, before the development of the sextant.
More inspirational photo research…
The beginning of the STAR CHAMBER!!!!!
The carpenters and riggers built this frame out of pipes for the dome which they will attach the pieces of the plaster dome.
I have kept this image for years because I love it.
I don’t know where it comes from…
I don’t think Anyone can look at that and not think there is some Magic going on!!!
Ok this is by far my favorite set!!! People kinda though it was a crazy idea at first, but sometimes you have to push the envelope. I will try to show lots of photos of the making of this set. I think carpenters, scenic artist and plaster department all got a kick out this one.
Good night, I am going to bed…JGS
I don’t know who drew this but I like it!
Jamie and Claire.
Amazing twisted bodies in sculpture, a masterpiece by Giambologna (1579-1583) called Ratto delle Sabine. It was carved from a single block of marble.
Jamie gazing at a stunning Claire in her Red Dress…
A still life in red.
The finished Paris Apartment staircase.
Another angle of steps.
Love this spiraling tower sculpture.
Just a cool shot of stairs being built.
I just love this great little piece of sculpture…
I am including a lot of these images to show young up and coming designers of any and everything that you can get inspiration from many many things that you would not normally think about.
When I was in Architecture school one of the instructors said that if we can teach you to have a “good eye” or a good sense of design, once you leave this five year program for Architecture You can design Anything.
Not just Architecture but shoes, stores, jewelry, plates, cars…Anything!
The bottom part of the curving staircase.
I love the turning of the body in this sculpture!
Pieces of the staircase….
The back walls of Paris Apartment Staircase.
This is a detail of staircase in the Arc de Triomphe, all these images are just damn good research!
A great detail of Snake and Apple that I saw in France….
The Golden Ratio is known as the divine proportion, golden mean or golden section.
This is the 1/4in. scale model of the Paris Apartment. Staircase is the oval shape room in the front.
Blue Cobbles……Cause I like it!
Jamie on his horse in Paris Courtyard.
Jamie & Claire’s carriage entering the Paris Apartment Courtyard.
Claire in Paris Apt. Parlor looking over balcony railing to courtyard below.
More stamping cobble molds into concrete. It actually looks kinda fun…But of course it’s hard work!
The plaster men putting the cobble molds down then stamping them into the concrete.
I though you all would enjoy seeing a few photos of how the cobbles were made. Our main Plaster Man Alex King sent me a few photos to share with you. First they pour the concrete into the giant 40ft. X 40ft. form of the court. Next all the plaster men spread out the concrete, then they place the molds that they made of real cobbles on top of the concrete. Next they stamp the molds into the concrete then pull them off and let set for three or four days….and VOILA instant 18th century cobbles!
Another view of Paris Apartment court wall. Behind these walls are the Master Raymond Apothecary Front entrance door. The interior of the Apothecary is built on another stage.
This is Nicki McCallum our Amazing supervising Art Director on the balcony overlooking the court.
This is Jamie & Claire’s paris Apartment courtyard. Behind these triple arches were two wall fountains and a center bronze colored door. This was the look for apt court, when the court played as the market entrance to Master Raymond’s Apothecary the fountains and bronze door and the walls they are attached to were removed and the set for the entry to the Apothecary were prebuilt and standing behind the fountain walls. As I have said before everything gets used and reused and reworked to save money and time.
This photo shows how we dressed up the court for vendors selling their wares, I think this was for the scene where they are getting ready for the big dinner party with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
This photo show the arches that lead to exterior front door of the Apothecary entrance. To save money we built the entry into the Apothecary in same court as the Jamie & Claire courtyard. The walls behind the arches had two different looks and the court would be redress for each. I will show photos of that soon.
Another shot of the cobbles being poured.
A behind the scenes shot of the Jamie and Claire’s carriage and horses in the court. One of the main reasons I wanted to build the courtyard was so that the directors and directors of photography could show Jamie and Claire enter the court and then follow them thru the front door and up the grand staircase and right into their Paris Parlor.
Jamie and Claires carriage. Set Decorator Gina Cromwell rented this carriage from London, had our drapery men reupholster the whole interior and prop builders did work on the body of the carriage then scenic artist repainted the whole thing.
This photo show the different stone work the carpenters and the plaster team have added in the Paris Apartment Court. Once this is done the Scenic artist come in to start the many layers of paint and aging. Then we stand back and look at it and decide if it needs more aging or not. Sometimes we add built in shadowing to help with the look.
