Website last updated: 23-8-2017


A Celebration of Sir Ken Adam - Gun Metal Genius

On 1st June 2016, at a private ceremony, the life and work of Sir Ken Adam (1921-2016), James Bond production designer extraordinaire, was celebrated by the British Film Insitute at London’s National Film Theatre by the Thames. Assembled were a range of people from Sir Ken’s personal and professional life who, coupled with speeches and film clips, gathered to share vivid memories of the gun-metal genius who created cinematic worlds.

Ken Adam Tribute June 2016
Order of events, Ken Adam – A Celebration, NFT 1, National Film Theatre, London 1st June 2016

Hosted by long-time friend and Ken Adam biographer and historian, Sir Christopher Frayling, the audience was taken through personal anecdotes about the designer by an interesting assortment of speakers.

First was Gieron Sierverich, Director of the the German museum which housed Sir Ken’s millennium installation in Berlin. Then was Squadron Leader Jeff Metcalfe represented Sir Ken’s association with the Royal Air Force squadron with whom the German native flew, with his brother, during World War II as an un-naturalised British citizen. Other speakers came from various aspects of the film business including producer Sandy Lieberson and architect Sir Norman Foster on whose angular steel and glass designs Sir Ken’s influence can be boldly seen. Sir Ken won his first Oscar for Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975), their second collaboration after their memorable on nuclear satire, Dr Strangelove (1963) where the design made a fictitious underground bunker like a poker players’ table. The director’s daughter, Katharina Kubrick, was there to share her memories of when Sir Ken sought Kubrick’s help to light the interior of the Liparus supertanker from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Katharina, incidentally, helped design Jaws’ steel teeth. Sir Ken’s second Oscar came from the similarly atypical, period piece, The Madness Of King George (1994) and the director, Sir Nicholas Hytner and writer of the film, Alan Bennett, were on hand to give their recollections of an unlikely partnership, citing Sir Ken’s artistic integrity and resourcefulness on a production with the usual Ken Adam-ian budget.

Of course, it was Sir Ken’s association with the Bond films which is what most cinema audiences remember him for. Ken Adam worked on Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) and concept work for the computer game, GoldenEye – Rogue Agent (2004). To represent 007, Bond co-producer Michael G. Wilson and Sir Ken’s heir to the Bond design throne, Peter Lamont shared fine memories of the man. Sir Roger Moore put it eloquently in his speech where he referred to the actor playing Bond being merely a jewel placed in the finely wrought setting designed by Sir Ken.

Interweaved in the speeches were film clips and film of Sir Ken in an impressionistic recreation of his work room in his Montpelier Street home together with blinds and Anglepoise lamp, which was filmed specially for an exhibition in Germany.

In deep appreciation of the tributes was Sir Ken’s widow, Lady Letizia Adam, there in person. Letizia and Sir Ken has strong ties to the Polish community in London and also in attendance was Lili Pohlman (with her daughter, Karen), partner of Ian Fleming’s agent Peter Janson-Smith, who also passed away this year in his nineties.

In addition to the aforementioned, in attendance to keep the Bond end up were numerous figures from the gun-metal days: five time Bond director John Glen, special effects supervisor John Richardson, associate producer William P Cartlidge, the first Bond Oscar winner, Norman Wanstall, Steven Saltzman and Sue St John (Harry’s son and PA respectively). From the more recent 007 past were writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, executive and associate producers Callum McDougall and Gregg Wilson, composer David Arnold and Bond girls/film-makers Carole Ashby and Maryam D’Abo (with her spouse, Chariots Of Fire director Hugh Hudson). Barbara Broccoli brought some of her crew from the new non-Bond Eon Production, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, due in 2017.

