a couple weeks ago I set out with a mission to locate a house that is prominently featured throughout one of my favorite films. legendary fashion designer Tom Ford's film directorial debut, A SINGLE MAN is a beautifully composed story originally written as a novel by Christopher Isherwood. as a film, it features incredible performances by Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.
the home is in the foothills of the verdugo mountains in la crescenta north of glendale, california. it is an post-modernism architectural masterpiece by the renown and iconic architect John Lautner referred to as the schaffer residence. world famous architect Frank Gehry said that it is one of his favorite homes ever created. as a combination of glass, steel, and wood, the house is open to the outdoors and blends as one with nature.
the John Lautner home plays a central role in Tom Ford's film as it portrays the home of Colin Firth's character George Falconer. the beauty of the home as depicted in context of the story is piqued by its ability to portray a beautiful, bright, and airy space that is decadent and romantic and then turn and become a space that is claustrophobic, ominous, and broken. the mid-century details are explicit throughout as well, conveying the importance that the era plays on the action of the story, aptly suiting the acute eye for style that has become synonymous with Tom Ford. the home is one of several elements that creates and informs Ford's rich and elegant world of A SINGLE MAN.
seeing the home in person was surprising. it is in a forested neighborhood that is home to many other houses as well. there is little drama to the area and the other homes are really rather ordinary. as you drive down a seemingly average street, this house sort of creeps up on you. it is not as though there's a build up and this house is at the end of a drive to a hilltop vista with sweeping views. I will say that the area is beautiful and becomes quite the escape from the usually frantic los angeles. i also stumbled across an old rusted car nestled in the wooded area further up the road that immediately struck me. it was sort of sad looking, but also beautiful.
all in all, seeing the home in person felt like meeting one of my favorite actors. i had butterflies in my stomach as I drove up to it. the house is iconic architecturally but also plays beautifully in an exquisite film created by one of fashion's most incredible artists. it's significance is two-fold and lives as an inhabitable piece of story-telling. i find that art is most powerful and compelling when it transcends a canvas and becomes something so multidimensional that there is no discernible line where reality stops and the story starts. this house is that. and more.
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