Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody through Oct 08, 2023

The Broad presents the first-ever museum exhibition in Los Angeles of Keith Haring’s expansive body of work and features over 120 artworks and archival materials. Known for his use of vibrant color, energetic linework and iconic characters like the barking dog and the radiant baby, Haring’s work continues to dissolve barriers between art and life and spread joy, all while being rooted in the creative spirit and mission of his subway drawings and renowned public murals: art is for everybody. Curated by Broad curator and exhibition manager Sarah Loyer, the exhibition explores both Haring’s artistic practice and life, with much of the source material for the exhibition coming from his personal journals.  

Divided into ten galleries in total, the expansive exhibition features the breadth of mediums Haring worked within, including video, sculpture, drawing, painting, and graphic works, as well as representations from the artist’s enormous output of public projects, from the subway drawings to his public murals. Works presented span from the late-1970s when he was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York up until 1988, just two years before the artist died from AIDS-related illness at the age of 31. Haring’s participation in nuclear disarmament and anti-Apartheid movements are featured prominently in the show, as well as works that take on complex issues that remain crucial today from environmentalism, capitalism, and the proliferation of new technologies to religion, sexuality, and race. In the last gallery, significant works from the late 1980s are accompanied by framed posters illustrating the artist’s activism within the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Major works held in The Broad collection such as Untitled, 1984 and Red Room, 1988 are on view in addition to key loans from many institutional and private collections, including art, ephemera and documentation provided by the Keith Haring Foundation in New York, established by the artist in 1989. The show features immersive elements, such as a gallery lit by blacklight soundtracked by playlists created by the artist himself. Additionally, the Shop at The Broad has been transformed, taking inspiration from Haring’s artistic retail space The Pop Shop, which first opened in 1986 in the SoHo neighborhood of New York.

The BROAD team’s must-see Haring picks ? ? ?

We asked Visitor Experience team members to share their favorite works in Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody. Through the coming days we will be sharing their selections.

“My favorite Keith Haring piece is Tree of Life. The tree seems to be trembling from the positive power it holds. It’s an inspiring take on life, on friendship, and on hope. I also love the secret message on the back of the piece dedicating it to his friend Maria. It feels so special and relatable to all of us who have lost someone we love.”

—Kei Riggins, Visitor Experience Team Member There’s still time to see this work—and find your own fave—through October 8!

Image: Visitor Experience team member Kei Riggins in front of Keith Haring, Tree of Life, 1985. Acrylic on canvas tarpaulin with metal grommets. Private collection. © Keith Haring Foundation


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Interior Design Trends on Their Way Out in 2024


If you have a quote poster hanging in your room, be warned, its days are numbered. We asked, and you answered: what interior design trends are on their way out in 2024? The results are in! From boucle everything, to subway tiles, modern farmhouses, and oversized kitchen islands, these are the 20 trends we’re kicking to the curb in 2024.

All-White (Boring) Kitchens

All-white kitchens are a thing of the past and it’s time to celebrate a creative kitchen with more texture and colour. If you’ve been following kitchen trends during 2023, you’ve noticed less white colour schemes and more depth in hues, textures, and materials. While we’re on the topic of introducing colour to your kitchen, the Pantone colour of the year for 2024 is apricot crush which pairs perfectly with neutrals and represents nourishment for the mind, body, and soul. We can’t imagine a better room for this colour.

Open Concept is Closed for Business

With families spending more time at home since the pandemic, the desire for separate rooms has grown. People are craving their personal space and open-concept layouts don’t allow for that type of privacy. Also, who wants to see a messy kitchen when you’re unwinding in your living room? Out of sight and out of mind is an interior trend we can get behind.

The Brass is Always Greener

Trends are cyclical and knowing what to invest in and what to avoid for your home can be confusing, especially when there’s a budget to stick to. Popular opinion would say brass fixtures are too reminiscent of the ’70s and ’80s but design experts are saying not so fast. Brass fixtures are coming back in evolved shapes and sizes that look nothing like their ancestors. We think your instincts are always in style, so never underestimate your taste and what suits your space and lifestyle.

Reduce, Reuse, and Restore

In with the new and out with the old is on its own way out. With inflation and sustainability top of mind for people, it seems wasteful to tear something out just because it’s older. What’s on trend is finding beauty in something no matter what the trend forecasters are saying.

This Train is Going, Going, Gone

Experts are predicting kitchens will continue to be designed around a statement backsplash, but subway tiles are leaving the station. While the classic subway tile emotes a clean look, keep your eyes peeled for unique stonework that makes the most social room in the house that much more appealing in 2024.

Gray Days are Numbered

Gray tones have dominated interiors for the past decade. What was once a sophisticated and elegant color scheme now feels drab, lifeless, and draining. Since we’ve all been spending more time at home, warm neutrals are heating up interiors such as beige, rust, and amber. If you’re not ready to say good day to gray, consider textured gray accents as a compromise.

Open Shelving Equals Open Book

If you can’t stand the look of clutter, you probably can’t wait to see this trend fade away. Open shelving has been a huge kitchen design trend and you have Pinterest to thank for that. Although open shelving is a way to showcase personality, it’s also a way to attract dust and showcase your messy side if you’re not careful.

Shiplap Has Sailed

Classic shiplap became stylish during the farmhouse craze (more on that later) and popular opinion is saying it’s more shabby than chic. Experts caution ruling it out entirely as there are contemporary and fresh ways to apply this look especially if it serves a purpose in your home or adds a layer of interest in a monochromatic colour scheme.

Lofts Have Left the Building

Lofts sound cool in theory, but when you’re in one and can’t find a private spot for some peace and quiet, you’ll wish you never heard they existed. Similar to open concept layouts, lofts lack privacy and can be loud and echoe-y. While they are the epitome of cool and sophisticated city life, they have many drawbacks when it comes to functionality. Yes, the tall ceilings and sunlight photograph well, but lofts often lack storage space and with those tall ceilings, heating a large space can be challenging and expensive.

You Can Quote Us

Inspirational quotes can always have a place in your heart but leave your home out of it. Quotes as framed art had a huge following over the last decade, but it has overstayed its welcome and should have left the party with the shabby chic trends of the past.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfall Counters

With the trend of sustainability on the rise, people don’t see the need for waterfall counters and are opting for leaving the sides of their cabinetry exposed. This is a wise choice if you’re designing on a budget or want to showcase millwork. On the flipside, waterfall counters can serve a functional purpose if the cabinetry is exposed to water on a regular basis, think bathroom vanities close to a bathtub.

Exposé on Brick

Showcasing exposed brick as an element of design can add texture to a room or outdoor space that may otherwise lack character and charm. We’re seeing less paint applied to brick and more celebrating its rich texture.

Painting Over Wood

While we’re on the topic of celebrating materials in all their natural glory, painting over wood should also be avoided at all costs. People are opting for less artificial looks and a more natural aesthetic. Building off of house and home 2023 trends, cultivating natural materials in the home is one way to connect to the outdoors and has relaxing benefits on our nervous systems. If you work from home and find it hard to wind down, consider drawing on nature as inspiration for decorating your home.

Cooling Off the White Hot Trend

As with all-white kitchens, all-white everything in home interiors can take the exit ramp off the style pages. Not only does it lack personality and charm, it fails when put to the test of functionality in the real world.

Exit Through the Barn Door

Barn doors look great on a farm but in an urban residence it looks out of place. The biggest 2024 design trend we’re seeing is geographically appropriate designs. Like shabby chic and the modern farmhouse, barn doors should go back to where they came from and stay there…the farm.

Back to Black

If Goldilocks was an interior designer, what colour scheme would be juuuust right? Along with monochromatic white and gray, monochromatic black colour schemes are fading out. Since the dreary days of the pandemic, people want less oppressive interiors and are increasingly drawn to airy, bright, and carefree colours. Black, white, and gray are great neutrals but we’re seeing their place in the home take on more of an accent role as opposed to the focal point.