Ken Adam  BAFTA April 2011
The Judgment of Posterity featuring Top L-R: Katharina and Christiane Kubrick (daughter and widow of Stanley Kubrick), Julia Peyton-Jones, Alice Rawsthorne, Jan Harlan (brother of Christiane) Middle L-R Peter Lamont, Barbara Broccoli, Eunice Gayson, Caroline Munro, Lewis Gilbert, Sir Christopher Frayling, Sir Ken and Lady Letizia Adam, Bottom L-R Martine Beswick, Lana Wood, Nicholas Meyer, Shirley Eaton, Michael G. Wilson, A BAFTA Tribute to Sir Ken Adam, Royal Institute of British Architects, London, April 2011
Over the years, Sir Ken’s work had been celebrated at various exhibitions including a term at the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park in 1999 and subsequently in exhibitions in his native Germany. The designer had spoken fondly of his work at a number of events including at a talk in London in 1999, a celebration of the centenary of Albert R. Broccoli at the same venue in 2009 and then a British Academy Of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) presentation in 2011.

Ken Adam Albert Broccoli Weekend May 2009
Sir Christopher Frayling (left) interviews Sir Ken Adam, behind a slide of the 63 foot model of the Liparus supertanker in its Bahamian berth, Cubby Broccoli: 'From The Red Beret To Bond' Centenary Celebration at the BFI, National Film Theatre, London, May 2009

Ken Adam Albert Broccoli Weekend May 2009
Sir Christopher Frayling (left) interviews Sir Ken Adam, behind a slide of Atlantis, Cubby Broccoli: 'From The Red Beret To Bond' Centenary Celebration at the BFI, National Film Theatre, London, May 2009

The work of a production designer on a movie is more than just designing and overseeing the construction of sets. A designer is often involved at the inception of a project as it is their work that will shape the schedule and budget of a production. Sets inform the audience about character and how the frame is composed in all three dimensions. Sets must allow for both the movement of actors through the space as well the movement of the crew and the rigging of lighting. Where real locations are used, the set must sometimes be dressed and altered. A designer must look at how costumes and props relate to the set in terms of colour and form. The designer is in charge of the total physical appearance of the production. Adam was a protégé of the first production designer in films, William Cameron Menzies, for whom the term was coined on Gone With The Wind (1939). Adam was also inspired by the German Expressionism movement of the 1930s: images which were stark, atmospheric, noir-esque and surreal.

From his work on Dr No, the first film to show the electronic age in a tongue-in-cheek manner. His wife, Letizia, suggested he could not do Dr No as it would be "prostituting [his] art". But Adam was comfortable with the personnel behind the first James Bond film: he had worked in the sphere of Albert R. Broccoli on The Trials Of Oscar Wilde (1960), In The Nick (1961) and The Long Ships (1964 - released under the Warwick banner by Irving Allen on his own). Adam had known and liked both Terence Young and Sean Connery. At first Adam balked at doing the movie whose design budget was 14,000 GBP but relented when told there was a contingency amount of 7,000 GBP. Which was just as well. Whilst the Spider Room set, where Dent collects the tarantula later to be placed in Bond's bed, was the first glimpse of Dr No's world, it was one of the last sets to be built. Adam had to scrape up the money to build it. Terence Young loved the finished product and suggested changes so that the set could be used more effectively. Needless to say, when the crew received a visit from the completion guarantee company towards the end of the shoot, Broccoli advised Adam to hide! Adam was generally left to his own devices as everyone was away on location whilst building took place. The designer wanted to get rid of the old construction methods and use new ideas and materials such as plastics and different types of metal treatments. Adam was assisted by Ronnie Udell and the construction heads at Pinewood Studios who were "very supportive". However, his vision was sometimes grounded by the budget and the need for haste. It was Adam himself who painted the Goya portrait of Wellington, over a weekend for use on Monday morning, from a transparency hurriedly obtained from the National Gallery the previous Friday afternoon.

On Goldfinger, there had been discussion about whether Bond should drive a Bentley as he did in the Ian Fleming novels. Aston Martin was decided upon but Adam could not persuade David Brown, the then Chairman of Aston Martin and the DB in DB5, to say yes. Adam recruited Broccoli and Harry Saltzman who persuaded Brown that use of the car in the film would promote sales - an understatement for what would go on to become the most famous car in the world. The car's gadgets were the result of a revenge fantasy/dream of Adam's. In the 1960s, Adam owned an E-Type Jaguar, which was always getting damaged. The defence mechanisms on the DB5 were the car "getting its own back". Adam in the past had paid tribute to the man who realised his vision: John Stears, special effects superviser on the early Bonds and Oscar-winner for Thunderball and Star Wars – A New Hope (1977); and Eon's Mr Fixit, the legendary Colonel Russhon who was responsible for obtaining the ejector seat.

