Blade Runner (1982) - Deckard apartment tile

Blade Runner is a 1982 neo-noir science fiction film loosely based upon Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, theThe famous Ennis House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright post-apocalyptic novel written by Phillip K Dick. Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer the film was generally considered a box office flop but has since established itslef as a cult classic and become one of the most influential films of the genre.

The film is set in a dystopian Los Angeles in the year 2019 and follows Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a retired Blade Runner whose job was to retire replicants who are banned on Earth, he agrees to come out of retirement for one last assignment, to hunt down and retire four replicants.

Syd Mead served as conceptual artist and was responsible for much of the futuristic design work for which the film is now famed, in keeping with this dark production design was Deckard's apartment, designed by Charles William Breen and inspired by the distinctive Ennis House in Los Angeles, built in 1924 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

For the construction of the apartment a mould was taken by the production team from the blocks of the actual Ennis House. These were then reproduced by production to construct the walls of the set made on the Warner Bros stage, none of the interior apartment shots were filmed at the real house, the only location filming at the Ennis House was of the exterior, seen on screen as Deckard drives up the tunnel and pulls into the drive. The tunnel effect was achived by filming on the road outside the Ennis House and then with the integration of Matte paintings to finish the skyline.

This tile is an original used in Rick Deckard's apartment, measuring 16" x 16", these tiles were vacuum formed and then painted. All the texture and detail on the tile is part of the forming and not added later, there are multiple defects and tells within the forming that clearly match those seen on screen. They were fixed on set at a number of the tiles lower points, most nociably in the centre and in the top deep groove, the heads of the fixings were then covered in filler, much of which is still visible around the various holes and the edges of the tile where the joints were filled on set, despite the very dark and atmospheric studio lighting in high definition it is noticable that the fixing points of this tile are absolutly consistant with those seen on screen.

Although such tiles are used in other productions, notably The Rocketeer, the specifics of the actual design pattern are often overlooked, even by those attempting to produce replicas. Three key points of the design are the outside square, internal L shape and the deep grove to the top of the tile, as highlighted in the graphic here. Tiles are often seen in other productions, and replicas, with the recessed bar to the right hand side which is incorrect to the design. This correct design combination highlighted in the graphic is the only type seen on screen in Blade Runner.

An instantly recognisable piece from arguably one of the most influential films of its genre, the production design work of which is still highly regarded today.