Sent to Pasture

The people have spoken: the modern farmhouse has been sent out to pasture with framed quotes, shiplap, and barn doors in tow. The modern farmhouse look has had its place in the sun for years now, but its place should be on a farm or at least on the outskirts of urban areas. Designers are opting for designs that suit and are relevant to their locations. However, if you’re in love with the modern farmhouse look but don’t have a farm, don’t stress. There are plenty of ways to adapt this look to suit your home, wherever it may be.

Minimalism Schminimalism

Home decor trends in 2023 have seen a seismic shift away from minimalism. Simple all-white interiors, grays and black colour schemes have been slowly overtaken by a variety of colours to liven up spaces. Even Marie Kondo has given up on bringing herself joy with a neat and tidy home and embraced a carefree attitude towards interiors. Predictions for interior design trends in 2024 are geared towards relaxation meaning people are adopting a carefree attitude towards how they adorn their homes.

No Kitchen is an Island

Huge kitchen islands are great for a chef’s kitchen but not everyone needs that amount of prep space. In the spirit of less is more, people are realizing that that amount of counter space can be costly to install and time consuming to clean. Whereas the kitchen island was the focal point of the room, going into 2024, kitchen design trends are seeing natural stonework as a backsplash take center stage in the kitchen.

Boucle Today, Gone Tomorrow

The purposefully pilled fabric made a big splash as people everywhere were drawn to its comfortable texture. It was a new and exciting look that added new dimensions to the living room. It still has a place in our hearts but it doesn’t have to adorn every couch and chair in a house. It’s lovely as a stand-alone but we don’t need to boucle all day, every day.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Did the ‘Barbie’ movie really cause a run on pink paint? Let’s get the full picture.

By  Rachel Treisman.

Margot Robbie stars in the live-action Barbie movie, whose production reportedly required jaw-dropping amounts of pink paint. Warner Bros. Entertainment

As any Barbie fan knows, life in plastic is fantastic — and also very pink.

So much so, in fact, that the makers of the highly anticipated live-action movie say they wiped out a company’s entire global supply of one shade of it.

“The world ran out of pink,” production designer Sarah Greenwood told Architectural Digest early last week.

She said construction of the expansive, rosy-hued Barbieland — at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England — had caused an international run on the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint.

And it’s now painting a fuller picture of Greenwood’s comments.

Lauren Proud, Rosco’s vice president of global marketing, told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that “they used as much paint as we had” — but that it was in short supply to begin with during the movie’s production in 2022.

The company was still dealing with pandemic-related supply chain issues and recovering from the 2021 Texas freeze that damaged crucial raw materials, she said.

The freeze affected millions of gallons of stockpile, as well as the equipment needed to replenish it, Henry Cowen, national sales manager for Rosco’s Live Entertainment division, said in a 2022 interview with the Guild of Scenic Artists.

Even so, Proud, the company vice president, said Rosco did its best to deliver.

“There was this shortage, and then we gave them everything we could — I don’t know they can claim credit,” Proud said, before acknowledging: “They did clean us out on paint.”

Hear Dua Lipa’s ‘Dance the Night’ from the new Barbie movie

And there’s no question about where it all went.

The main movie trailer reveals a larger-than-life version of Barbie’s iconic three-story Dreamhouse (complete with a walk-in closet and kidney-shaped pool with a swirly slide), her Corvette convertible and a utopian beach town of cul-de-sacs and storefronts — all bright pink.

Director Greta Gerwig aimed for “authentic artificiality” on all aspects of the set, telling Architectural Digest that “maintaining the ‘kid-ness’ was paramount.”

“I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much,” she said.

Viewers will soon be able to see for themselves, when the movie — which is marketed to Barbie lovers and haters alike — hits theaters on July 21.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Tipsy Elves HQ

An Outrageous Fashion Revolution Requires an Incredible Workspace.

How Tipsy Elves is Creating Inclusivity, Opportunity, and Fun for its Team.

Based out of Wells Fargo Plaza, Tipsy Elves has been the source of the world’s most outrageous party clothing since 2012. What initially started as a business providing ugly Christmas sweaters has grown into a party-fashion revolution.

That revolution is driven by a desire to create more inclusivity, social connection, and fun between people. “Tipsy Elves is on a mission to make the world a more fun, positive place. Our idea is that our products allow our customers to have these experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have,” explains Brand Marketing Director Richard Goff. “Our products are more eye-catching, bold, and out-of-the-box to equip our customers with that ability to connect more socially.”

“Our office is a little bit like our lab in the sense that we’re coming up with these crazy ideas collaboratively as a team. Having a space that supports that is really important.” Richard Goff, Brand Marketing Director, Tipsy Elves.

While the brand’s reindeer pullovers and Santa onesies found immediate traction in the burgeoning e-commerce market, a notable appearance on Shark Tank helped propel the business to new heights of popularity. Soon, they were breaking into more holidays with patriotic red, white, and blue jumpsuits for the Fourth of July, neon ski suits, and more. They were also filling up the Tipsy workshop.

Goff recounts that things began to get crowded: “The space we were in before hit capacity on the number of people we could have together all at once. We had a lot of overlap on spaces like meeting rooms and a big wonky list of sign-up sheets for meeting spaces and things.”

Ready to grow and determined to find a new space, Tipsy Elves looked for a new home last year. The new space would house marketing, content production, product development, and more all under one roof. To support all these departments, the space would have to be sectioned out enough to photograph new outfits for social media campaigns and open enough for design and strategy teams to collaborate on exciting new products.

“Our office is a little bit like our lab in the sense that we’re coming up with these crazy ideas collaboratively as a team,’ explains Goff. “Having a space that supports that is really important.”

The distinctive smoked glass and granite tower offers 360-degree views of downtown, San Diego Bay and Coronado Island.

Goff credits Wells Fargo Plaza’s large, flexible floor plans for supporting their creative “lab” environment: “Being in Wells Fargo Plaza gives us the flexibility to have meeting spaces to collaborate, and just the physical layout of the office kind of gives us territories to work with photography and production and design, and so it’s super important to have a space that allows us that flexibility and utility.”

Just as importantly, it’s also given them room to have more fun. Goff enthuses that “Tipsy Elves is fun. We’re all about fun. It’s our mission here. We make products that are fun.

Our team atmosphere is fun. So I think that is a theme that comes up a lot both in our brand values, our products, and then just the space that we work out of.” The clothing brand has made the office space their own in their outrageous signature fashion. From a life-sized tipsy-elf mascot in the lobby to confetti wallpaper and Christmas tree-green workstations, the space is perpetually ready for work and play — often both at the same time.

As a San Diego-based start-up, the location and unique features of Wells Fargo Plaza have also delivered unparalleled convenience to the Tipsy Elves team. Team members appreciate how the downtown location and included parking allow them to zip in to work and out to appointments when needed. Other amenities are more unique. “There’s this delicious sandwich place on the third floor,” shares Goff, “Plaza Deli. They know my name. They know my order.”

Onsite features like the deli allow team members to grab a bite on a busy day and still enjoy lunch in the outdoor dining areas or spacious shared workspaces. For bigger team celebrations and offsite lunches, restaurants in nearby Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter provide ambiance and unique flavors within walking distance.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Industrial Design Students Go Junkyard Diving

Rima Sabina Aouf.

Students from Swiss design school ÉCAL have worked with Philippe Malouin to make furniture from metal objects salvaged from the scrapheap in a project called Junkyard Diving.

ÉCAL‘s Bachelor Industrial Design students created the furniture and household items during a four-day workshop run by Malouin and based on his own salvaging practice, which saw the designer create 68 works from junk steel in a month for the Breeder Gallery in 2021.

The students exhibited the works in the Junkyard Diving exhibition, part of the sustainably themed Swiss group show Urgent Legacy at the House of Switzerland during Milan design week in April.

