For our final year major project, we had to choose a book and pick a set from it to design. I chose ‘Perdido Street Station’ as it gave me the opportunity to use my creativity due to the diversity of the environments and therefore, the possible sets.
The story is set in New Crobuzon, a city where humans, insects, animals, and hybrids of each species live. Isaac, a scientist, who specializes in studying winged creatures, is approached by Yagharek, a garuda (half human/half bird) whose wings were clipped as punishment; he asks the scientist for help as he wants to fly again. Isaac agrees and starts collecting samples of flying creatures for his research. One sample he receives is a large and unusual caterpillar, which then grows into a giant monstrous moth that feeds on people’s brains. Isaac, with the help of his friends, must kill the moth along with others which the government is hiding.
The set I’ve chosen is Isaac’s laboratory, which is located in an old warehouse. New Crobuzon is an industrial city and the author was inspired by Victorian London. My research included looking at old abandoned warehouses and industrial Victorian buildings, especially water pump stations. I was also influenced by steampunk style. The environment where the story is set, is already dark and gloomy, therefore I wanted to give the impression that the laboratory was illuminated by as much natural light as possible, so one of the main features of the set is an acrylic panel roof which allows it to be properly lit. The warehouse is also the home of one of the scientists, Isaac, so along with all the laboratory machines and worktops, I had to make space for a small living area which I located in the tower, another visible feature of the design. For the roof panelling and windows, I was inspired by the Musee d’Orsay of Paris and St Pancras station in London before the refurbishment. For the finish of the set, I used a mix of steel and old timber; steel for the supporting structure of the building and wooden planks for the flooring to give it a homely feel rather than just being a stark laboratory.
Below are the technical drawings of the laboratory (AutoCAD + SketchUP).
Photos of the model below.
Laboratory visuals (SketchUP)