CRAZY RICH ASIANS

  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Set Decorator Andrew Baseman SDSA International takes us through key sets, with an insider POV on the making of this exuberant box office hit...

    Tyersall Park, Singapore...
    “The first time we see the interior of Tyersall Park, the Young estate, is upon Rachel's arrival. The house is bustling with hundreds of party guests. It isn't until this dumpling-making scene later on that you can actually see some of the details, including William Morris and Chinoiserie wallpaper, Chinese porcelain vases, and carved wood and gilt chairs...”

    Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Henry Golding, Constance Wu © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Cake and Carry, Greenwich Village, New York...

    “The original setting for this scene was written as Tea and Sympathy, an actual British style tea salon in Greenwich Village, NYC. I live nearby and have been going there for over 20 years, and was excited to re-create the cozy interior. When we couldn't get the rights to the name, it became Cake & Carry and morphed into an American bakery, in the style of the Magnolia Bakery.”

    Henry Golding, Constance Wu © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Cake and Carry, Greenwich Village, NYC...

    “We worked with an amazing local food stylist, Pelita Lim, who was unaccustomed to colorful American baked goods such as red velvet cake, blondies, and cupcakes with tall icing. She and her assistants did a wonderful job with this and then blew us all away with the Asian food she made and styled for the rest of the movie.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park...

    “The color green is featured prominently throughout the movie, as seen in the blouse Michelle Yeoh, as Eleanor Young, is wearing, and more dramatically by the emerald ring (her own!) she wears.

    The tiger in the background was scripted, and since real ones are illegal to import, finding one proved difficult. My amazing assistant Lauren Richards had this one made in China by artisans she worked with on a previous job. It was so realistic that it was almost confiscated by customs at the border.”


    Photo by Sanja Bucko © 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park...

    A “before” shot of the grand staircase...

    “As we were on a limited budget, Production Designer Nelson Coates and I considered keeping the original carpet on the staircase, but it just didn’t look right and the thought of doing so was keeping me up at night...”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park...
    “I had less than 5 weeks to prep this entire movie...typically on a movie such as this I would have at least 8-12 weeks of prep. So the first thing Nelson and I focused on was the wallpaper. At a mall in Bangsar, we found a William Morris sample book and pounced on it, scaring the salesperson. The unusual green color set the tone for the entryway.

    Eventually, we found money in our budget to have a gorgeous patterned runner made, and our resourceful and talented buyer, Ju Min Tan, used his influence to have it custom-made in less than a week. The runner showed up at around 10PM the night before shooting and installation was completed just before daybreak...the last element dressed into the set!”


    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park hallway...

    “Before”...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park hallway...

    ...and “after”...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park...

    “At the first screening of the film, I actually gasped out loud when I saw how beautiful this room was shot. I love working with a tight color palette and pulled all of the colors for the furniture and accessories from the luminous wallpaper. We didn’t have the time or money to reupholster any of the furniture so all of the pieces throughout the house were used as is. The rug, which I typically have early in the design process, was the last item I found. And those colors in the pair of porcelain garden stools…I drooled a little when I first spotted them.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, detail...

    “We worked with local florist Eunice Teo, who had never worked on a movie before, and created the most exquisite floral arrangements I have ever seen. The delicate flowers used in abundance throughout Tyersall House had to survive 5 days of shooting in hot and humid conditions so Eunice came by each day to maintain the arrangements.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, Living room, before...

    “This former grand hotel had been abandoned for many years. The most recent guests, a barrel of monkeys, showed us their gratitude for years of free lodging by leaving us piles of poo to clean up.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, Living room, after...
    Old World grandeur...


    “A mix of Peranakan and European furniture, English wallpaper, and Victorian details. The silk curtains were made overnight by draper Yap Chuen Yin, who always smiled and never complained when asked to do the impossible.
    I wish I could make the same claim for myself...”


    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, detail...

    “Symmetry is one of the key elements of the Peranakan style, which is a Singapore Straits hybrid of Asian styles with European influences. I especially like the collection of miniature porcelain snuff bottles on the wood display shelf at center.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, kitchen...

    Rachel meets Nick’s mother, Eleanor...

    Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Constance Wu © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, kitchen...

