In ‘Dr Strangelove’, the concept for the War Room – the principal setting of this bitterly ironic film about the prospect of nuclear warfare – came from director Stanley Kubrick’s idea for a reinforced-concrete bomb shelter.
Production designer Kenneth Adam dramatised the space by using backlit maps, display boards and a huge circular baize-covered table, which turned defence planning into a poker game. Final concept drawing of felt-tip pen on card for ‘Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1964. Additional section to drawing, 1999 Sir Kenneth Adam, London
“As I tried to build the detail for a scene I found myself tossing away what seemed to me to be very truthful insights because I was afraid the audience would laugh. After a few weeks of this I realized that these incongruous bits of reality were closer to the truth than anything else I was able to imagine. After all, what could be more absurd than the very idea of two mega-powers willing to wipe out all human life because of an accident, spiced up by political differences that will seem as meaningless to people a hundred years from now as the theological conflicts of the Middle Ages appear to us today?”