The early days of Eon were like a "debating society - nobody had ego problems". Adam had paid tribute to Ferdi Gallau who was responsible for the tapestry in Thunderball and Jill Noise, recruited from the opera, to work on The Spy Who Loved Me. Indeed it was this pioneering spirit of creative co-operation and long-term vision, rare in the entertainment industry, that allowed Ken Adam to embark upon the most ambitious set ever conceived for the cinema - Blofeld's crater hideaway for You Only Live Twice.

By this time, James Bond films were so important and popular that the release date had been decided on despite the lack of a script. Adam had recalled the You Only Live Twice script conferences were sluggish and that the original American writer was fired. Sean Connery's Bond film contract was running out. Adam showed his sketch of an initial design to Cubby who, after Adam paused at the producer's initial question of "How much?", asked, "Will one million dollars cover it?" The enormous pressure of building the set was not leavened by the numerous variables and unknown factors involved. The Polish helicopter pilot who flew into the full size crater was uncertain how updrafts and downdrafts would operate in the unique structure. Adam had always praised the building team headed by "the best construction manager in the world, Ronnie Udell." Sad at having to strike the crater set because, built as an exterior, it was an eyesore and could not stay up, Adam learned a useful lesson which he would remember later on in his Bond career.

Because a designer is involved at the start of a production, some of the sketches captured early, eventually un-used ideas. An initial concept for You Only Live Twice was an "Oriental Gambling Casino", a distinctly colonial affair. Initially the poisonous cavern at the base of the volcano included the gruesome detail of an Ama girl hanging from gallows.

Whilst Adam did not work on the final production of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in the recent biography of the 007 films, Some Kind Of Hero, Sir Ken revealed that he had scouted locations for the picture when it was due to be made in the mid-Sixties and had come up with a unique concept for Draco’s HQ.

Diamonds Are Forever was to have been shot at Universal Studios but was eventually made back at Pinewood Studios. Initial sketches for the villains base had "HH" visibly removed - a slip revealing the source of their inspiration, Cubby Broccoli's reclusive friend, Howard Hughes. Earlier sketches of the same design feature the letters "GG", perhaps relating to the early development of the screenplay when the villain was going to be Goldfinger's twin brother.

For The Spy Who Loved Me, Ken Adam built the 007 Stage, the world's largest soundstage, around the Jonah-esque Liparus supertanker set so that at the end of the production, the facility could be re-used. Adam also experimented with elliptic shapes for Stromberg’s HQ Atlantis. This work was further developed in the aspirationally accurate space designs from Moonraker. The film also featured a concept for an Eiffel Tower restaurant - a tantalising allusion to a sequence subsequently filmed for A View to a Kill (designed by Adam's protégé, Peter Lamont some 6 years later).

Adam had stopped doing Bonds for a variety of reasons. He has said he was exhausted after doing Moonraker but also budgetary disciplines and different creative pastures led him down a different path.

Adam worked on other projects such as The Ipcress File (1965) ("Harry Saltzman always thought we were going to make a cheap Bond") and Cubby Broccoli’s adaptation of Ian Fleming’s children’s adventure, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). The windmill used in the film by Caracatas Potts was owned by the aforementioned David Brown of Aston Martin. Adam designed the airship used by the Gert Fröbe's Baron and the model was built by Malcom Smith for 7,000 GBP. It was about 140 foot long and filled with helium. However, shooting coincided with terrible gales and the model broke loose and hit power lines, cutting off the electricity in Hampshire.

Adam had had a long association with the late Stanley Kubrick, who, impressed after seeing Dr No, summoned the designer to the Westferry Hotel to discuss Dr Strangelove. Adam always felt "you had to intellectualize your lines to [Kubrick]": hence the designer's rationalization of the War Room as really a grand setting for a poker game! Adam was frustrated with Kubrick's insecurity throughout the shooting of Barry Lyndon.

