Maria Björnson's designs

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Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Scorp on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:32 pm

How do we not have a thread on this?! affraid

Thought I'd start it as there was a double page spread about this subject in a magazine in The Sunday Telegraph. The magazine was a Phantom special, but alas I didn't find out about it on time, and so accessed it online. Basically it was to promote Love Never Dies, but as I couldn't care less about that show, I'm not interested in posting all the other stuff. But here's the stuff on Maria and the original. Nothing majorly new, but I had no idea that she originally planned for the design to be entirely monochrome, drawing inspiration from German expressionist cinema.



P.S. Looks like that's the inside of JOJ's mask -- notice the initials written on the top left! Guess he didn't get to keep it then?

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:08 pm

In every forum, crashed forum and disappeared forum I've started up a topic about Bjørnson and her design for POTO, but last time POL crashed I just didn't want to spend +10 hours on creating yet another thread... So I'm glad someone else finally did!

I'm writing an article about the POTO design, and I've actually commented upon the use of the b/w colour scheme for several scenes, with only one or two objects in colour. The Auction is in b/w, as is the scenes in the Phantom's lair (apart from the light put on the smoke). As a contrast, all the mock operas + the Masquerade is an explosion of colours and glitter. I like that contrast. But like you, I never knew either that she wanted to do the whole thing in b/w (or monocrome)!

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Viscountess on Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:23 pm

operafantomet wrote:In every forum, crashed forum and disappeared forum I've started up a topic about Bjørnson and her design for POTO, but last time POL crashed I just didn't want to spend +10 hours on creating yet another thread... So I'm glad someone else finally did!

I'm writing an article about the POTO design, and I've actually commented upon the use of the b/w colour scheme for several scenes, with only one or two objects in colour. The Auction is in b/w, as is the scenes in the Phantom's lair (apart from the light put on the smoke). As a contrast, all the mock operas + the Masquerade is an explosion of colours and glitter. I like that contrast. But like you, I never knew either that she wanted to do the whole thing in b/w (or monocrome)!
Now that you mention it, isn't Notes I very b/w too?

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  justin-from-barbados on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:37 pm

oooh, I am very partial to Bjornson's designs, obviously, thought I'd post this pic of the Chandelier design, apparently original plans were to include bags of beads so they would scatter everywhere when the Chandelier hit the stage. Nice but totally impractical

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:48 pm

Viscountess wrote:
operafantomet wrote:In every forum, crashed forum and disappeared forum I've started up a topic about Bjørnson and her design for POTO, but last time POL crashed I just didn't want to spend +10 hours on creating yet another thread... So I'm glad someone else finally did!

I'm writing an article about the POTO design, and I've actually commented upon the use of the b/w colour scheme for several scenes, with only one or two objects in colour. The Auction is in b/w, as is the scenes in the Phantom's lair (apart from the light put on the smoke). As a contrast, all the mock operas + the Masquerade is an explosion of colours and glitter. I like that contrast. But like you, I never knew either that she wanted to do the whole thing in b/w (or monocrome)!
Now that you mention it, isn't Notes I very b/w too?
I'd say they're somewhere in between the b/w scenes and the colourful theatre scenes. The overall feeling is very b/w, especially "Notes I / Prima Donna". But the second managers has very colourful female costumes.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:05 pm

justin-from-barbados wrote:oooh, I am very partial to Bjornson's designs, obviously, thought I'd post this pic of the Chandelier design, apparently original plans were to include bags of beads so they would scatter everywhere when the Chandelier hit the stage. Nice but totally impractical

Wow, not surprised they jettisoned that idea--the cleanup crew would have had Maria's head less than two months into the run!

I'd never really considered the limited color palette Bjornson used in so many of the key scenes, but that may be why I found the movie so garish--I much prefer the relatively muted elegance of the stage version. Kind of like Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast--there's a simplicity and magic in black and white that just can't be captured any other way.

~LCD

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Scorp on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:53 pm

justin-from-barbados wrote:oooh, I am very partial to Bjornson's designs, obviously, thought I'd post this pic of the Chandelier design, apparently original plans were to include bags of beads so they would scatter everywhere when the Chandelier hit the stage. Nice but totally impractical

Did you get that from those sketches included in the book called British Theatre Design? I learnt some strange stuff from there, including the idea that the chandelier was originally to rise out of the orchestra pit!

Something random I found out today: seems Björnson had a flurry of offers to work in commercial non-opera theatre following Phantom. Between her work for Phantom and Aspects, she also did the design for a revival of Sondheim's Follies in 1987.

And Justin, I keep meaning to ask this, but I think you should either hijack this thread or create another to talk about your amazing looking set model...I'm in awe and want to know how on earth you did it!

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  justin-from-barbados on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:16 am

It's so strange looking that mask, looks textured from the back, like it it was pressed leather like the movie one, I always thought they used plastic, unless the plastic has those marks to help it stay put.

