Saturday, May 4, 2013

Designing the World of Gatsby

The life of the elusive, enigmatic fictional millionaire Jay Gatsby is portrayed once again (maybe fourth time is the charm) on the silver screen May 10th.  This time around filmmaker Baz Lurhmann tackles F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved twenties novel of life in the Jazz Age and Roaring Twenties set against an opulent Art Deco and hip hop music backdrop -- and all in 3-D.

Collaborating with costume designer/production designer and wife Catherine Martin, the film is set in the tony old and new moneyed worlds of Long Island Sound's fictional East and West Egg via the duo's homeland of Sydney. The Academy Award winning designer took her cues from the Garbo films of the twenties and the work of interior designer Syrie Maugham as inspiration for the film's designs. And since noveau riche was the order of the day, opulence translated into lots of gilt and gold for the Gatsby mansion that represented the majority of the 43 sets constructed in fourteen days. For more on the Gatsby sets, read my article in the Hollywood Reporter here.

Besides designing the sets and costumes (next post), Martin has her own home line aptly called Catherine Martin Home. Several of her rug designs in collaboration with Designer Rugs  (the Art Deco line is out June 6th) and moderne style fabrics with Mokum are seen in the film.

Grand foyer of Gatsby's mansion 

Gatsby's balcony

Gatsby's grand stairway

Costume and production designer Catherine "CM" Martin

Catherine Martin for Mokum - Great Gatsby inspired Art Deco interior

Black Pearl Rug
Garden Party Rug

Night Bird Rug

Catherine Martin's Mokum Moderne Rivoli collection of fabrics as used in Gatsby - available at Holly Hunt in USA

Many design companies have jumped on the Gatsby bandwagon with Deco infused designs on everything from faucets to light fixtures. A few of my personal favorites are below:

Harlow ceiling fixture by Corbett Lighting. Available as a pendant or single/double wall sconce
in sleek stainless steel with crystal accents. Love this!

Nothing says Art Deco like French design legend Jean-Michel Frank.
Shown above is the burnished wood screen Grand Paravent, Vers circa 1925. 

With its modern lines, Graff's Fontaine lavatory faucet
would have fit in nicely at the Gatsby manse.

Photo Credits:  Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers, Catherine Martin Home, Designer Rugs, Mokum, Graff, Corbett Lighting


  1. I cannot wait for this movie. I am hoping it is all I think it will be. I adore that book and I'm hoping for the best.

  2. We are currently re-decorating and I think I need that wallpaper from CM! Gorgeous for my dining room! Thanks for the heads up!