A barbecue by Christophe Ascençao is among the works created by ÉCAL students in Philippe Malouin’s Junkyard Diving workshop

In a reversal of the usual design process, function would follow form. Ideally, they would use no additional external materials.

“It’s all about picking,” Malouin told Dezeen. “It’s going to junkyards and not being scared. Working with steel, people think it’s really daunting and scary.” “I just wanted them to be instinctive and not think too much in front of a computer and just let the function and the materials dictate what they were creating.”

All of the works, including Frederik Buchmann and Charlotte Dubois’s green armchair, are made from junk metal He also wanted the students to think in terms of creating a replicable industrial design.

“Instead of doing gallery pieces like I’ve done, which were all one-offs and constructed that way, I wanted them to try and do this exercise as an industrial design exercise and look at the waste streams and modify them in order to make a new product,” said Malouin.

One of the most creative interventions in the exhibition is a deep blue barbecue, created by Christophe Ascençao from two aluminium train connectors with a grill attached to the top. Malouin says these types of train components are frequently discontinued, making them a good waste stream source for products.

There is also a lounge chair by Frederik Buchmann and Charlotte Dubois, made from an old towel radiator from a bathroom. The metal bars are painted green and draped across a wooden base to make a reclined seat.

“You would never understand it or see the radiator unless I told you it was there, which was also the point of the exercise,” said Malouin.

Perhaps most unrecognisable as a piece of steel waste is a blue tote-style “bag” or basket by Charlotte Dubois. It is made from a ventilation duct, with black trimming applied at the edges and string strung between two holes to shape the object through tension.

One of the most surprising works is a blue “bag” by Charlotte Dubois, made from a ventilation duct.

The exhibition also included a virtual reality experience called Potential Objects: Junkyard Diving Reboot, which recreated the activities of the workshop. Developed by another ÉCAL student, Alex Nguyen, it allowed visitors to the show to walk through a junkyard and select objects to cut and weld together, just as the student designers had done.

ÉCAL is short for the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, although the school is better known by its acronym. Malouin said that he had found the experience of teaching there an “inspiring” one that also reminded him of the importance of accessibility in design education.

He said that while tuition fees in his UK home had risen to the extent that only the rich can afford to go to design school, ÉCAL had remained a “meritocracy”, and that was visible in the calibre of the students’ work.

Malouin’s interest in metal junkyards has also just seen him launch a book, Steel Works, which documents the process he went through for his Breeder gallery show of the same name.

The London-based Canadian designer’s previous work includes the Industrial Office set of experimental workplace furniture and a set of tables and benches with bases that reference whiskey barrels.

The photography is by Marvin Merkel.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Buckingham Palace, The Interiors

By Ashley Hicks.

Interior designer and artist Ashley Hicks presents his photographs and description of the interior design of Buckingham Palace, home of Britain’s royal family since 1837. An important representation of Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian styles, the palace is the work of such noted architects as John Nash and Sir Aston Webb.

Architect John Nash
Architect Sir Aston Webb | Source:

Hicks records the formal spaces with vibrancy, capturing the magnificent rooms furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection.

Starting at the Grand Staircase, Hicks leads us through the state rooms, which include the White Drawing Room and the Blue Drawing Room that both overlook the palace gardens; the Ballroom, which is the setting for twenty investiture ceremonies each year; and the Throne Room, used by Queen Victoria for spectacular costume balls in the 1840s.

The long, skylit Picture Gallery is hung with important works of art from the Royal Collection by Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Anthony van Dyck, Johannes Vermeer, and Canaletto, among others. Decorative furnishings from George IV’s exotic Brighton Pavilion lend a fanciful turn to many of the rooms.

Ashley Hicks is a British author, architect, interior and furniture designer, and photographer. He is the son of Lady Pamela Hicks and the legendary decorator David Hicks.


Pictures noted above and Information Source:


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

The 7 Pieces of Furniture (& Surprising Book) Real Estate Experts Swear by for Boosting a Home’s Value

By Candace Davison.

Whether you’re thinking about putting your home on the market or launching your own house-flipping business a la HGTV’s Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa, one thing’s for sure: The way you present your home to potential buyers matters. Nobody knows that better than real estate agents and home stagers, who see firsthand what makes people’s eyes light up…and what makes potential buyers race out the door faster than you can say “potential sinkhole and poltergeist problems.” That’s why we turned to them to uncover which items they rely on again and again for making a home look its best. You might want to copy their recs even if you aren’t planning on selling anytime soon.

But first, a couple pro tips if you are trying to stage your home: (1) Declutter as much as possible—even if that means moving things into storage until the house is sold. (2) If you’re staging an empty space and are trying to stick to a budget, focus on staging just the master bedroom and living room. “Those are the spaces people pay the most attention to—especially if it’s an open concept kitchen and living room—because it’s where they spend the most time,” says Kristina Kuba, real estate agent at KVA Group at Keller Williams Realty in Tampa, FL. Zeroing in on those two spaces, along with a few outdoor flourishes, can have a big impact in how quickly people start making offers on your home. Here’s what to consider before that “For Sale” sign goes up.



Layered welcome mats—one larger, patterned option under a pick with a little more personality—has been a trend for a while, and it’s one of the cheapest ways to make a great first impression, according to House Candy Home Staging founder Ashley Tapley. (She should know—it was one of a few budget-friendly tweaks she made to help a formerly-stuck-in-the-‘70s mobile home sell its third day on the market.)



Another easy way to boost curb appeal? Swapping out the porch lights, Tapley told Staging Studio. It’s “one of the cheapest and easiest updates you can do when selling,” she says. When shopping, look for a style that’s one-fifth the height and width of the doorway, so you get the scale just right.



Smaller rugs can be easier to haul from one space to the next—not to mention they’re cheaper—but they can also throw off the scale of the room, making it seem dinkier than it is. Your rug should be large enough that the front legs of the sofa and any chairs in the living room fit under it.


When it comes to staging living rooms, a rug and a sofa are a must, as well as a coffee table and a floor lamp (gotta have that ambient lighting). Sofas can be big-ticket items, but they don’t have to be—you just have to know how to make yours pop. Darker floors are popular lately, so Kuba tends to choose a lighter sofa to provide contrast and balance things out. She opts for something light gray or cream-colored. (On that front, IKEA’s Ektorp couch is particularly popular among stagers, since it has a transitional style that works well in a variety of aesthetics—and, as a result, it appeals to a wider range of buyers.)



At $20, Ikea’s Gladom tray table is a stager’s best-kept secret. It can work as a side table, paired on either side of a bed as mod nightstands, or situated side by side in front of the sofa as a makeshift coffee table.



Kuba has found that people’s eyes light up more when they see a tufted headboard over more rustic, wooden styles. Oh, and they’re an easy way to make a statement in the room without needing a bunch of art or other décor. And if you really want to create a more high-end vibe, opt for the largest mattress that won’t overwhelm the room—typically a queen—and raise it up. Beds with a little more height tend to be perceived as more luxurious, Kuba says.



You may have noticed a certain book on just about every console or coffee table in recent home listings—and there’s a reason behind it. Tom Ford by Tom Ford is a designer staple. New York-based designer and stager Leia T. Ward of LTW Designs often keeps a copy on hand when styling spaces, since she’s found it fits with a range of aesthetics and can help add height to items on a table. (Not to mention it’s chockfull of style inspo.)



If you have the means (or the spare furniture) to outfit a spare bedroom, ditch the guest room vibe. “Most people can visualize where the bed will go,” Kuba says, so it’s not necessarily worth the effort. What is worth it? Creating a home office. “That’s one COVID-related trend; people aren’t buying to please others, they’re buying more for themselves, based on what’s most conducive to their lifestyles.”


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

To Experience the Future of Retail, You’ll Want to Go to the Store

By Viral Shah, frog, part of Capgemini Invent.