I could talk more about the model but i dont want to hikack the thread or start up a new one going on and on about it. I'm just glad that I found a group that can appreciate what it is, no one i know here knows anything about Phantom.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  MasqPhan on Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:09 am

justin-from-barbados wrote: I could talk more about the model but i dont want to hikack the thread or start up a new one going on and on about it. I'm just glad that I found a group that can appreciate what it is, no one i know here knows anything about Phantom.
]

What about putting it here (click for link) in the Phantom Creative Corner? Your miniature set is pretty kick butt awesome and deserves to be somewhere. I'd love to hear all about its creation.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:51 am

justin-from-barbados wrote:It's so strange looking that mask, looks textured from the back, like it it was pressed leather like the movie one, I always thought they used plastic, unless the plastic has those marks to help it stay put.

They do use plastic, and yes--that is leather on the backside. The leather has a two-fold purpose: It covers the wire and it makes it more comfortable for the wearer. What marks are you talking about though?

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:26 am

phantomfett wrote:
justin-from-barbados wrote:It's so strange looking that mask, looks textured from the back, like it it was pressed leather like the movie one, I always thought they used plastic, unless the plastic has those marks to help it stay put.

They do use plastic, and yes--that is leather on the backside. The leather has a two-fold purpose: It covers the wire and it makes it more comfortable for the wearer. What marks are you talking about though?
Not only does it make it more comfortable, it also absorbs moist. With the face towards the plastic, the sweat would be running already during the first act...

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  justin-from-barbados on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:56 pm

phantomfett wrote:
justin-from-barbados wrote:It's so strange looking that mask, looks textured from the back, like it it was pressed leather like the movie one, I always thought they used plastic, unless the plastic has those marks to help it stay put.

They do use plastic, and yes--that is leather on the backside. The leather has a two-fold purpose: It covers the wire and it makes it more comfortable for the wearer. What marks are you talking about though?

You know now that you mention that, I do remember hearing about the leather backing

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Paula74 on Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:42 pm

justin-from-barbados wrote:
phantomfett wrote:
justin-from-barbados wrote:It's so strange looking that mask, looks textured from the back, like it it was pressed leather like the movie one, I always thought they used plastic, unless the plastic has those marks to help it stay put.

They do use plastic, and yes--that is leather on the backside. The leather has a two-fold purpose: It covers the wire and it makes it more comfortable for the wearer. What marks are you talking about though?

You know now that you mention that, I do remember hearing about the leather backing

I definitely remember seeing the (sweaty, smudgy) leather lining inside the mask. I assumed it was for comfort...plastic would chafe without some sort of lining.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  meglett on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:28 pm

Viscountess wrote:
operafantomet wrote:In every forum, crashed forum and disappeared forum I've started up a topic about Bjørnson and her design for POTO, but last time POL crashed I just didn't want to spend +10 hours on creating yet another thread... So I'm glad someone else finally did!

I'm writing an article about the POTO design, and I've actually commented upon the use of the b/w colour scheme for several scenes, with only one or two objects in colour. The Auction is in b/w, as is the scenes in the Phantom's lair (apart from the light put on the smoke). As a contrast, all the mock operas + the Masquerade is an explosion of colours and glitter. I like that contrast. But like you, I never knew either that she wanted to do the whole thing in b/w (or monocrome)!
Now that you mention it, isn't Notes I very b/w too?
Yes it is. With the exception of the blue/yellow drapes and the manager's desk. You could do a whole in-depth character analysis on what that character is wearing in the scene. I actually heard that Meg wasn't suppose to be in the Notes 1 scene, until they saw too much black on stage and wanted a little bit of color for that scene. Laughing

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:47 pm

meglett wrote:Yes it is. With the exception of the blue/yellow drapes and the manager's desk. You could do a whole in-depth character analysis on what that character is wearing in the scene. I actually heard that Meg wasn't suppose to be in the Notes 1 scene, until they saw too much black on stage and wanted a little bit of color for that scene. Laughing
Now doesn't that make you feel precious... Laughing

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Scorp on Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:39 pm

justin-from-barbados wrote:
I could talk more about the model but i dont want to hikack the thread or start up a new one going on and on about it.

Well, that's too bad, because you have no choice. Razz Especially after you've become Vegas' 'Phan of the Month': http://phantomvegasoffers.com/newsletters/022310/phan_month.html

You're teasing me! I want to know how you made it!

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:35 pm

Hey! Congrats with being fan of the month!

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  justin-from-barbados on Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:17 pm

Oh wow, thanks, pity it doesn't come with show and air tickets, lol. But I am so happy about that.

I'd like to do a proper website about the model, but I'm so busy at work to even do much work on it.

Basically, it's my second model, the first was smaller (think a little bit bigger than lego scale). This one is about GI-Joe scale (1 inch = 2 feet). The main structure is wood frames and ply wood to block out the light. The front of house is all plastic and cardboard bent into shape. Where I work I have access to thin bendy plastic that you would make a sign from and a machine to engrave patterns and cut it. The side boxes use columns for a wedding cake, lol.

So far I have only been able to do the "hard" scenery using the plastic. Things like the basic black drops, wings, portcullis, arch, travelator, opera boxes, graveyard.

