STUDIO 1999 - The project - The idea and furnishings created for the studio were inspired by Space 1999 -
From dream to reality
“If the future never arrives, I’ll make it myself.”
In 2006, I started my research. Thanks to the Internet I was able to watch the entire 48 episodes on the web, and in particular the first 24 (which are my favorites). I then scoured the web for technical solutions and suppliers who could satisfy my needs and requests.
The first obstacle I dealt with was, how would I create the panels that would become the walls of my Moonbase Alpha? What could I build them out of?
While navigating the web, I came across the site of Catherine Bujold:
It was a true revelation. There was practically everything on it. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so “alone”. There was someone else out there who thought like me and who had already created that which I was about to try and create.
I decided to contact Catherine right away to ask her information about the techniques and materials she used to create the furnishings in her home (which is a true tribute to Space 1999). Actually, I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a house-museum because she has been able, over the years, to collect the exact furnishings that were used in the TV series.
I wrote her a letter in my macaronic English which must have been enough to make myself understood, because she immediately sent me information. She was kind and generous. She offered me suggestions that were extremely helpful in reaching my goals.
I learned that the material that I needed to create my panels was Medium Density Fibreboard, a kind of pressed wood that is very resistant, and which can be cut to precise shapes. At this point, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Catherine Bujold for her help.
Another source of inspiration was Roberto Baldassari’s website:
It helped me enrich my iconographic knowledge, which inspired me and the technical details helped me to create and apply numerous decorative elements in my surroundings.
Thank you, therefore, to Roberto and his rich data bank, full of precious design elements.
As mentioned above, one of the greatest sources of inspiration for my project was the actual TV series. I watched hours and hours of the show, and carefully took notes on all the details. For research purposes, I didn’t pay as much attention to the stories, the characters, the explosions or the various monsters; my eyes analyzed the doors, the corners, the shelves, the flooring, the fire extinguishers, the light fixtures, and the panels where the computer controls were situated, in both the computer rooms and the infirmary.
I studied the internal spaces of the Eagles and the techniques they used and aesthetic considerations they applied that gave the series a realistic quality. By running the images through my computer I was able to save photograms of the most important scenes so that I could create my decor. I built up an archive of images that I used for reference material, sketches and executive designs.
After many hours’ labor, especially on the weekend, and after many, many sketches and drawings and trips to furniture stores and suppliers, including IKEA, which was a real boon, I managed to make my project a reality and find the solutions I needed.
The development of my project
After carefully measuring the two rooms that I decided to decorate in Space 1999 style, which included an entrance and an office, I was able to begin creating the executive designs that would be used for the laser cutting of the MDF.
Before I was able to put up the walls, however, I had to complete the flooring. I needed to find something to neutralize the sensation of being at home - which had nothing to do with the feeling that I was trying to create.
So, I bought white wood parquet from IKEA (and for those of you who love IKEA names, it’s the white TUNDRA) and covered the floors of the two rooms with it.
Construction officially started in August 2006
I had everything I needed: the flooring, the cut panels, the tools for the DIY and, above all, patience. I was excited to see the final result but knew it would take time.
Naturally I ran into some problems along the way. My practical inexperience and my limited budget forced me to reconsider aspects of the project several times. However, as time passed, I began to see satisfactory results.
After completing the IKEA flooring, I had to assemble the laser cut MDF panels and a few IKEA pieces that were “adapted” to my “scene.” Wall anchors, screws, plaster, sandpaper, paint; assemble, align, refinish, touch up and on to the next one, panel after panel. My digital pictures show how my Moonbase Alpha came into being.
All labels belong to their rightful owners - Studio 1999 - a project created by Stefano Saldarelli, September 13, 2009 - Prato, Italy
It might sound simplistic or ironic, but that’s how it really happened.
“Space 1999” and “2001: Space Odyssey” were and will always be the greatest chapters in cinematographic sci-fi, and for me they have even greater meaning. The only reproach I really must make to the two masterpieces is that they showed us a well defined future, in a precise time and world.
1999 and 2001 have come and gone. The only things that came out of the sci-fi movement of the 70’s were a handful of gadgets like cell phones (too many of them!), computers and so on. Even something like sliding doors, which were ubiquitous in spaceships or lunar bases, can only be seen today in elevator doors or mall entrances. So, what happened to all those practical aesthetics that the sci-fi films passed down to us, those elements of design which seemed so “likely” in today’s world i.e. yesterday’s future?
I’m not thinking of flying cars, space ships, or intergalactic voyages. Paradoxically, my feet are firmly planted on the ground. But I do believe that the future is principally based on aesthetics: the aesthetics of a good life, a clean environment, a place that is minimalist but at the same time personalized and personaliz-able. What I am primarily interested in are the technological solutions to building problems and the furnishings and details that were designed in the 70’s but which then disappeared like the setting sun into the 80’s, a decade of excess and ostentation.
I am thinking of all those things that ought to have been, and that never really happened.
I was left with an emptiness that I needed to fill. And that’s why I decided to build my workspace inspired by the design of Space 1999, the Eagles, and the Moonbase Alpha.