Over the past three years, most of us have done a lot more shopping online, so it’s easy to forget that while ecommerce is still growing, most retail commerce still happens in stores. In Q3 2022, ecommerce accounted for less than 15% of all retail sales. That means brick-and-mortar is still going strong, and not just because consumers are eager to get out of the house again.

Shoppers now view stores as places to check out items before buying, to get purchasing advice, to have relaxing or exciting experiences, to meet like-minded people and to put their sustainability principles into practice. Retailers can meet these expectations by providing the experiences their customers want. Here are six ways we see retailers innovating the in-store experience to keep up.

1. Create a showroom experience with expertise.
Most customers prefer to see a product in person before they make a buying decision, especially if the product is expensive, technical, or has multiple options. Forrester and Shopify found that more than half (54.5%) of holiday 2022 shoppers planned to visit brick-and-mortar stores for this reason. A positive experience in the store can lead to a purchase during the visit or online after the visit, while an underwhelming experience represents a missed opportunity.

Retailers can capitalize on customers’ desire to see products in person by turning physical stores into showroom experiences that offer expert guidance from employees on choosing and configuring products. One major phone and computer manufacturer delivers perhaps the best example of this type of showroom experience, with experts on hand to guide customers through purchases and tech issues. A flat-pack furniture retailer’s maze-like store layout shows customers how their products work in different settings and gives them the chance to touch and try out items.

2. Offer a playground for immersive experimentation.
Trying out new products and discovering new ways to use familiar ones can help customers build loyalty to a brand. In-store experimentation experiences are opportunities to entertain, energize and inspire customers while connecting emotionally with them. This is especially important for connecting with Gen Z customers, two-thirds of whom like to shop in-store when they’re looking for new products.

A sporting goods retail chain has three specialized locations that are almost literal playgrounds, each with an indoor track and field, climbing wall, batting cage and other spaces where athletes and weekend warriors can learn about and try out new equipment. One of the leading cosmetics and personal care retailers, meanwhile, describes its stores as “beauty’s playground,” where customers can discover exclusive independent brands, get beauty treatments and attend classes on skincare and other beauty routines. These kinds of experiences can strengthen customers’ emotional connection to the brand.

3. Welcome your brand community in a clubhouse space.
For retailers that have a community of customers centered on their brand, creating in-store community spaces can increase traffic, strengthen customer loyalty and attract new customers who are seeking communities aligned with their interests. These spaces can be permanent in-store features or they can be pop-ups in stores and in other locations where customers spend time.

For example, an electric truck maker’s main location features a maker space, library, courtyard and store. Customers can learn about the brand’s vehicles, but they can also connect over other shared “green” interests like camping, gardening and adventure travel. Customers are encouraged to bring friends, which can help grow the brand’s fan base organically.

4. Set up space for customers to relax.
While some consumers crave a connection to a large and active community, others seek out spaces where they’re welcomed with a calming experience. Retailers with products that align with wellness and hospitality are in an especially good position to create an in-store “oasis” where customers can de-stress and enjoy the ambiance. When these consumers feel catered to, it creates more loyalty.

Luxury retailers are an especially good fit for the oasis experience. For example, one upscale home goods retailer’s innovative guesthouse in New York City is designed to “erase the chaos of the outside world” for restaurant and overnight guests. The brand also opened a combination showroom and restaurant in San Francisco in early 2022, and recently purchased a Napa Valley resort, possibly to expand on their showroom-as-oasis-experience strategy.

5. Provide space for customers to create.
70% of consumers say “it’s important for brands to provide them with personalized experiences,” and letting customers customize their own products in-store can be an exciting way to do that. An added benefit of adding “studio space” to a store is the potential for more user-generated content (UGC) about the brand. One study found that UGC has 8.7X as much impact as content by influencers and 6.6X more impact than branded content.

One digital beauty brand built its Los Angeles flagship store with customer creativity and content generation in mind. Architectural Digest notes that the interior décor is “ready-made for an Instagram close-up,” including plenty of open floor space for post-makeover group selfies. Even the mirrors are lit for optimal selfie results. A leading sports apparel brand goes a creative step further with a space inside its New York innovation flagship location. There, customers are invited to customize existing shoe models or design their own shoes for production and purchase.

6. Build a “garden” for product repair or recycling.
Giving customers sustainable in-store options for repairing and recycling products nurtures loyalty. An Economist/World Wildlife Fund survey found that 65% of consumers believe brands are as responsible as governments for promoting positive social change. One way to do that is to create a space for product renewal and reclamation. A major electronics retailer has become a destination for customers who want to recycle old televisions, phones, ink cartridges, appliances and other items. By offering gift cards for recyclable trade-ins, the chain drives in-store traffic and builds sustainability credibility with consumers.

Creating New Value with In-Store Experiences

Each of the approaches discussed above leverages store space to offer customers an experience they can’t get online, which can encourage them to keep coming back. These experiences aren’t mutually exclusive, either. For example, an upscale department store chain shows how it’s possible to blend an oasis, a garden and a showroom by offering spa services, tailoring and in-store stylist services. Every retailer can develop a unique in-store experience based on what its customers want, what the retail space can accommodate and what will showcase products and services in the best way to cultivate loyalty and encourage revenue growth.

Viral Shah is VP and Head of Strategy at frog San Francisco, part of Capgemini Invent. Shah focuses on helping clients define and achieve their business objectives while pioneering innovative products and services for their customers.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.


The deep collaboration between Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA, Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin, Production Designer Karen Murphy and Writer/Director/Producer Baz Luhrman…

Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA, Production Designer Karen Murphy and Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin, creative and life partner of Writer/Director Baz Luhrman, give us such fascinating behind-the-scenes stories of the making of ELVIS that those bits could become tales themselves!

Lisa Clark SDSA represented SET DECOR in this in-depth interview which immediately turned into a dynamic conversation with memories and perspectives coming from each of these incredibly talented and thoughtful professionals and friends.

Early days…Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved. 4 + 5

Lisa Clark SDSA for SETDECOR: The three of you have worked together for many years, and CM is, of course, Baz’s partner. Baz is known for his clear visual style as a director. Can you elaborate a bit on how the three of you work as a team to develop this unique style and in conjunction with Baz, because you have such a clear through-line with so many of your projects, and it would be interesting to hear about that.

Production Designer/Costume Designer/Producer Catherine Martin aka CM: Baz is so thorough, he does much research himself. What I enjoy about the collaboration is that with Baz, it’s very all encompassing, you’re immersed into his understanding of the world that he’s trying to create, and I really enjoy the process.

We have all worked together a lot, and I feel like everyone has their own strengths. I quite like the early phase, that phase of sort of knotting it out and working out what that world is going to be, how much of it we can afford to create, and just sort of planting the seed and building that up…

And I really enjoy working with Bev and Karen. Bev has a great understanding of what everybody in the team is doing. It’s almost like she’s done most of those roles herself! So, she sort of knows not only what everyone’s doing but also who can do what. I really benefit from her knowledge of all of that and her perspective about where things can come from…

Like, one idea that she had on ELVIS that turned out so great, was to print a carpet. We were looking at pictures of the carpet in the showroom at the International, the Hilton at that time, and we just could not find anything like it. So, Bev had artwork of the design created and the carpet actually printed! It literally matches the original photographs of the carpet. Just that sort of level of commitment and creative thinking, you know? We just weren’t going to settle for something that we could find in a store that looked only somewhat like the original. So we went through all that process, and that was a great thing to see when it came, when it was all rolled out.

Production Designer Karen Murphy: And how many kilometers? How much of that carpet did you actually print? It was ridiculous!

Set Decorator Bev Dunn SDSA: It was about five or six kilometers of carpet. It was insane. [Laughter]

Karen: And the curtain! Next to the carpet, the gold curtain was quite a feat as well, Bev. You should explain how that all came together. It was an incredible feat of Set Decorating

Lisa/SETDECOR: Yes, the amount of custom drapery in this film is daunting! So, Bev, if you could talk a little bit about the process of dealing with the volumes of drapery that you had to create, from things like the Revival tent, to Graceland, to all the stages, the giant Venetian stage curtain…it’s impressive.

