Brave New World Shows One Way to Design a Utopia

How would you design utopia? When creating the futuristic society in Brave New World, manufacturing designer David Lee, set decorator Poppy Luard, present runner David Wiener, and their giant group needed to put themselves within the head house of a pc to reply this query.

“In our story, New London is built upon the dogma of the city itself. So all of the philosophical ideas feed the architecture, and we posit that it is built by artificial intelligence,” Wiener tells AD. Based on Aldous Huxley‘s 1932 novel of the same name, the show takes place in a society controlled by Indra, a computer program which keeps everyone connected to each other to maintain “stability.” Babies are made in a lab and assigned to different castes as embryos, everyone chases away uncomfortable feelings by taking various color-coded pills called Soma, and everyone is encouraged to keep themselves happy and occupied by being as sexually promiscuous as possible. In fact, monogamy is not allowed.

For the design of such a place, “you want something that is beautiful but isn’t difficult,” says Wiener. “That leads to destabilizing thoughts. While I’d say the whole city is a work of art, it has this midcentury-modern kind of vibe that is gorgeous in its totality, but doesn’t reach out and confront you with any big ideas, because that is the kind of stuff that would rattle the people of New London.” As the story unfolds, in fact, they do get rattled, particularly by the arrival of a person from the Savagelands, a vestige of the United States the place persons are not linked to Indra, and don’t stay in the identical hotel-like, high-tech circumstances.

Circles are a motif all through New London. Here, they adorn Bernard’s workplace and look out upon a digitally created background scene.

Aside from the sensible components of New London, like the massive home windows and quite a few communal areas to symbolize the dearth of privateness, the stark absence of any artwork or private impacts, and the distinct variations within the residing quarters of the assorted social courses, the group needed to create futurism with out making it appear to be one thing out of Star Trek. “It felt relevant that an artificial intelligence would incorporate what we consider to be elegance. It had a retro quality about it,” says Lee. It is sensible that a pc would possibly look to the most effective examples of design from the previous to create a metropolis of the longer term, so that is what Lee and the group did of their analysis, referencing Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasília, Brutalism, the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, and the French architect Gérard Grandval.


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