Ken Adam also was involved in various other projects including designs for opera sets, a multi-media centre for 20th Century Fox and a mobile display for celebrating the new millennium in Berlin. He had also worked on Star Trek in 1977 when the project was being developed by Gene Roddenberry at Paramount with Philip Kaufman directing.

Lack of resources of smaller fayre did not force Adam to compromise. In India in 1988, shooting the Merchant-Ivory production, The Deceivers the designer travelled by car around the country with actor Saeed Jaffrey and his wife, Jennifer, looking for authentic sites. The period historical adventure starred Pierce Brosnan and the director shared his designer’s unwavering artistic integrity to an amused audience in 2011.

Sir Ken Adam's production design has undeniably defined the look of the Bond films and established a gold standard for film set design. His work has formed the superstructure to cinematic dreams worldwide, for generations in the past and for generations yet to come.

Written by Ajay Chowdhury. Copyright © 2016 From Sweden with Love



30 JUNE 2015-13 SEPTEMBER 2015

In cooperation with Deutschen Kinemathek (Museum für Film und Fernsehen), personal documents, sketches and designs by Ken Adam will also be displayed at Kunstfoyer in Munich from 30 June to 13 September 2015. (The exhibit, Bigger Than Life. Ken Adam's Film Design, was previously displayed in Berlin.)

"The cinema is there to heighten the imagination; I have always tried to make sure it does so.” - Sir Ken Adam

Bigger Than Life is more than just the title of a comprehensive exhibition about one of the 20th century’s most innovative and most influential production designers, it is also the philosophy of his work.

Sir Ken Adam, born in Berlin in 1921 as Klaus Hugo Adam, was responsible for the production design of more than 70 films, in which he has left his mark on the viewing habits of numerous movie audiences to the present day. His spectacular and trendsetting sets for James Bond films, from Dr. No (GB/USA 1962, directed by Terence Young) to Moonraker (1979) (GB/France 1979, directed by Lewis Gilbert) have written film history. He has received numerous awards for his work, including two Academy Awards for Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (GB/USA, 1975) and The Madness of King George (GB/USA 1994, directed by Nicholas Hydner).

It is the first time that an exhibition can take full advantage of the entire œuvre of this exceptional artist. In 2012, Ken Adam gave his archive to the Deutsche Kinemathek, including more than 4.000 drawings, photographs and awards, as well as the two Oscar®. The show takes an in-depth look at Ken Adam’s creative design process, while bringing to life the craft of a production designer through the use of dynamic drawings and photographs, enhanced by multimedia installations. Ken Adam’s origins in Berlin and flight into exile in London, his revolutionary working methods, and his impact on a younger generation of production designers and architects, are main themes of this exhibition.

Curators: Dr. Boris Hars-Tschachotin, Kristina Jaspers and Peter Mänz

Editor's note:
In May 2014, Sir Ken attended the 50th anniversary event of Goldfinger in Oslo.

For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more James Bond related exhibitions presented on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Conceptual Design for "Blofeld’s Volcano Lair“ in You Only Live Twice © Sir Ken Adam. Source: Deutsche Kinemathek – Ken Adam Archive.

Watch out on the official website for the latest information on the Ken Adam exhibit:




FSWL contributor Sascha Braun caught up with the legendary German-born production designer Sir Ken Adam, who rose to fame as a result of his futuristic constructions for unforgettable James Bond sets in the 1960 and 1970s, to talk about his work on the first James Bons film, Dr. No (1962).

>Read the full interview with Sir Ken Adam about his work on DR NO

From Berlin (via London) to Hollywood: Following his flight from his native country under National Socialism, and his voluntary service as a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force in World War II, Ken Adam’s work in the film industry signified for him both new freedom and an exploration of the world. He met Letizia Moauro during film production on the island of Ischia in 1951. The couple married the following year and she has been his most important adviser ever since.