Bev: It is impressive, and it was a little bit daunting, especially that the size of the gold curtain that had to be manufactured is actually bigger than any theater that currently exists in Australia. It was just the sheer quantity of fabric required was a little bit mind-blowing. Luckily, we were able to track down a fabric and have it dyed to our particular gold. There were problems in that when two of the rolls arrived, they were completely different dye lots! But we resolved it by putting them on the end. It was a process, and to actually find a company that was comfortable in making that size curtain here, without having to get it custom-made in America was key. Just in the shipping costs of that amount and in our timeframe to be airfreighted, it wasn’t really feasible. But it did all come together in the end, which was great.

Las Vegas, The International – Elvis’s permanent show. The gold curtain!! Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

We did print fabric patterns for Elvis’s hotel room to match wallpaper, so we could have a very fluid theme throughout.

We also had custom-dyed waxed canvas in India to be able to get the canvas to a particular color for the tent and to a translucency for the light to come through, which is always a problem when we’re talking about fabrics. You know, how they’re going to light the actors beneath…

CM: And then there are really annoying things that are some of my specialties, things like I hate shots to be looking back at Elvis through the windows with the drapes ugly backside. So, the extra pain that I gave Bev was that I said “I want the curtains double-sided, so, if anytime during the day they come outside, we’re seeing the same print.” And it just did Mandy’s head in, [Editor’s note: Director of Photography Mandy Walker], because she was like, “But that’s not how they would be, there would be sheers on the other side.” There were big, long conversations about it, and in the end, we all agreed it was good to have them double-sided.

But what we forget now is that we had big supply chain issues, because we were doing this when half of the world was still locked down in COVID. I don’t know how Bev did it. Just the strength under fire, because there was always a problem, like not enough fabric, not enough manpower to actually print on a fabric to make the curtain, not enough manpower to actually make the curtain and get it there in time, you know, because we’re a huge country, but it’s only a population of 25 million people. So, it’s not unlimited, we certainly don’t have the labor resources of the States or Europe.

I’ve only seen Bev occasionally moist-eyed. [Laughter] And I remember on the Casino bedroom set, not all the curtains arrived to cover double-sided all the curtains. Bev came up to me, and said, ‘Look, we’re just not going to be able to do it, we’re going to have to turn some of them around.’ She was devastated. And, of course, it turned out perfectly…that’s her sort of absolutely indominable spirit…like the ability that she has to take on scale unflinchingly, huge scale at times, and to put up with Karen and me going, ‘Um, I’m not sure about that carpet, those flecks are a little bit not brown enough on that left-hand pattern square…and all Bev is thinking is…she will never say it, but ‘Will these two idiots hurry up? I’ve got five kilometers of carpet to print, and half an hour to do it in. I’ve got to get it laid, and here in Sydney, with constant shutdowns between states, and trucks not being able to get through.’ It was a mammoth task. And, Bev, didn’t you have people in-house making curtains as well?

Bev: We did. But then I found a really good company on the Gold Coast who handle a lot of supply manufacture, custom manufacture for the many hotels up on the Gold Coast and the casino there…I wish they were based in Sydney, where we’re working now! They were so efficient, and they had the facilities set up, so I actually relied on this couple and their team to fulfill the needs required. They had knowledge that surpassed mine with the draping and the quantities required for the draping. It was great to be able to rely on some people who do this full time. I think that’s why we ended up with some believable looking drapery, because it’s made by professionals as well.

Karen: I think that’s something to note that actually speaks to Bev’s strength and to working outside of the US type of system. I’m currently working in Los Angeles. For a particular set, I wanted to change all the shades out very quickly because I didn’t like something that came in. And there is a specific company in Los Angeles, who just does shades for the film industry. [Editor’s note: SDSA Business member AMCO American Screen & Window Coverings

In Australia, you’ve got to go and find those people. Bev’s found people who work in the hotel industry or, you know, suppliers in India or somewhere else, because we just don’t have that infrastructure in Australia. You have people who are amazing at drapery, but you have to go into the real world and find them, and Bev has over the years. I’m always impressed by the people she finds to do things, whether it be a sailmaker who may make curtains, or someone else in an industry who can handle the scale and the time constraints that we have. So, that’s another thing on top of the stress of the enormity of the work, is just finding people to do it.

Las Vegas, The International – Elvis’s permanent show. Note the chandeliers and custom-made audience banquets. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: You know, to your point, Karen, I found in my own experience, one of the challenges of working with vendors outside of the industry, is getting them to understand the timetable. You were dealing with that, and then the pandemic on top of it! Can you give some examples of how do you wrangle those kinds of vendors in that environment? That would be very challenging.

Bev: Pay them healthily! Bribe them! [laughter] Again, we were filming this in the height of COVID. And I had to rely on Interstate vendors…the carpet was being printed in Melbourne, the fabrics were being printed in Sydney, we were filming on the Gold Coast, in Brisbane. I could get the vendors to print and make the time frame, but it was the freight that was the problem, because freight just went on a complete standstill, even with our own in-house freight companies. We achieved every deadline, but it was very close to the wire. And thank goodness for these interstate suppliers, because, again, Brisbane, where we were filming, just couldn’t print the carpet within our timeframe. So, you’ve just got to always come up with another option. And that’s just how we have to work…we’ve got a problem, and we’ve got to find a solution. So, someone can say “No” to me, and then it’s like [huge intake of breath, then lilting voice], “Well, we’ll make another phone call.” [Laughter] And that’s what we did, and that’s how we got it in front of camera.

Karen: I think it’s also that it sort of comes from the top, too. I’m sure Bev & CM would agree that Baz doesn’t want to hear “No.” So, you always try to come up with a creative solution. You don’t want to ever be presenting problems. And I think a lot of the real triumphs, at least for the films I’ve worked on with this team, are things that we think, ‘Oh, no, we’ve got to go down that road!” And it ends up being far superior and a better option in the end, you know.

CM: I think, too, having three collaborators that have worked together for such a long period of time, we know how to pivot. And, you know, Baz is uncompromising, but he’s also not, for want of a better word, an idiot. So, he doesn’t want you to say, ‘We can’t make 500 million curtains.’ He wants you to come and say, ‘Okay, well, because of this, we think this other is a better way of doing it, because otherwise we’re not going to be able to get this on time.’ And invariably, because there has been an intense collaboration before that point, the solution is accepted…there’s obviously been care and thought, and a huge amount of work has gone into the team coming up with something that we feel is a great alternative.

Bev: Also, the beauty of working with Baz and this team is that, if we put something in front of camera, he’s going to shoot it, because he always uses the sets as a visual form of storytelling. And that’s something that I strive for. We don’t want something ending up on the cutting room floor, we want to be able to offer up the best possible option, because in the overall vision, it’s going to look fantastic. You get the set there, the talented actors, the costumes period-correct, and it just is a really wonderful form of storytelling.

CM: And he really, really cares about the set dressing, like that, to him, is the set. 
We’ve had conflict with first assistants who have basically stripped the set so they can move the camera in…He wants to walk on to a completely dressed set. He uses the dressing. He thinks about every element that is in a shot, and whether it’s something that crosses over…I think that so much of what Bev does really crosses into propping because every item that is in those rooms tells the story for Baz of the character who’s in the room. And so, he’ll want to walk through the set. He’ll stand in front of the curtains for hours. He’ll walk on the carpet. He’ll look at every detail of dressing.

And I think one of Bev’s triumphs in this movie is the Colonel’s suite. You know, everybody from Baz to the entire crew, they just walked on the set and they were completely in the Colonel’s brain. The level of detail and the tirelessness and amount of stuff that Bev gets, because she’s learned in 30 years, that what to a normal person would be enough is not even a drop in the bucket of an ocean of water for Baz Luhrmann.

