Stanley Kubrick’s fastidiousness was legendary, so it’s no surprise that this book of 2001 concept art is equally obsessive. It focuses on the archive of Harry Lange – the NASA designer turned Art Director who visualized the fim’s hardware after Kubrick’s intended collaborator, Ken Adam, bailed on what he saw as a half-formed and stressful project.
Lange’s designs are remarkably believable. Indeed, at times this feels more like a technical manual than an art book, with page after page of crisp black and white line drawings detailing chairs, docking bays and landing pads. More exciting are the alternative designs for the space station, various craft and the monolith – of which we see numerous angular designs, but none as implacably eerie as that simple rectangle.
The cult of Kubrick will be in heaven here. And while agnostics may find the book a little dry in places, the art and Frayling’s text make for an engaging insight into the collaboration between Lange, Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke – three geniuses pulling together to create a masterpiece.