No soft drops yet, started working on Hannibal but those will be hard because I have to redraw andpaint those by hand (unless I can find a good photo of each drop) after painting i have to scan those in and print them digitally on the fabric. I am still suprised they still hand paint those, I would think in this day and age they could do one largeish painting for each drop, say 4x6, scan it and digitally print the drop to any size.

anyways, when I get to do more I will update my flikr page

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:13 pm

Hey! Anyone knows who's updating Maria Bjørnson's official site?


Cause... Shocked It links back to my costume site. And Justin's set models.

Bottom of this page: http://mariabjornson.com/phantom.html



*Is very surprised. But also super honoured and... just.... very happy*

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Paula74 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:19 pm

operafantomet wrote:Hey! Anyone knows who's updating Maria Bjørnson's official site?


Cause... Shocked It links back to my costume site. And Justin's set models.

Bottom of this page: http://mariabjornson.com/phantom.html



*Is very surprised. But also super honoured and... just.... very happy*

That's awesome. And you really deserve that sort of recognition for all of your research.


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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  ML6 on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:45 pm

Both of you deserve this amazing 'credit'. Smile Because you both go into so much crazy and beautiful detail with your works. Smile Maria would be proud, be if she was still alive.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Raphael on Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:52 am

operafantomet wrote:Hey! Anyone knows who's updating Maria Bjørnson's official site?


Cause... Shocked It links back to my costume site. And Justin's set models.

Bottom of this page: http://mariabjornson.com/phantom.html



*Is very surprised. But also super honoured and... just.... very happy*
Very VERY awesome Very Happy

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Madame Giry on Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:56 am

Congrats to Anea and Justin! You guys really do deserve it for all of your devotion to preserving and replicating Maria's creative vision. Well done!

~Madame~

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:00 am

It really is waaaay to awesome. My jaw dropped when I saw it! But seriously, who IS updating the site? Originally I though it was RUG, but I'm starting to wonder now...

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  justin-from-barbados on Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:50 pm

Oh wow, they asked if they could link to my site ages ago, I am glad they finally did.

I did not get the impression that RUG has anything to do with it at all.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  MasqPhan on Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:14 pm

That's so awesome that they are noting your sites on the Bjornson site. What an honour. The projects you both do are so wonderful that they deserve to be noticed.

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  IamErik771 on Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:47 pm

Congrats to both Anéa and Justin! You definitely deserve this honor for your hard work and great attention to detail. Very Happy

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  Scorp on Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:11 pm

Just finished reading the special issue of The Scenographer that's dedicated to Maria Bjørnson and that operafantomet recommended to me. Some nice tributes from Hal Prince and Cameron Mackintosh in there, and also from Martin Hayes, who was the production manager of the London production when it opened in '86.

I found this little snippet quite interesting, purely because the boat scene is my favourite scene in Phantom:

"The Opéra was, naturally, the main inspiration, with its lake in the basement. "What I loved was the big circular descent that was like going into the subconscious. I started with a straight staircase. From there I got the idea of the lantern with striations in it and from there we got the idea of the striations as a way of lighting the whole thing." The glamorous sinister set for the lake had another beginning. "I had seen a picture of Venice that had reflections in the water and that is where I got the idea of the candles." Maria, like many designers, was inspired by other artists (Munch and Escher for Kàt'a, Ingres for Camille . Perhaps the picture she remembered was actually the beginning of the Venice sequence of the Powell and Pressburger Tales of Hoffmann , designed by Heine Heckroth."

Has anyone got images from the Contes d'Hoffmann which show this reflected-lights-in-Venice thing?

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:55 am

All the Maria Bjørnson sites seems to be offline.... They've been that for a while. Anyone knows why? I contacted the MB archive to ask why, but never got a reply. Sometimes I can access parts of the sites, but mostly I get the 403 and 404 error message. Anyone else who can access the sites or knows what's going on?

http://mariabjornson.com/
http://www.maria-bjornson.info/home.html

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

Post  operafantomet on Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:01 pm

I though this was the best place to post this info. I got my new German program today, and boooo it was from 1993 and not 1992. I had that 1993 one already. But anyway, it's a lovely program, with costume design and rare Renée Knapp/Tim Tobin pictures. It also has a nice credit list over props and costumes. Here's some names:

The elephant in Hamburg was made in the Stephen Pyle Workshop in London. I think they also did the proscenium (portal... means gate, either the portocullis or the proscenium?).

*Ken Creasey Ltd. did the curtains and drapes.
*Shoes came from Anello and Davide in London.
*Hats from J. Adey and L. Scott
*Wigs for dummies from W. Farrier, London



Similar list from Stockholm:

*The Phantom's mask and make up: Horst Stadlinger
*Dyeing and adding patina to costumes: Lotta Rudman
*Paint: Scenografi & Interör Design and more
*Sculptures: Kalle Torstensson, Rune Wall
*Props: My Lefler, Bibbi Björk
*Proscenium, elephant and Masquerade dummies: Stephen Pyle Workshop (guess I answered my own question there)
*Drapes: Ken Creasey LTD London (as in Hamburg)
*Throne and monkey musical box: Michael Whiteley Associates
*Shoes: Gamba
*Shirts: Dometakis

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Re: Maria Björnson's designs

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