Spaces that set trends on the big screen.
Swimming with sharks
1994 film, directed and written by George Huang, starring Frank Whaley and with Kevin Spacey as the antagonist.
Although without the best reviews, it is one of the films where we spend more time inside an office, in this particular case, a Hollywood agency, where a young rookie with great aspirations gives a twist to his terribly abusive boss and producer.
The film is a great example of offices just before the change of the century, but where the technological presence was already evident, with the typical and popular white Microsoft computers on wide veneered desks. The hierarchy was reflected in the office chairs, with the boss having the tallest model in black leather and the other employees using smaller, and undoubtable less comfortable, chairs.
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
1956 film, directed and written by Nunnally Johnson and starring the great Gregory Peck.
The Man in the Gray Suit is one of those movies that did not explode at the box office, but remained forever in the memory of those who watch it. The story is about an American man who seems to have everything someone his age needs to feel satisfied and successful, but one day his life is turned upside down when he discovers that he has a son, the result of an affair with a young Italian girl during World War II.
Watching this movie is a great way to transport yourself to what life was like as a mid 50’s office guy. At the time, offices were very limited in tech equipment; walls, desks and everything that could be, was veneered in wood. Even the chairs and the radios hardly stand out from the eye because few things try to break the color pattern of brown, some armchairs and telephones. Without a doubt, the favorite upholstery was black leather (synthetic or not).
Today, the first thing that comes to mind for retro viewers of The Man in the Gray Suit is how it is evident that Don Draper, from Mad Men, is strongly inspired by the protagonist of this film.
In The Loop
2009 English film, written and directed by Armando Iannucci, starring Peter Capaldi and Tom Hollander.
A satirical film where a group of skeptical British and Americans people try to prevent a war between the two countries. It was not a movie that made a lot of noise either, but it is worth watching, especially for the intelligent humor that it applies to a subject as delicate as war tensions between countries.
This film is a great way to compare office style in America and England, and it is a lot more recent compared to the movies mentioned above. In addition, the offices in the film are not the typical ones of commercial companies; in this case, we observe offices in political environments, where the decoration and furnishing codes are intrinsically different.