Letizia Adam also encouraged her husband to use a reduced, but nevertheless dynamic drawing style, with which he has designed film sets since the end of the 1950s. Using his new tool, a Flo-Master felt-tip pen, he sketched vibrantly energetic spaces that are unmistakably his own.

Adam’s work on more than 70 feature films, including some exotic locations, turned the couple into global citizens and correspondingly into members of the jet set. Ken Adam worked in Hollywood in the 1980s and 1990s, where his house was frequented by movie celebrities.

The Adams now live in London again, where Ken Adam continues to work at his drawing table and preserved the collection of his designs until he entrusted them to the Deutsche Kinemathek.


Editor's note:
In May 2014, Sir Ken attended the 50th anniversary event of Goldfinger in Oslo.

For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For other interviews on From Sweden with Love, From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Sir Ken Adam's sketch for the "Tarantula Room" in Dr. No now on display at the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin. © Ken Adam Archive. All rights reserved.

Watch out on the official website for the latest information on the Ken Adam exhibit in Berlin:



11 DECEMBER 2014-17 MAY 2015

The German-British production designer Ken Adam rose to fame primarily as a result of his futuristic constructions for James Bond sets in the 1960 and 1970s. Personal documents, sketches and designs for amazing film sets such as the ones in Goldfinger (1964) (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1967) has made their way to the Deutsche Kinemathek where they will be displayed in a new exhibit, Bigger Than Life. Ken Adam's Film Design, from 11th December 2014.

Sir Ken Adam is one of the most innovative and influential production designers of our time. His sets for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964) and the James Bond films from Dr. No (1962) to Moonraker (1979) (1979) – all spectacular and trendsetting designs in equal measure – have written film history.

In 2012, Adam, who was born in Berlin in 1921 and had to go into exile with his family in 1934, gave his entire artistic œuvre to the Deutsche Kinemathek, including more than 4,000 drawings.

This exhibition takes a new look at the work of this unusual artist and designer, while also allowing Ken Adam’s creative process to come to life through multimedia presentations.

1921: Born in Berlin
1934: Emigrated to London
1938-40: Studies of architecture, Bartlett School of Architecture at University College, London
1950s to date: Film production designer, among others for Stanley Kubrick and many James Bond productions numerous awards and prizes, among others two Academy Awards and three Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction; Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award

The official catalogue (208 pages, in German only) accompanying the exhibition features essays by renowned authors on a diverse range of previously unexamined aspects of Adam's career: the artistic roots of his Gesamtkunstwerk and his influence on art, design and architecture.

Editor's note:
In May 2014, Sir Ken attended the 50th anniversary event of Goldfinger in Oslo.

For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more James Bond related exhibitions presented on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Official poster for Bigger Than Life: Ken Adam’s Film Design at Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin. © 2014 Kerber Verlag Bielefeld. All rights reserved.

Watch out on the official website for the latest information on the Ken Adam exhibit:



22-23 MAY 2014

One of the most acclaimed Bond movies of all time is undoubtedly the 1964 classic Goldfinger (1964) starring Sean Connery as Ian Fleming's James Bond directed by Guy Hamilton. In conjunction with this year's 50th anniversary of the film, a special event will be held in Oslo. Honorary guests are Academy Award winners Sir Ken Adam (first time he visits Norway) & Norman Wanstall and Bond girl Margaret Nolan. Sir Ken's biographer and good friend Sir Christopher Frayling will also be there.
Media coverage of the event:
>Sir Billi (22-5-2014)
>NFK - filmklubbforbundet (22-5-2014)
>Filter (12-5-2014)
>Montages (19-5-2014)
>Montages (29-4-2014)
>OP-5 (20-5-2014)
>Rushprint (21-5-2014)
>Cinema (30-4-2014)
>Cinema Retro (16-5-2014)
>Dagbladet (12-5-2014)
>Dagsavisen (22-5-2014)
>Kino Victoria (29-4-2014)
>NATT&DAG (4-5-2014)
>NRK (22-5-2014)
>NRK (22-5-2014, includes VIDEO)
>NRK (22-5-2014, includes VIDEO)
>Oslo By (20-5-2014)
>Oslo Kino (29-4-2014)