This photo shows the Plaster men and Carpenters pouring the concrete into forms of the courtyard space.
The plaster men bought many different sizes of cobbles and we looked at all of them and then picked what we thought looked the most like 18th century Paris streets. Then Alex the plaster man extraordinaire made a 4ft.x4ft. layout of the cobbles and then made a mold of this and then they stamped the concrete to make our court look like a real 18th century Parisian cobbled courtyard.They did a great job.
More Courtyard walls going up. Notice the wooden joist/I beams that are sticking out from the three french door cutout area, these will hold up the balcony for Claire and Jamie to walk out onto and overlook the court. I think I this point we had already poured the concrete cobbles but they are cover with plastic and I will talk about that more later.
This photo show the carpenters bringing prebuilt walls into the Paris Apartment courtyard. A lot of the time the carpenters will have multiple walls being built in the construction department, it sometimes looks like a factory. Then the will load up the walls and truck them to the stages. Then they will place they walls and start putting on all the beautiful detail work.
This is the outside walls of the Paris apartment set, the oval section is the staircase. All the metal pipes are put up by the rigging team, these are put up on the outside of the set to make all the walls and ceiling pieces structurally sound. The metal grid also give light crew something to rig all the lighting equipment to.The ramp to the left is for crew and camera access, this way cameras and prop carts and equipment can be easily rolled up to the different apartment rooms.
The outside walls of the Paris Apartment set.
I am going to try to explain the process of sets being designed and built for Outlander.
Myself, Nicki (Supervising Art Director) Gina (Set Decorator) and many different people in the art department do research for all the different sets and locations.
I am going to talk about our Supervising Art Director Nicki McCallum for just a second, I always say she is the glue that holds the whole damn Art Dept together or that she is like my right arm! I think she has the hardest job of all! She really keeps all departments Art,Set,Props,Construction,Plaster & Paint running and churning out all our sets.
She has an Amazing eye and I love her for all that she does for me!!!
First Ron Moore the creator of the show and the show runner will give the department heads outlines of the scripts that he and the other Writer/Producers are working on. I will read these and start sketching up ideas for each of the new sets. Sometimes it will be a sketch, sometimes it will be a rough floor plan of the set and I hand it to one of the set designers/drafts persons.
We have had several set designers, but one named Caireen Todd has been with us since the first weeks of season one. Caireen has a great eye and always does a phenomenal job on each of the sets! Our other permanent set designer is Alan and he has also done an amazing job.
The set designers will do a quick layout and that gets handed to Jasper and Choloe our model builders.
I love working with 1/4inch =1ft.scale models. I find they are such a great design tool. I always like to start with a rough model so that I can look at the proportions and see what changes should be made. I always ask for a very rough model because the model builders always think the models are going to be displayed at he Lourve,LOL. Sometimes the models get cut up and pieces moved around to make the set as interesting as possible with the budget we have. Then the set designers will rework the drawings and make all changes then a bigger, better model will be made.
The next step is Ron will come to look at drawings and models for approval. Once that is done the set designers do all the detailed drawings, they get handed to Danny Sumsion our Amazing Construction Coordinator. Danny then works up the budgets and hands out sets of drawings to the heads of each department for Construction,Scenic and Plaster. And then the real fun begins…..
This photo shows the empty stage before the Paris apartment starts going up. The first season we had two stages and the second season we had four. Each stage is always completely full.
This photo shows the steel columns going up. Jamie and Claire’s parlor/living room, dining room, bedroom that will be on the second level overlooking the central courtyard. I designed it so the courtyard walls which are close to 30 feet tall are the backing walls for the french windows of each room of the set. The courtyard wall are better than a painted or printed backing for the windows…Basically we are trying to make it look as real as possible and give the Directors and camera men the option of following the actors from outside in the court into the Paris apartment.
This is the back walls of Paris Apartment. You can see in the center on the ground floor the beginning of the arched walls of the courtyard.
This is the Jamie and Claire Paris Apartment built on stage in Glasgow Scotland. These Paris sets couldn’t have been done with out the help of Supervising Art Director Nicki McCallum, Set Decorator Gina Cromwell, Assistant Set Dec. Stuart Byrce, Construction Cordinator Danny Sumsion, Scenic Artist Bettina Scheibe, Plasterman Alex King. They all did such an amazing job and each are Artist in their own right! I thank them all for their amazing work!!