    “We used an empty room at a small cultural museum in downtown Kuala Lumpur for the Tyersall House Kitchen. It was to shoot early in the schedule and we had little time to dress it. Nelson designed and built the back wall, complete with working oven and burners, as well as the stunning painted tile floor. The center island and hanging range hood were impossible to find so we had them built.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, conservatory...

    “There is no ‘before’ shot of this because it was a built set. Although we found existing antique doors and windows, everything else, including the painted tile floor was created on the grounds of the Tyersall Park location.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, conservatory...

    “I had a blast filling up this indoor/outdoor space with antique furniture, ceramic vases, statues, birdcages, and lanterns, working closely with ace greensmen Jack Elliott and Jack Whiddon.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Tyersall Park, conservatory...

    “Nelson designed, printed and installed a pair of sumptuous wall murals literally overnight.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Eleanor’s house...

    “Eleanor’s House is the first true glimpse of Singapore we see early in the film...although it was shot in Malaysia! To contrast the old world interiors of Tyersall House, we filled this light and airy exterior with a mixture of elegant contemporary furniture, art and accent pillows.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Eleanor’s house...

    Baseman definitely has a curator’s eye...
    The weave on the chaise lounges echoes the shape of the niches in the far wall, while the console table and pedestal repeat the hard edges of both sets of stairs, and the painting gives a two-dimensional hint of the bas-relief further on...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Eleanor’s house...

    Exuding a contemporary Peranakan style, the terrace features a bas-relief comprised of floral/animal ornamentation and a mix of Asian &
    European elements...
    Here, modern is mixed with ancient.
    Fantastic slat chairs and contemporary design on the garden stools...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Astrid’s house...

    Modern, but with nods to her history and cultural touchstones...
    The gold wing chairs are entirely contemporary, but upholstered in a subtle mustard gold as a nod to her heritage, as well as symmetrically placed. Baseman has added a symbolic butterfly collection and telescope, enabling her to see beyond...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Astrid’s house...

    “This collection of vases and sculpture was curated from different shops in KL...”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Astrid’s house...

    Baseman points out...
    “Prop houses are absent in Malaysia and Singapore, so we made friends with the local vendors and rented items off the floor of their shops. Decorating Astrid’s Apartment on a minimal budget was a daunting task, as in the film we witness her plunking down over $1 million dollars for a pair of earrings. Surely her apartment had to show her exquisite taste and wealth…and also be affordable to our budget.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Astrid’s house...

    Again the beautiful echoing of shapes: the cabinet and then the painting on the stairs, the black round pedestal table and the blackish/noirish plate, the flowers in vase repeating the porcelain pieces...

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Astrid’s house...

    Baseman notes...
    “I write a blog, ‘Past Imperfect: The Art of Inventive Repair’, which features curiously repaired ceramics. So, naturally, I try to feature interesting ceramics in my sets. This trio is new but inspired by antique porcelain. I find this sophisticated mix of Chinese and British decoration a perfect display for Astrid.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The Goh family house...

    “The interior of the Goh house was shot in Malaysia, but this exterior was shot in Singapore. Originally, the fountain was white, but we Trumped it up by adding statues and urns and gilding everything we could.”

    Awkwafina as Rachel’s college best friend, who happens to be from Singapore, Goh Peik Lin
    Constance Wu as Rachel

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    “The Goh house interiors were shot at the Royal Museum, formerly the Royal Palace of Kuala Lumpur, but I was not allowed to use their furnishings and had to bring everything in...”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    “Much of the furnishings were purchased at two different stores with similar names: Empire Classic Furniture and Emperor Classic Furniture, where families like the Gohs would have shopped.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    “I had a ball finding understated and tasteful pieces such as these cozy sofas and simple coffee table...”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    “As we were not allowed to shoot in the palace's furnished dining room, around the corner from this sitting room, we were able to push it over the top in our version, with these stupefying chairs and pink and gold room accents.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    Goh Wye Mun, Peik Lin's wealthy father delights in his over-the-top nouveau riche lifestyle, happily encouraging his daughter’s best friend to indulge...

    Ken Jeong, Constance Wu, Awkwafina. Photo by Sanja Bucko © 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    The very tuned-in Peik Lin is determined to have Rachel dressed in top designer style for the upcoming wedding of the year/decade/century {!} that she will be attending. This is only a glimpse of her bedroom suite.
    See next photo for another corner peek...