Colonel Tom Parker’s office. He was an ex-carny who was proud of the fact that he “snowed” people. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

What’s more is more, more.

CM: More more is more, you know…and every piece of the dressing is thoughtful. It’s not just stuff to fill corners. And I think that ability to just know about volume—because until one works with Baz, one does not understand volume. I remember doing GATSBY, the flowers scene. Do you remember that, Bev? Remember, Karen? And it was actually like a vacuum. It was like the black hole of artificial floristry, wasn’t it? 

Karen: Yeah, there were so many! And then Bev went and got more., much more! I think we were all out getting more. 

CM: I don’t think there was one white artificial flower left in Sydney.

Lisa/SETDECOR: With that perspective, since CM brought up the Colonel’s set, Bev, do you want to talk in a little more detail about the layering? I know there was a lot of visual merchandising, Elvis merchandising, in that set. I assume that you created that from research and reference. What went into layering that set, in particular?

Colonel Tom Parker’s office – the great merchandiser. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Bev: Yeah, that Colonel’s office was all based on reference, but we had a bit of creative license because of the timeframe. I mean, the Colonel had a few offices, but some parts like the row of filing cabinets were very distinctive, and we had those manufactured. The photographs and the merchandise were based on true reference. We had Austin photographed in iconic Elvis poses. So, because we’re in the ‘70s, we had that mix of color and black and white. And hats off to Baz, because I had printed some of these larger format photos in color. Baz walked on set and mentioned, “Well, that’s such an iconic photograph of Elvis, but it was in black and white, you know. Can you just please tweak that and change it to black and white?” 

And, yes, all the merchandise was printed from scratch. We ran into a few clearance issues, but we overcame them as you do, and just kept on. We tried to personalize the Colonel with his trinkets, and really convey that carnival aspect — he’s an ex-carnival person, an ex-carny, so his collection of trinkets, his collection of canes, his photographs, his memories from his previous world as well as the merchandise. The beauty of the Colonel is that he marketed Elvis, you know, with the games, with the nail polish, with the dolls, the stuffed dogs, jewelry, anything you could possibly imagine. The Colonel was really into the merchandise, which we were able to show in that room.

Karen: CM, isn’t it true that the Colonel was the first person to do the visual merchandizing thing for an artist?

CM: Yes. 

Karen: So he kind of created that genre, which is now sort of ubiquitous. Baz always found that fascinating. And of course, when we went to Graceland, we were photographing it all, because it was just the most bizarre thing, all these pins and little blurbs about him, or hats, or whatever the objects were, they were just always such a focus. And I think Bev did such a beautiful job to bring it all together in that set. 

CM: Also, another little quirky thing that Baz discovered in the process of writing about the Colonel, was his obsession with elephants. And if you look in that set, Bev has, I think, completely and utterly purchased every single period appropriate elephant tchotchke in Australia.

Lisa/SETDECOR: And tons of little snowman tchotchkes, you must have collected quite a lot of them…

Karen: Yes, that was sort of his motto, wasn’t it? That he was snowing people. Baz was always interested in those types of symbols and envisioned that they would recur in the film. 
Initially going into it, when we were researching early on, I didn’t know much about the Colonel. It was really great to delve into that world, that carny sort of world, and the collections of things and the obsessions that he had. I think that set embodies all of those things that Baz was really interested in exploring.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Speaking of the carny world, the Carnival set was such a great metaphor for the story as a whole. Can you talk a little bit creating the set? I know there were things that you fabricated and things you had to find, and there were issues with weather. We’d love to hear about how the Art Direction and the Set Decoration supported each other in such a specific set.

Carnival…the dealmaker and the dreamer. Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, Austin Butler as Elvis. The Ferris wheel was one of Colonel Tom Parker’s “offices”. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

CM:I remember the biggest moment of all was we needed to find a period-appropriate Ferris Wheel. Baz wanted one like the one that appeared in an actual Elvis movie. It’s a very specific style and brand, and we  managed to find the exact one at that scale in Australia. We had it brought to us and constructed so Baz could see it, which he did and he realized that it was too small. So, we needed to find a much bigger one, but that changed the staging. In all the rehearsals, everything had been done with two people sitting side by side. But in the big Ferris wheel, they were actually carriages instead a single bench seat, and the Colonel and Elvis would sit opposite each other.

It was one of those serendipitous moments, where finding the scale of the original Ferris wheel not being right, and having to pivot in terms of how the seating of the people within the Ferris wheel would be, altered the staging for the better. And so much of that set was set dressing…there were a few period-appropriate carnival rides…but that particular set just leaned into set dressing, with all of the painted canvases and all of the dressing, including the tent that the carnies have their first scene in when the Colonel hears about Elvis for the first time and hears the record. Please speak to that Bev.

Bev: Oh, you know, I look at that set and I’m just in awe of the painted canvases. I thought they were incredible, the graphic work that went into to those really gave that ‘50s vibe, and I honestly feel my set dressing is quite minimal compared to those beautiful, beautiful canvases. And the vehicles! The period vehicles, all painted appropriately, and those canvases just set the scene.

It was a very tough location to be to be filming in, and a big flood came through. We had a sort of tropical small cyclone that visited the set the day before we were shooting. So, a bit of a cleanup had to happen, but, again, visually it all was fantastic…really pretty drone shots.

Karen: It wouldn’t be a Baz Luhrmann film without a flood. I mean, on GATSBY, we had a rather large flash flood when we’re in the middle of filming. And then for AUSTRALIA, I remember flying in to look at the homestead set, and as I flew over the house, it was surrounded by water. It literally had just been flooded. So I think that’s it’s a trifecta of floods…but of course, you know, we all make it through the adversity.

Lisa/SETDECOR: One of the sort of overarching questions I had was how you successfully walk the line back and forth between naturalism and heightened realism…and the process and the challenges of creating this kind of visual language. The film does such a remarkable job of doing both at the same time and fulfilling the need for there to be grounding points that are recognizable, like Graceland where you had to be more specific, and then other areas where you had more open interpretation. And so if the three of you could discuss that process a little bit, that would be great.

Graceland…Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Bev: In Australia, we don’t have a lot of American iconic ‘50s import, most of ours have a very English background. And so it became very apparent, due to past experience, that everything for Graceland would have to be manufactured, including the sofa, and the TVs that Elvis was obsessed with, lamp bases, furniture…everything had to be manufactured. So that went into pre-production quite early on to ensure we could get things made within the timeline. I think that’s really important, because Baz always wanted the version that we see in in the film, the white version of Graceland. It’s the version that exists today. Elvis redecorated numerous times, so during the time frame of our film, it may not have been that exact white version, but it’s how Baz wanted to depict Graceland, so it would be instantly recognized. We had a few challenges with manufacturing items, and there were issues with the basketweave wallpaper, trying to get a texture onto that paper. Everything we wanted to print was very flat and almost started to strobe on camera. But again, through trial and error we got there in the end. I think we pulled it off, because even though some of the lamp bases or fabrics were not exact, I think, visually, it just sums up Graceland.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Yeah, definitely. One of the things I think is so brilliant, successful about the design of this film is that it’s not a documentary, it’s not word-for-word. There’s a way that you’re getting at the emotional state of the character, that you are respecting the realism of the story, but also creating a symbolic language throughout the movie. So, if you all could talk a little bit to that, because it’s a very difficult tightrope to walk to do that successfully.

Karen: I think it is. But I think you’ll find the truth is important to Baz. So for us, we all have to really live that truth and understand it. That’s why the research period is so long…and that is a very important time. We tend to build a research bible, a book of key images. You can look at them, and you can look at the movie, and you can see that historical accuracy, but then you can also see this sort of heightened part of it whereby Baz and CM push the reality a little bit.

