Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Minor Project Pre-production

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind is a 2001 mystery book that takes us back to the late 1940's Barcelona. Despite the post war spirit, the story develops unaffected by the laws of time. People and events flow forwards and backwards in uncanny ways. Daniel Sempere is 10 years old when his father takes him to a mysterious place in the heart of Barcelona, a library called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Zafón depicts the building as "the carcass of a palace, a palace of echoes and shadows." In this labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles imprisoned on the shelves, Daniel is given the chance to chose only one book and promise that he will keep it safe. His fingers stop on "The Shadow of the Wind" by Julian Carax. Since that moment, Daniel becomes involved in many mysterious situations that make him undertake an enchanted hunt for people and places connected with the book and its author. This turns the novel from 'literary curiosity' into a choking ambition to find who stays behind the name of Julian Carax. This 'epic film on paper,' is soaked with, mysterious characters, young love, lust, tragedy and torture, in the ever compelling noir style of Dumas.

There are many scenes in this book worth bringing alive as digital sets. The one this project involves is the massive, gloomy and mysterious library or:

"The Cemetery of Forgotten Books"

Here are some extracts from the book to help me understand the mood and shape of this interior:
• "carcass of a palace, a palace of echoes and shadows"
• "a blue-tinted gloom obscured the sinuous contours of a marble staircase and a gallery of frescoes peopled with angles and fabulous creatures.
• "... palatial corridor, ... , a sprawling round hall where a spiraling basilica of shadows was pierced by shafts of light from a high glass dome above us."
• "A labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from the base to pinnacle like a beehive, woven tunnels, steps, platforms and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry."
• "... sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul."
• "This place was already ancient, ..., perhaps as old as the city itself."
• "... hundreds, thousands of volumes."


This is a fantasy photo realistic scene and as suggested by Phil, Piranesi's geometrically incongruous plans are a great example. I instantly fell for his fantasy Le Carceri (Prisons) and believe that it fits perfectly with the idea of the library as a prison for books. Good examples of occupation of space combined with romantic design. Piranesi's style is agglomeration of styles incl. Babylonian, Graeco-Roman, Renaissance and exotic inventions. As the library is an ancient building it will include elements from the above. Christian Thompsen explains Piranesi's style in Visionary Architecture as follows:

 "The Carceri,..., derive their aesthetic effect from the device known as
paradox: a simultaneity of opposites...Piranesi's visionary architecture is 
like the setting of a dream blown up to gigantic scale."
Giovanni Battista Piranesi:
Le Carceri
Veduta Interna del Panteon / neoclassicism

Le Carceri / 7th Plate / The Drawbridge, 1760
Le Carceri / 6th Plate / The Smoking Fire
"Library of Babel" by Erik Desmaziéres
"Library of Babel" by Erik Desmaziéres
Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena
Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena
"Library of Babel" by Erik Desmaziéres
Harry Potter and moving stairs
Maurits Cornelis Esher
The Library of Babel | Pierre Clayette



1 comment:

  1. Lots of exciting stuff on here, Toni! Onwards! :)