Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Scenes A Restaurant Design Using Cinematic Concepts
by Nolley, Jennifer Tufaro, M.A., The George Washington University, 2015, 77; 1600802
Abstract (Summary)

Pascal Schoning developed the theory of cinematic architecture, a form of architectural thinking inspired by the visual display of films. He defines cinematic architecture as “the study of architecture in which reflections on the fluid processes over time are prized over the consideration of static objects.” This is an exploration that architects and designers have used over time and continue to use to influence their work. However, with the exploration of the 50 year body of work of John Waters, a prolific writer, filmmaker and fine artist, and celebrated icon in Baltimore, one can make sense of the cinematic character, time and space and how it relates to the architectural elements of point, line, plane and volume in a unique and profound way. With a structure of elements influenced by Schoning’s theories, combined with Sergei Eisenstein’s writings and Francis D. K. Ching’s “A Visual Dictionary of Architecture” I have provided a framework for developing a unique design process through cinema called “Devine Mise-en-scene Design” [DMD].

This framework begins with a simple approach using cinematic language to define the concept and overall methodology of a space. The program as a restaurant provides an experience for guests, similar to feeling of watching a really great film. Followed by the language are the fundamental elements, showing side by side comparisons of how architecture and film are related, using John Waters’ film “Polyester” as an example and inspiration for the restaurant space.

The restaurant uses a cinematic narrative and layers of meaning in the circulation, the geometry, the programming and the visual aesthetics of the space, using John Waters’ overall subtext for his films through his perception of “spectacle.” A director that has built a career on bad reviews and has become an icon for his underground, camp style films, believes that “you have to learn the rules of good taste to have fun with bad taste…the real good taste is appreciating all kinds of taste and learning from bad taste.” These elements influence the viewer, and how they watch his films, and how he influences their perception of good and bad taste based on his story, locations, visual elements, characters, their actions, and how the film is edited together through shot sequence, repetition and pace.

The rules of good taste, in this case, are explored through studying other films in order to gain perspective for the viewer and even to understand the filmmaker’s influences. By exploring other restaurants and their work, a designer can gain a similar understanding to establish the look and feel of his or her restaurant. In this case, the case studies help establish the rules for good taste. They have been described using cinematic design techniques to show how they relate to interior design. These include three restaurants designed by the Rockwell Group, an interior design firm that brings an element of theatre design to their work, along with three successful Baltimore restaurants that focus on collections, using narrative (how the space tells a story); mise-en-scene (the physical elements within the space); and the montage (how each space fits together into one dining experience).

Instead of dealing with the conventional studies on well-known films, I used an iconic filmmaker known for his eccentric style. When further investigating his work, his own inspirations and works of art, I found a link to each medium as it relates to the social mores and good taste versus bad taste. Through this restaurant design, elements and principles of design are dealt with through the relationship of film composition and style to create a meaningful perspective on taste.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schlesinger, Christy, Cole, Robert
School: The George Washington University
Department: Corcoran School of Arts and Design
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Design, Film studies
Keywords: Film structure, Restaurant design, Waters, John
Publication Number: 1600802
ISBN: 978-1-339-10455-3
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