Graceland…Austin Butler as Elvis & Olivia Dejonge as Priscilla. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Catherine’s got an incredible ability with the fabrics and patterns and colors and palettes and everything like that. It’s all in the set and in the costumes, and the support of the history with these imagined new textures and perspectives. She has an incredible skill to bring all of those things together. I think that’s why the film becomes where you believe it. It’s a real environment, but there’s also a magic sort of side to it.

I’ve found the same with GATSBY. We knew that book inside out. And there were words on that page that you can see in the film. But there were also a million orchids, like way too many orchids, or way too many of this, or so many cars, the colors were a bit brighter, the cars are a bit souped up. So, again, with ELVIS, that was the set. It’s very much Baz…the Baz way is that we know the history, but then we can we level up to this magical aspect. We support his way of telling stories by sort of pushing the design as far as we can.

CM: True. Baz has always said to me…and I think it’s one of the best lessons he ever taught me…there’s a big difference with what it feels like to be there and what it actually looks like, and we’re in the business of making it look how it feels to be there.

Graceland…The set evokes the sadness and the emptiness of the moment. Olivia Dejonge as Priscilla & Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

And so there’s very much the kind of lens that says, “Well, what did it feel like to be there?” How do we communicate that to an audience? How do we select things that are historically true, but through selection, amplify the situation, amplify the drama, amplify the audience’s ability to understand who this person is? 

If you were to break the movie down, and say to me, or Karen, or Bev, “I want you to show me that that object is actually historically accurate.” Probably 99% of the time, we could find an image that was almost a picture-perfect match. But I think it’s Baz’s ability to stimulate our soul to recombine these things into images that, as you’ve pointed out, kind of take you beyond it just being a documentary because it’s Baz’s storytelling of Elvis’s life against the backdrop of three decades of American history.

And so, I think that’s one of the most interesting things that I have learned from him. I always think about that. I always think, what would it feel like? What did it feel like to be there? And how do you translate that so the audience understands it?

Karen: I think, CM, the Beale Street set for me really encapsulates what you’re saying there. We had two blocks. We built a backlot, we literally got a steamroller out and built a road and then built two blocks of Beale Street. Now, those shops…we found old plans of what used to be on Beale Street, whether it was a laundry or a photo studio, or a shop, whatever it was…and we tirelessly researched this. We thought, for Baz, he wanted to have that feeling of a guy seeing his future or seeing something that connects. You know, he’s come from quite a poor background, he goes to this place Beale Street, and he finds himself there. He finds his style, the way he’s going to dress, he sees the way other people are dressing. He hears music.

Baz wanted to get all of that energy and that feeling into two city blocks. So, we put it all in those blocks. We had so much going on…all the graphics, all the colors, the cars, the Club Handy set. All of that was just in these two blocks. And I think that the film really gives you that experience…you really feel that music, you feel that time, those 1950s, the year 1957. And that is Baz’s vision right there, to get as much of that the essence of that feeling that the guy was having in this one set.

Beale Street, Memphis, 1957…Where Elvis found himself. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: It’s a great example, because when I first saw the film, it feels real, down to the peeling paint and the stains on the windows, but it also feels evocative at the same time. Logistically since we’re talking about that set, what kind of timetable did you have for executing construction and dressing because it seemed like an enormous set…

Bev: The physical dressing, we really got down to a few weeks because we pre-manufactured the parking meters and the streetlights, we had the neon signs made off site. So the assembly came together quite quickly, but it was certainly months of evolving with especially the signage, i.e. real neon versus LED neon and how that reads on camera. There were a few design discussions involved with the neon and lighting with the DOP. But, my footprint was quite small, because we had to work on site.

It was being built for like 12 weeks pre-pandemic, before we shut down. CM, maybe you can speak to that. But I mean, it was like, we just left it there.

CM: We shrink-wrapped it! It was a very strange process, but the two city blocks set was shrink-wrapped. And you know, the Australian climate is very harsh, so when we came back, there had been discoloration. So we needed to repaint the set.

Bev is the unsung hero of the street, because every single window was immaculately dressed, as well as the sidewalks. It was extraordinary. Each particular shop had its own DNA, and I think Bev did an incredible job to get the texture of every window, but also to be really clever with depth, because we didn’t want to build the back of the shops and we also wanted varying depths. My favorite dressing pieces were those bottle pyramid stands. I’d never seen them before, or since. I now own them. I stole them. I don’t know what I’ll do with them. But they’re just extraordinary. They’re sort of like a circular Christmas tree, sort of rings with holes to put bottles on that were in the liquor store on Beale Street. But it’s this level of attention to detail.

I remember walking into the art department one day at 7:30 at night. Every single person was sitting, hand-writing price tags, they’re writing on little, tiny, period-appropriate ticket swing tags and tickets and little cards with printed frames because this was period correct. And I don’t know how many price tags they wrote. But I walked on out, we were filming that night, and I came back in at 9:30, and they were still there. Writing price tags. It’s that attention to detail.

Lisa/SETDECOR: That’s a great anecdote. Jumping cross country from Memphis to the Las Vegas penthouse, the layering of pattern and texture in that set was an interesting nod to the ‘70s, but it also had sort of a Victorian level of lushness. And the bed itself seemed like quite a feat from a set dressing standpoint. Bev, can you talk a little bit about this set?

Bev: It was the layering of the use of fabrics on the wall, and we had Hilbert tiles to act as a bedhead. Different velvets in the drapery and in the sunken sofa. They’re all very lush fabrics, and it’s almost a clash of colors that works really, really well. That’s Catherine. When I read the script, I originally thought the set was going to be in red tones, and to have it be designed more into the navy and the golds gave it a different edge, which I was really excited to work on. So, lots of layering, different textures, and that’s what really, really works in in that room.

Karen: It’s very much a heightened kind of interpretation of just a few photos that we managed to find. I think that it speaks to, again, CM’s and Baz’s collaboration, with all the fabrics and everything just sort of creating that heightened version. It was like getting that essence of who this guy was at this point in his life. I think that really comes out.

Las Vegas – Penthouse suite. Somewhere along the way, Elvis lost himself and ended up in a gilded cage. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

CM: Baz kept talking about it wanting to feel like it was a sarcophagus, and a golden cage. That fit as well into the design for the elevator set, where Elvis is going up and down…the fact that he was kind of being suffocated by his environment. So that was sort of the key.

Lisa/SETDECOR: It’s interesting that you said “sarcophagus” because my notes when I was preparing for this were “Victorian vampire”…

Karen: He was a bit vampiric. He didn’t really go out anywhere, did he? He was literally imprisoned in this hotel. And like a trick pony had to keep performing.

CM: Vampire is a really good word. Baz kept using that all the time.

Elvis actually took over the entire penthouse floor of the hotel. In the lobby of the penthouse floor, there was a sunken lounge. So we co-opted that and put that into his bedroom suite. In our movie, we see him only in the bedroom section of the suite, but it tells the full story. That hotel set, for cost reasons, actually served in different variations to a number of purposes, including the Colonel’s office at the International, and this speaks to Bev’s flexibility as a decorator. It was all designed in segments so that it could be partitioned off. And you know it is the magic of set decorating that allows you to believe in each of the completely different spaces.

Lisa/SETDECOR: And it seemed like the penthouse kind of had a visual language that tied into his bedroom in Graceland, so you kind of see the progression visually from that bedroom.
Bev mentioned red earlier…the tour bus is a symphony of red. So, the challenges of doing something in one color, almost one color entirely and creating that level of texture is quite phenomenal…

CM: That is certainly one of Karen’s triumphs, she did an incredible job on that tour bus.

Karen: I think one of the biggest challenges of that was a bus interior has all these incredible compound curves. So, getting fabric and paneling to work within the confines of the shape of a bus was quite the challenge wasn’t it, Bev? The level of quality upholstery that went in that was amazing.

