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Sherlock Holmes Movie Set Design

January 22, 2010

So I have become a little obsessed with set design after all of the great information I found out about the "It's Complicated"set I wanted to see what everyone is up to! Though I have not had the pleasure of seeing Sherlock Holmes I did watch a little behind the scenes about it and it looks amazing. The sets are complex and beautifully colored allowing the characters to really shine.

Much of the movie was filmed on location in the UK, locations included Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, West Brompton, and London just to name a few. But many of the interior scenes were filmed in New York. Sara Greenwood was in charge of the Production Design, she "is a two-time Academy Award®-nominated production designer, earning both nods for her work with director Joe Wright on his acclaimed period films "Pride & Prejudice" and 'Atonement.' ".

The movie reflected her vision of the 1890's London world of Sherlock Holmes. "The team created one of the most important sets in the interior of Holmes's rooms at 221B Baker Street, within a flat he shares with Watson and their landlady, Mrs. Hudson, played by Geraldine James. "It's Mrs. Hudson's room, decorated maybe twenty, thirty years ago, so it's become slightly tatty since Holmes moved in," Greenwood describes. "It's not a conventional Victorian parlor at all; it's the antithesis of that. Holmes has come in and has completely messed it up."

Period furniture, drapery and a multitude of items found in flea markets, antique stores and rental houses were shipped from England to New York to decorate the inside of the Baker Street residence. "We brought all of the props here from England because British Victorian is very different from American Victorian," set decorator Katie Spencer says. "It has a certain style and is very hard to get."

In its clutter and chaos the apartment reveals both Conan Doyle's depiction of Holmes's disorganized personal habits and the detective's brilliant, complex mind. "Everything is supposed to represent his journeys, his travels, his inquisitive nature into the human condition and the human anatomy, chemistry, and photography...frankly, anything that's worthy of Holmes's interest," explains Ritchie.

Dog-eared books, newspapers, paintings from the Near East, unpaid bills, maps of Britain, anatomical drawings, Oriental carpets and a tiger skin rug, and half-eaten food from forgotten meals, not to mention Watson's rather tolerant dog, Gladstone, can all be found in Holmes's living quarters. In keeping with his profession, there are also wigs, mustaches and false noses for disguises, and a padded post for Holmes's martial arts practice."

With so many different sets great detail was given to each. One such set is a "makeshift laboratory where Blackwood's operative, Luke Reordan, played by Oran Gurel, conducts ingenious but mystifying experiments. A building in London's Spitalfields was transformed into a physical representation of Reordan's tortured mind, with scrawled notes and biblical Latin and Hebrew notations pinned to the wall, crucifixes and pagan charms hanging from the ceiling, and dissected frogs and rats littering the surfaces.

"There's a method to the chaos of Reordan's lab, but it takes someone like Holmes to figure it out," says Greenwood. "I didn't want the lab to look too fantastical, like something from Jules Verne. It was about making sure everything looked real."

What an amazing job to have!

images and quotes via movieset.com,pop.com and Sherlock Holmes facebook page.

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