Monday, 13 July 2015

Reusing is Elementary!

This spring, I was lucky enough to get to go to the first official convention for BBC's tv series, Sherlock. 

I spent two and a half days with two friends (and about 6,000 other fans) at London's ExCel Convention Centre. There was a lot to see and do, including getting up close and personal with most of the cast and crew (see the final picture for proof!).

One of my favourite parts of the weekend was learning more about the work of production designer Arwel Wyn Jones. He and his team create the look of the show, including the decor of 221B Baker Street. 

Arwel and his team made a lot of props for this modern version of Sherlock Holmes' famous address. They also used new items, found objects and charity shop treasures. Some antiques do appear, along with carefully selected "junk." It's all set in a flat designed to look like it was last decorated some time in the 1960s. 

If you've ever watched the show, you'll know that Sherlock's flat has a lot going on. Every item tells us something about him. For instance, there is a copy of Faust in the original German language on the bookshelves. Some German fans donated it, because that is how Sherlock Holmes (in the original stories) would have read Faust. Sherlock is a graduate chemist and loves to experiment, so there is a lot of science equipment. That probably explains the various specimens, too. And because of the work Sherlock does, there are weapons, skulls and blood spatter reference charts. 221B is as cluttered with things as Sherlock's mind is with facts. Everything seems random, but (as Sherlock would insist) it is all exactly where it should be. 

The BBC has a reputation for limited budgets, yet Arwel and his team have given 221B Baker Street a look that is a perfect blend of vintage and modern.

My friend Keynyn (right) and I take our seats in the used chairs that Sherlock and John usually sit in.
Pro Tip: Dr. John Watson's favourite armchair is REALLY uncomfortable (it's broken in a few places),
but apparently Martin Freeman doesn't mind. 
As I looked at all the set pieces and props on display at the convention, it struck me that Arwel would have a lot of fun at the Reuse Centre! Our blog has recently featured ideas for interior decorating samples, and Arwel has a fondness for old wallpapers and tiles. I don't imagine anyone here in Edmonton will be using our items to dress the set for an Emmy-winning television production. But you never know!

Get a closer look at the 221B Baker Street set with Empire Magazine:

And here is the proof that I met Benedict Cumberbatch! If you are a fan, well, you have
every reason to be--he is a real gentleman.

- RuthAnn (Volunteer)

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