This year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise. To celebrate, the studios behind the longest running series in film history are releasing Bond 50, a special edition Blu-ray package that includes all 22 Bond films to date and over 130 hours of bonus features, and we couldn’t be more excited. In true Flavorpill fashion we’re honoring the world’s most dashing Brit licensed to kill’s cultural milestone by combining two of our very favorite things: super sexy secret agents and architecture. If you’re a fan of Bond then you know the design legacy of the films is as exotic and varied as the celebrated women who call themselves Bond Girls. What you may not know is the deep-seated relationship between design and the Bond character’s creator, Ian Fleming.
Legend has it, as The Guardian reports, that Fleming was an outspoken hater of modernism. So much so that he named one of his most evil villains after Erno Goldfinger, architect of London’s famed Trellick Tower. Apparently the architect was a neighbor of Fleming’s in Hampstead, and “the conservation-minded author was incensed when he demolished two Victorian houses to build his now-classic modern villas on Willow Road. He returned the insult by lending Goldfinger’s name to his fictional gold-loving megalomaniac.” It’s no accident that all of the Bond villains reside in modernist lairs with obvious influences from the likes of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Chamberlin Powell & Bon, the firm responsible for what’s been deemed London’s ugliest building, the brutalist Barbican Center. Fleming openly admits the correlation and in doing so — we think — can officially lay claim to the greatest cerebral snub in pop culture history.
From John Lautner’s iconic mid-century masterpieces to the world’s first revolving mountaintop restaurant to a stunning observatory residence in the Chilean desert, here’s our roundup of some of the most incredible statement architecture featured in the franchise to date.
Festival House Bregenz by Dietrich and Untertrifaller, Bregenz, Austria — featured in Quantum of Solace
Image credit: Festspielhaus Bregenz
Piz Gloria Restaurant by Konrad Wolf, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland — featured in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Image credit: Mittel Europa
Paranal Residencia by Auer+Weber, Atacama Desert, Chile — featured in Quantum of Solace
Image credit: European Southern Observatory
The Elrod House by John Lautner, Palm Springs, California — featured in Diamonds Are Forever
Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner, Beverly Hills, California — featured in License To Kill
Image credit: Blood is the New Black
Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry, Bilbao, Spain — featured in The World Is Not Enough
Image credit: Return on Design
Udaipur Palace by Maharana Udai Singh, Rajasthan, India — featured in Octopussy
Image credit: CityPictures
Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo, Puerto Rico — featured in Goldeneye
Image credit: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Fontainebleu Hotel by Morris Lapidus, Miami Beach, Florida — featured in Goldfinger
Image credit: Atlanta Magazine
Meteora monasteries, Plain of Thessaly, Greece — featured in For Your Eyes Only
Image credit: WonderMondo