CCII – Bluebeard and the Miraculous Mandarin
a set design for Christophe
location: Brussels (BE) – La Monnaie / De Munt
client: Christophe Coppens
program: set design
set design: Christophe Coppens i.c.w. i.s.m.architecten
production: La Monnaie / De Munt
with thanks to: Lise Caluwé for her assistance to i.s.m.architecten in creating the model
photographs: Simon van Rompay, Charlie De Keersmaecker & Chris Van Der Burcht
i.s.m.architecten was invited by Christophe Coppens to assist him in the creation of the set design. The music of these two works is of the best that the interbellum of the last century has to offer. The dark, symbolic colors of Bluebeard’s Castle, lit only here and there by glittering details, are, as it were, torn apart in the expressionistic, screaming colorite of The Miraculous Mandarin. Unity is achieved by using the same basic set: a stage with nine rooms, connected by stairs and doors and filled with crystal figures. All of that composed in mirrors and glass, creating misleading perspectives and deviating light from his normal trail.
In Bluebeard’s Castle these elements are used fairly literally to depict the castle with its rooms and closed doors. The torture chamber is given spire rods, the weapon room guns, the treasure room brilliant diamonds.
Overwhelming is the fifth door that opens the eye to the world. In The Miraculous Mandarin, the set becomes the bearer of an explosive, colorful tidal wave of flashy scenarios that play simultaneously in different rooms.