Feedback from the honorary guests:
"Thank you for such a lovely trip. I thought you did a brilliant job and you arranged such terrific trips for us. I'll always remember the travelling for three days in taxis and having such fun with such special people! I felt honoured! And I have really fallen in love with Oslo. I want to go back asap to Scandinavia, I think it suits me very well!" - Margaret Nolan

"I can honestly say we spent three very enjoyable days and I hope you and Morten enjoyed them as much as we did. It was quite amazing how we all ‘bonded’ together and ended up as the magnificent seven. I thought you and Morten did an excellent job in Oslo so I hope the event didn’t turn out to be too stressful." - Norman Wanstall

"Thanks for organizing such a wonderful trip to Norway. I was particularly delighted with the antique Rolls and thoroughly enjoyed the Viking exhibition. I dutifully send his sincerest gratitude to you both for such an amazing visit to Oslo." - Sir Ken Adam

Oslo, Norway, 29 April 2014
Big event celebrating James Bond in Oslo

[James Bond:] "Do you expect me to talk?"
[Auric Goldfinger:] "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”

The Norwegian James Bond-magasinet, along with From Sweden with Love, has organised a big event to celebrate this September's fiftieth anniversary of the release of "Goldfinger" (1964). It will be held at the luxury cinema Kino Victoria cinema on Thursday, May 22, 2014.

"Goldfinger" is considered the most iconic and influential James Bond film. This is the first time a gala performance of a vintage Bond film has been screened in Norway.

- It is with great pleasure and pride that we can finally reveal the news of a very unique celebration of the immortal classic "Goldfinger". We will screen a beautiful, newly restored print of the film at Oslo's newest and finest cinema. Additionally, we are happy to present two special guests from the film that will be in attendance. It'll be a very cool program based around the film and a grand celebration, says organizers Morten Steingrimsen (James Bond-magasinet) and Anders Frejdh (From Sweden with Love).

Prominent guests:
Honorary guests will be Academy Award® winner Norman Wanstall and one of the Bond Girls from "Goldfinger", Margaret Nolan. Both will participate in a Q&A following the screening.

The film's acclaimed sound designer Norman Wanstall will be present at the screening. Wanstall won the Academy Award® for his work on "Goldfinger" and has worked on a number of other Bond classics; Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Thunderball (1965) (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Other classic films on his resume include Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) and François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966).

- I have fond memories of Oslo. I was there in 1970 as a result of editing the film The Only Way (1970) in Denmark. My wife, daughter and I stayed in Copenhagen for the duration of the film and when Christmas arrived the producer invited us to spend the break with him in Oslo. The snow was obviously very much in evidence and I watched in awe from my hotel window as the taxi drivers skidded their cars sideways around the bends. It was a very enjoyable stay and we were treated very well and I’m very much looking forward to my visit on 22nd May.

Margaret Nolan portrays Dink, Bond's masseuse in "Goldfinger". With her gold decorated body and her golden bikini she also features in the film's very iconic posters and over the main titles. In addition to the James Bond film, she worked as a model, painter, theatre actress and starred in numerous other films including the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (1964) and several of the films in the British Carry On franchise. She has also appeared in television series such as The Saint and The Persuaders!, both with James Bond actor Roger Moore.

The British Ambassador in Norway, Ms. Jane Owen, will also be in attendance to open the festivities.

A number of Norwegian celebrities will also be in attendance. These will be presented for the press nearer the time of the event.

A film screening out of the ordinary
The opening on May 22nd will be a closed and exclusive event for 292 invited guests. The film will be shown with a newly restored version, specially imported from the UK. For the occasion, the cinema will be transformed into a Bond world, including a Bond style casino where players can win a trip to an exotic destination worthy of 007 himself. There will also be a display of an Aston Martin, after party with DJ, serving of vodka martini "Shaken, not stirred", and more.