    Awkwafina, Constance Wu © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    Goh house...

    Baseman recalls...
    “Three days before shooting, we were told we must abide by the strict Muslim law of the museum, and couldn't use any statues, figurines or anything with a human or animal form. I had already purchased multiple animal figurines, toys, dolls, statues, a 6’ long carved wood gilt fish, a huge bronze bull, and figural ballet dancer side table...so out they went.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The $40 million wedding...

    The bride walks down a pathway of flowing water flanked by gorgeous florals, as guests standing behind banks of grasses hold wands of glowing butterflies and fireflies creating a glittering archway...

    Sonoya Mizuno, Michelle Yeoh. Photo by Sanja Bucko © 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The $40 million wedding...

    Baseman recalls...
    “The spectacular wedding ceremony was shot in Singapore at Chijmes, a former convent and school. We had 2 days to completely transform the interior into a lush garden. We created the stunning custom made lanterns, green velvet kidney shaped benches, and dramatic velvet curtains.”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The $40 million wedding...

    “Hundreds of live bromeliads, palms and ferns were added along with thousands of blades of artificial grass, virtually overnight, by greensmen Jack and Jack. The stone wall was sculpted out of foam.”

    Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Henry Golding, Jimmy O. Yang.
    Photo by Sanja Bucko


  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The $40 million wedding, reception...

    “Although the wedding reception was the last set we shot, it loomed large in my mind everyday. We weren't even sure we would be granted permission to shoot at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, but were finally given permission and plunged ahead. It was scripted that this was the wedding of the year/decade/century, so we had to pull out all of the stops and deliver something truly spectacular.
    Up until this point in the story, we held back on using much red, knowing we wanted an explosion of red for this special event.”


    Michelle Yeoh. Photo by Sanja Bucko © 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures



  • set decorator
    Andrew Baseman SDSA International

    production designer
    Nelson Coates

    Warner Bros.


    The $40 million wedding, reception...

    “A wedding for a wealthy family and on a scale this large would most likely have had over 1000 guests, but we got away with just 250 place settings. We used local vendors to create custom oval tables, silk tablecloths and 300 silk napkins. The flowers are a mix of live and artificial, sprinkled with tiny lights. Deep in the background is a skirted gift table with a money tree. We found the only white piano available in Singapore. The white chairs were unique to me at the time we found them in Singapore, but I believe they have since made it to the US, as everything eventually does!”

    Image © 2018 Warner Bros. Pictures


New Yorker Rachel Chu [Constance Wu] accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young [Henry Golding], to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore, his hometown. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back with jealous, picture-perfect, backstabbing socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother [Michelle Yeoh]. An engaging and hilarious look at what can happen when young love collides with old money.
--Warner Bros.
 
 
Jon Chu, the director of this runaway hit based on Kevin Kwan’s international bestseller, says, “We knew that the universality of the story would come from its specificity. The more specific we could be about the cultural touchstones, the characters and their backgrounds, the more we would create a story that people everywhere could emotionally connect with. Because every culture and every family is crazy, and has traditions and weird things you’re reluctant to show anyone, but that over time you just might become proud of and want to share.”
 
To hit those cultural touchstones and bring this lavish world to life, Chu relied upon Production Designer Nelson Coates and Set Decorator Andrew Baseman SDSA International, as well as Director of Photography Vanja Č Ernjul. They, in turn, brought on talented crews and specialists as they filmed in Singapore and neighboring Malaysia, particularly the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, which stood in for parts of Singapore and even early scenes set in NYC.
 
Baseman gives us an insider’s POV as he takes us through the photo gallery of amazing sets [above]. It was such an exciting, tight-on-time-&-budget, but joyful experience, that he plans to return for the holidays!

Astek Wallcovering
 
Chu imparts, “When Kevin set up his computer, he wrote ‘Joy’ on a Post-It note and put it right on the monitor, and every day as he wrote his story, he looked at that note. He said that whatever happened, that was the most important thing he wanted to communicate.
Seven years later, we’re making this movie and he told me, ‘Whatever you do, this is the only thing that matters. If you can convey joy, it’ll work.’ That has been our guiding light, our North Star, throughout.”
 
Enjoy!
Karen Burg
Editor
 
 
 
 
 
 



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