There’s actually a strange old video of his bus. Elvis didn’t like to fly. So, he would always travel in this bus, and it became an extension of his home, and the later hotels. And with Baz’s idea of making things feel a certain way, it had to have that same sort of opulence. The palette was red, but we pushed the design of it a little bit…the gold, the light fittings, Bev found incredible buttoning, and all sorts of details that would just add to those layers.

Elvis’s second home – his tour bus. Austin Butler as Elvis. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2022 All Rights Reserved.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Did you custom dye the fabric? To get the reds to talk to each other, the process of finding the fabric that all went together…that’s not easy either.

Bev: No, we didn’t have to custom dye the red, but we did print the striped fabric to work with the red that was on the on the ceiling. We did tweak it a little bit, but we were very lucky with the reds that we found off the shelf, to be honest.

Karen: It was exhaustive trying to find that bright red. I remember, Bev, that you offered up a lot of choices, and Baz loves fabrics. The color is extremely important, so he had to sign off on all of those colors. With a lot of directors, you can show them a concept frame and they’ll trust that you’ll do it. Baz really wants to feel that color and the textures. So, we mocked up the bed in the back.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Clearly, this project was massive. If you could talk a little bit about the structure of your department, like assistant set decorators? Do you have your own shop manufacturing the furniture all the time? Bev, why don’t you start because a lot of times, set decorators don’t get the chance to talk about the scope of their department as much. I think people are more familiar with the scope of the art department on a project of this scale.

Bev: Sure. I had one assistant set decorator. We’re very, very lucky to have an in-house prop manufacture department, which was quite small, but, as long as I had a mold shop operational, we could manufacture all that was required. We had our own scenic artists, about two to four people just constantly painting the props or the Set Dec items. I do, in Australia, work with more buyers than the American system. As you know, we don’t have prop houses, so I’ve really got to try and find what could possibly be out there to start with.

I have three senior buyers, two junior buyers, a Set Dec drafts person, a couple of PAs and a lot of casuals, my super swing gang, and I have a great lead man. Our schedule for dressing and day-dressing sets became very, very tough with the turnaround that construction needed to bump sets out on one particular stage, to allow them to be bumped back in that night or the next day. So I did have quite a big swing gang team. And I had to rely on art directors and graphics, and then there was the props team as well, so the propmaster was also key.

It just seemed to be a very constant pace. But with all the experienced people and the teamwork, we pulled it off, which is wonderful to see.

CM: It’s an unusual way to work, but because I see Bev as an integral and senior part of the team, I put a lot of pressure on her to also oversee the propping, because to me the propping is an extension of the Set Decorating…and for that whole area I like to have a continuity of purpose. So she sometimes is also lumbered with responsibilities she doesn’t want because I need her eye on it or I need it to feel part of a bigger gesture.

Also, people tend to forget that everything, the chair, the carpet, the wallpaper, the rug, the curtain, all of that is set decoration, you know, it doesn’t just appear magically.

And we have Ian Gracie, our supervising art director, who is the kind of very glue that holds it all together…these three incredibly strong, creative women who can work together, who support each other and who have done so for years. I am very proud of this great team.

Karen: Definitely, I feel like I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned through this collaboration with CM and embed them into the other projects that I do. Prop masters always find me very annoying, because I’m always on top of them…I want to see what they’re doing. The same with the set decorator. I want us all to work together. It’s just something that comes from the Baz Luhrmann/Catherine Martin School of Filmmaking that we’re all in this together as a team.

Lisa/SETDECOR: Well, it is so nice to talk to all three of you and to hear your experiences and also to hear from a team that has worked together so seamlessly for so long. Thank you.


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

5 Groundbreaking Airports That Are Must-See Destinations in Their Own Right

From massive cocoons in Azerbaijan to a sprawling public park in Berlin, you’d be surprised at what you can find at these world-class airports.

The Shenzen Bao’an International Airport—designed by Massimiliano Fuksas—is inspired by nature, taking inspiration from the manta ray. Inside, white “trees” double as air conditioning.

Despite chatty seatmates and de-icing delays, air travel never truly loses its glamour—especially if you’re in one designed by a world-renowned architect. From the TWA Hotel at Eero Saarinen’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Zaha Hadid’s Beijing Daxing International Airport, we scouted the most impressive airports around the globe that should be on your radar—and the ones under construction that are sure to be spectacular.

A honeycomb design envelops Shenzen Bao’an International Airport and lets in light.

An alveolus-shaped facade comprises metal and glass panels that can open.

Cocoons fill the Heydar Aliyev International Airport terminal in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was designed by Autoban. But they’re not just for good looks. Inside, you’ll find kiosks and cafes along with other amenity space.

Through natural materials, colors, and the warm, inviting cocoons, Autoban has disrupted airport design as we know it with Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

The Heydar Aliyev International Airport, in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, receives more than six million passengers a year. Concave glass allows light to fill the warm interiors, which is home to live trees.

The original departure/arrival board anchors amenity space at the TWA Hotel at Kennedy International Airport, originally designed by Eero Saarinen. Just outside sits Connie, an airplane-turned-speakeasy that you can board for cocktails, attracting not just travelers and architecture enthusiasts, but also locals, says manager Anthony Bonacasa. “It’s very nostalgic for a lot of people,” he says. Employees who worked there in the 1960s will visit, creating a communal feel as Bonacasa describes. “It’s unpretentious, and we work to make it comfortable.”

A third bank of colorful Knoll’s Tulip collection sits just around the bend at Paris Café by Jean-Georges wrapped in millennium pink leather. Over what might be the simplest, fluffiest omelette you’ve ever had, Frank Sinatra fills the air. Outside, an old Volkswagen Bus is parked alongside a vintage French Citroën car, and it truly feels as though you’re in the 1960s. The restored TWA Hotel could have easily been noticeably contrived, yet it’s true to its origins—including the authenticity of the furniture. (We know, because we peeked underneath to check.)

The Sunken Lounge, which reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, is the heart of the TWA Hotel. The plush, red carpet is the same you’ll find in the long, minimalist tunnel entry, where indirect light illuminates the curved wall, which results in no shadows.

Honoring traditional Chinese design, the new Beijing Daxing International Airport is organized around a central courtyard. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the airport opened in September 2019.

The radial design of the Beijing Daxing International Airport maximizes the number of gates, while also offering quick access to the central core with passenger amenities.

The Beijing Daxing International Airport was built for growth. It is already the world’s largest single-building terminal and is expected to receive a whopping 72 million passengers annually by 2025.

Sprawling across 32 million square feet, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport is one of the world’s most eclectic public spaces. Home to the famed Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949, this enormous, monumental airfield ceased operation in 2008, and reopened its doors when residents rallied together to transform the abandoned site into a public park for all to enjoy. Now, Tempelhof’s main hall is the departure point for a new kind of voyage. But people still run the wrong way up the people movers when no one is looking.

Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport is larger than New York City’s Central Park and is twice the size of Monaco. The airport was constructed by the Nazis from 1936 to 1941; however, it reopened as an eclectic city park in 2010. The project received the Symbol of Engineering Architecture award in 2011.

On the Boards

In design development or under construction, following are a few more first-class flight centers we eagerly await.

After delays, the Midfield Terminal Complex at Abu Dhabi International Airport is now expected to be open by year’s end. The largely column-free structure relies on arches, creating an open and airy space.

One might think Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had something to do with the forthcoming Amsterdam Airport Schipol. Yet it’s KAAN Architecten behind the design of the new terminal, set to open in 2023. We look forward to the open design, clean lines, and black eaves.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is one of the 10 busiest in the world. Studio Gang’s $8.5 billion expansion should help alleviate some of that congestion, while also doubling its use for community engagement, including pop-up events and live music.

The phased expansion of Helsinki Airport Terminal 2 is slated to open in 2021 with its volume designs dubbed, “City Hall” and “Security Box.” The statement piece, though, is the undulated, pre-fab wooden roof that marries it all.



Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.