Public screening on May 23th
Due to popular demand, James Bond-magasinet in cooperation with Oslo Kino, has organised a public screening on May 23. Norman Wanstall and Margaret Nolan will also attend this screening. For more information about this screening, go to
For more information, tickets to the after-party, interviews, please contact Morten Steingrimsen on / (+47) 938 19 910 or Anders Frejdh on (+46) 709 191 007.

Editor's note:
For more James Bond events presented on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
One of the most famous film scenes of all time, Shirley Eaton (as Jill Masterson) painted in gold. © 1964 Danjaq S.A. And United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

Order tickets for the public screening of Goldfinger in Oslo via the link below:




Matthew Sweet presents A Profile of Ken Adam: The Spectre of Modernism on BBC Radio 3 at 7.15 GMT.

Duration: 45 minutes
First broadcast: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Producer: Allegra McIlroy

If you think of a megalomaniac villain's lair, it's almost certain your imagination will be fuelled by the creations of Sir Ken Adam.

Matthew Sweet meets the game-changing film designer. Most famous for designing Bond films and Dr. Strangelove, the ambition of Ken Adam's vision is unrivalled. He created Dr. No's underwater hideout, Goldfinger's Rumpus Room and Blofeld's volcano lair, and a Cabinet War Room for Dr Strangelove so persuasive and convincing that - the apocryphal story goes - when Ronald Reagan entered the White House he asked to see it.

Matthew hears Ken Adam's story from the man himself. It's an extraordinary one: as a boy in Berlin he witnessed the smoking ruins of the Reichstag on his way to school; as a young man he was one of only two Germans to fly a fighter jet for the RAF over his own homeland. And Matthew explores how much Ken Adam - born Klaus Hugo Adam 92 years ago - shaped our sense of what a glamorous urban environment should look like.

Matthew Sweet explores how Ken Adam's playful take on modernism has influenced not just film but also the real world, feeding the imagination of a generation of architects and changing our built environment.

Matthew hears from modernist architect Norman Foster, Director of the National Theatre Nicholas Hytner (who worked with Ken on The Madness of King George), longtime friend the cultural historian Christopher Frayling, Julia Peyton Jones, Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery, and design writer Jonathan Glancey.

Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For other 'Bond on radio' posts featured on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Sir Ken Adam in his workroom. © 2013 The BBC. All rights reserved.

Go to the official BBC Radio 3 website if you want to listen to this special feature:



4 APRIL 2011

BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) will pay tribute to legendary production designer Sir Ken Adam at a special event in London.

BAFTA and Oscar winner Ken Adam defined the look of the early James Bond films with lavish and ingenious sets and international style: Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. The War Room he created for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove remains one of cinema’s most iconic images, often cited by other filmmakers as a favourite movie set. Over five decades in the industry, Adam received nine BAFTA and five Oscar nominations and other key production credits include Barry Lyndon, The Ipcress File, Pennies from Heaven, The Madness of King George, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Addams Family Values to name but a few.

A master of designing immense open spaces combining futuristic visions of technology with a love for German Expressionism and modern architecture, Adam is also a darling of the design and architecture worlds with fans and friends from Sir Norman Foster to Harry Potter-designer Stuart Craig. He is also the only Production Designer to have had a retrospective at a major UK gallery at the Serpentine in 2000.

In this BAFTA Tribute and belated 90th Birthday Celebration, BAFTA will welcome fans and colleagues to explore Sir Ken’s extraordinary work. Tributes will include Sir Michael Caine, Nicholas Meyer, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Ronald Harwood, Lewis Gilbert, Christopher Frayling and design luminaries such as Julia Peyton-Jones and Alice Rawsthorn as well as video tributes from the current generation of production designers such as this year’s BAFTA winner Guy Hendrix Dyas and his fellow nominees.

The Tribute is generously supported by The Albert R. Broccoli and Dana Broccoli Foundation.

The evening starts at 6:30pm in the Jarvis Hall at Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD.

Tickets include a pre-event champagne reception.

Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more information and how to order tickets to the BAFTA Tribute to Ken Adam:




Ken Adam designs the movies: James Bond and Beyond by Ken Adam and Christopher Frayling.

