Set Pieces: Eye-popping Deco and Pop interiors of Almodovar’s ‘Broken Embraces’ now on DVD


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Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Broken Embraces,’ which made its DVD debut on Tuesday, weaves a complex tale of love, betrayal and regret. For design fans, it’s simply another example of the Spanish director’s brilliant eye for interiors.

Penelope Cruz, above right, stars as Lena, an aspiring actress stuck in an unhappy love affair with a wealthy film producer. He tries to squash her ambition by telling her their mansion needs to be redecorated. It so doesn’t. It has grand 19th century rooms filled with Old Masters and Warhol-style paintings of guns, and a fantastic boudoir inspired by the Paris-based early modernist designer Eileen Gray. The dressing room is complete with a French Deco vanity and a keyhole-back chair found in Madrid, says Antxon Gomez, the production designer for ‘Broken Embraces.’


Lena becomes the star of a film-within-the-film, a comedy set in a bold apartment filled with primary hues and angular contemporary furnishings. ‘The colors are habitual in Almodovar’s film,’ says Gomez. The seating area, pictured right, uses a reissued Utrecht sofa and chairs (a 1935 Gerrit T. Rietveld design) and Pop art accents such as the Enzo Mari red apple wall hanging.

Gomez used pieces by contemporary designers, including the Spanish-born Patricia Urquiola. ‘Almodovar likes her work,’ he says. ‘It’s interesting and she was delighted.’

See Urquiola’s pieces and more of the apartment after the jump.

Above: The terrace of the ‘Broken Embraces’ apartment features an Eero Saarinen table with a customized ceramic tile top and Harry Bertoia white wire side chairs. To the left are Urquiola’s Tropicalia chairs. ‘They were prototypes from the Milan trade show,’ says Gomez, ‘because at the time of the filming they hadn’t been produced.’
Above: A close-up view of the Tropicalia outdoor chair, left, and Urquiola’s felt Antibodi chair. They sell for $1,056 (and up) and $5,152 (and up) through Moroso dealers, including GGM at 8783-8788 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 271-9011.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Paola Ardizzoni and Emilio Pereda El Deseo D.A. S.L.U. / Sony Pictures Classics

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