Movie villains seem to have a thing when it comes to stylistic and architectural choices. The list of villains in pop-media who live in lush, modern architecture manors is only rising by the day. There is no shortage of wine crystal sipping, white suit-wearing, leather sofa resting Villains.
This perception of villains has been integrated into our minds forever. Villains are mostly portrayed as productive, such as in the case of Spiderman antagonist, Kingpin. Movie villains mostly have houses that reflect either their personality or intentions.
For example, Jimmy Bones, played by talented actor and hip hop legend Snoop Dogg, lives in an old, gothic-looking structure. This complements the character since Jimmy Bones is an undead demon. The association is uncanny.
Another example of this situation is most of the Bond Villains. James Bond gives off a gentlemanly feeling, and so do most of his villains. If we were to list each one and his affiliation with modern architecture, the article would be too long. Instead, we're going to focus on the most gentlemanly of Bond's antagonists, Auric Goldfinger.
Now, what do you expect from a person named Goldfinger? Rented duplex and TV Dinners? Of course not. Goldfinger is a rich lad, who is lavishly living in the most modern mansion that that time had to offer.
Looking back on the movie from today, the mansion that Auric resides in still looks exceptionally modern in its design. The movie came out in 1964, 56 years ago. This says a lot about the long-standing villain and current architecture relationship, and modern architecture itself.
One of Miami's most renowned architects, Chad Oppenheim, has had this to say about one of James Bond villains, Francisco Scaramanga:
"Either I could become a supervillain and build one of these (lairs), or become an architect."
A villain lair might be appeasing to architects, but people have reported that they're envious of the villains. Does half the populace want to become genius supervillains, hell-bent on destroying the world? Well, probably not, but we still want that stylish house!
Chad Oppenheim has explored his darker road in "lair," a book from Tra Publishing. The book covers 15 super secret evil lairs, in gorgeous black and white architectural designs. The Nordic alpine hideaway inspires them in "Deus Ex Machina," the underwater lair from the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me."
All of these lairs are very different one from the other, but they're still lairs. They share a couple of similar traits. They're all ultra-expensive, and all draw inspiration from what used to be modern. Who doesn't want to live in a four-story, glass mansion?
Another trait that all of these mansions and evil lairs all share is the pristine luxury. They're full of the great utensils, the best ceramics, and the highest tech stuff you can imagine. Concepts never before seen are all present in these movies, which only makes us yearn for "what could have been."
Oppenheim came up with a rubric for these hideouts, which made the final cut that much more criminal. Oppenheim has had this to say when asked about the evil lairs in modern media.
"First, primarily, the lairs had to be aspirational. They also had to be incredibly beautiful from an architectural standpoint. They're perfect, in a way, in that they believe they're doing the right things -- like most megalomaniacs." Oppenheim stated.
Lair, the book above, examines the modernist, utopian, and future architecture that has been associated with villains. Over the past couple of centuries, minimalistic and stylish homes have become the archetypal home for the criminal type. Just like the homes, the villains are slick, smart, and careful about their actions. Remember when I said that they associate their homes with their goals? This is that; just put into effect.
"Modern domestic architecture has become identified almost exclusively with characters who are evil, unstable, selfish, obsessive, and driven by the pleasure of the flesh. Were they still alive, this might thoroughly shock the pioneers of modernism, who envisioned their movement facilitating a healthy, honest, and moral way of life." Joseph Rosa states in "Lair."
Homes can say a lot about the characters in a particular series or show. Families are mostly portrayed in large, family orientated, comfortable homes. Modernist bachelor apartments are reserved for the sleazy of sorts.
When it comes down to movie villains, there isn't a better representation of the villain - home relationship than Al Pacino's "The Devil's Advocate." In this fantastic movie, Al Pacino is portraying a devil. His home is one huge office space, decorated with the most lavish items available.
The devil also has a whole floor dedicated to his living space. He lives in his workplace. This living status is sending a couple of critical subliminal messages, that might help you determine the status before it's confirmed. You can tell who the good and bad guys are based on their choice of home, furniture, and surroundings.
This housing situation is also a huge power play. If you're living lavish and stylish, you're far more likely to be perceived as a wealthy individual. All of these evil archetypes are living in opulent mansions to explain the extent of their power further. It's all about the sheer might a functional living space gives off.
Not the only present when we're discussing movie supervillains. Real-life supervillains like serial killers, psychopaths, dictators, and others have all been noted to live in lavish households. This housing status is a present thing in the mentality of many, which only furthers the point.
Not all supervillains are interested in slick, glass industrial houses. Some are drawn to the thrilling world of nature. This fact is portrayed best by Frank Lloyd Wright, who has started an organic architecture movement. This movement stands for symbiosis (blending in) with the natural surroundings. Hollywood has embraced this organic symbiotic architecture movement and has combined it with the traditional supervillain lair.
While the traditional supervillain lair boasts a vast, gorgeous iron and glass combination, with wooden interiors - the symbiotic design that Frank proposes blends that into the natural surroundings. Think of the desert hideout in "Diamonds Are Forever" to get the best general idea.
The age-old idea of a villain lair in Mount Rushmore is another excellent representation of this idea. When we're thinking about the future, there is no aesthetically pleasing structure quite like the Death Star.
The Death Star is everything a villain's lair should be by the book. It comes as a moon-shaped structure, that is luxurious in its design, but still useful enough to keep the evil aspect. It's screaming ambition, and after all - we don't expect Darth Vader to roll in something that isn't cool as heck.
Villains are evil; there is no going around that fact. They paint this evil through a grandiose and destructive, sinister vision of the future. Their actions are despicable, but their taste in households and architecture merely is impeccable. Larger than life has never been so evil, and so stylish as well!
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