Ken Adam is the most distinguished living production designer in the world. His work spans seven decades and more than seventy-five movies, from his revolutionary designs for the first seven James Bond movies to work on Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon and Alan Bennett’s The Madness of King George, for both of which he won an Oscar.

Born in Germany, Adam trained in London as an architect, and his first Art Director credit was on Around the World in Eighty Days in 1956. He has subsequently worked in Hollywood, Italy, and Germany as well as Britain.

Ken Adam’s extensive personal archive of concept sketches, drawings, set stills, and photographs from every stage of his career forms the basis of this book. Using case studies from the 1950s to the present day, it shows the whole cycle of his production designs, from initial concept to what appears on the screen itself. The result encapsulates the evolving role of the Art Director and Production Designer from the golden age of the big studios to the digital fantasies of the early twenty-first century.

The commentary is by Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art, London, Chairman of the Arts Council, England, Chairman of the UK’s Design Council, and a Trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Book details:
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Language: English
ISBN: 0500514143
Retail price: 32 GBP

Editor's note:
Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

For more biographies presented on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Order Ken Adam designs the movies: James Bond and Beyond at a discounted price from Amazon UK:




Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design by Christopher Frayling is published by Faber & Faber in paperback.

Ken Adam is acknowledged as the world's greatest living production designer: creator of the look of the James Bond films, winner of Oscars for Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and the film version of Alan Bennett's The Madness Of King George. Now he explains his own scarcely understood contribution to the art of cinema.

Ken Adam is a German who left Germany in the 1930s - and his work was heavily influenced by the German Expressionist cinema of that time. After serving in the RAF during the war, he became involved in production design in 1948, getting his first Art Director credit on Around The World In Eighty Days in 1956. Since then he has designed 75 films, creating the bold and revolutionary designs for seven James Bond movies, as well as the startling war room in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.

Since 1999 an exhibition of Adam's work has been travelling around the world, but the force and variety of his achievements in cinema have not been properly acknowledged until this volume, in which Christopher Frayling expertly conducts a career-length interview with a man whose designs have enriched some of the great films of our time.

Book details:
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0571220576
ISBN-13: 978-0571220571
Dimensions: 28.1 x 20.2 x 1.8 cm

Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
The book cover of Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design by Christopher Frayling. © 2005 Faber & Faber. All rights reserved.

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14 JUNE 2003

Production designer Ken Adam's work has given him the rank of Knight Bachelor and the honorific of Sir Kenneth in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sir Kenneth’s award was among those made to British citizens working in an overseas capacity and was presented “for services to film production design and to UK-German relations.”

In addition to his knighthood, Adam has received five Academy Award® nominations and won two Oscar® statuettes for Art Direction.

Born Klaus Adam in Berlin in 1921 and emigrating to England in 1934, Ken studied architecture at University College London and served a stint as an RAF fighter pilot in World War II. He began his film career in 1947 as a draftsman and rapidly graduated to the title of art director. In 1956, he earned his first Academy Award nomination for that year’s Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days.

His designs, influenced by his background in architecture, have resulted in some of the most stylistically unique and memorable film sets of the last five decades. The war room from Dr. Strangelove, the interior of Fort Knox in Goldfinger (1964) (1964), and the gadgetry and intimidating interiors of several other films in the James Bond series are but a few examples of the work for which he is admired. (Adam earned his third Academy Award nomination for the 1977 Bond feature, The Spy Who Loved Me.) Throughout his assignments on the Bond films, Adam has been additionally responsible for the designs of the vehicles that are so integral to the films’ plot lines.

In contrast to the clean modernism of the above-mentioned work, Adam has also designed lush period decor, efforts which have resulted in his winning two Academy Awards, for Barry Lyndon in 1975 and for The Madness of King George in 1994. The macabre world he designed for Addams Family Values (1993) was nominated as well. The film adaptation of the two-character stage play “Sleuth” (1972) and the ambitious period musical “Pennies from Heaven” (1981) are also among his credits.

Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Ken Adam with producer Albert R. Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert on the set of Moonraker. © 1979 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

For more about Ken Adam's amazing life and career, check out his page on Wikipedia:



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