The filmmakers behind the new movie Jupiter Rising, Lana and Andy Wachowski, are from Chicago. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the pair showed off their hometown in the design of the spaceships in the movie.
“I always thought the spaceships in ‘Star Wars’ were so ugly, utilitarian and kind of anti-aesthetic,” said Lana in the Tribune article. “The ships I would make from Legos (as a child) were better. Spaceships can be beautiful and should be better-designed. Even the auto industry wants exquisiteness. When we started this film, we wanted to bring the beauty that humans bring to great architecture to spaceships.”
So the Wachowskis asked the concept designer, George Hull, to incorporate Chicago architecture in the design of the space ships. For example, the space ship piloted by the character Titus includes elements of the famous C.D. Peacock jewelry store on State Street in the Loop and the back of the vessel is designed to look like the lighthouse peak on the top of the Carbon & Carbide Building. Elements from other Chicago architectural gems, including the Tribune Tower and the Newberry Library, inform other parts of the craft.
The competing spaceship, captained by the character Balem, has similar Chicago connections. The front of it contains faces inspired by the Tree Studios building on Ontario Street, and the boardroom on the ship has elements that resemble the latticework under the El train tracks.
So if anyone tries to tell you that future space vessels will be all about practicality, remind them that at least some people have another idea – that great architecture will inspire the design of even the most modern vehicles.