Sir Ken Adam (1921–2016) was one of the most outstanding production designers of the 20th century. Adam, whose family had to leave Berlin in 1934 and emigrated to London, enrolled first at the Bartlett School of Architecture. During the war he served as a fighter pilot for the RAF. By coincidence he was engaged to do designs for a film after the war. As a result, he collaborated with outstanding designers, like Oliver Messel, and well-known directors, such as Stanley Kubrick, Robert Aldrich, Jacques Tourneur and István Szabó. Adam’s name is primarily associated with the design of the James Bond films, whose sets bore his handwriting from the beginning. He was responsible for the design of a total of seven Bond films.
Ken Adam worked on nearly 100 film projects, two opera productions, a multimedia project and diverse exhibitions over the course of more than fifty years. He has received a great number of prestigious honors and awards, including the British Academy Film Award, six Academy Award nominations and two award-winning Oscars. In 2012, Ken Adam has given the entirety of his artistic life’s work to the Deutsche Kinemathek.
The Deutsche Kinemathek has made this archival material publicly accessible at ken-adam-archiv.de. The online archive illustrates Adam’s creative process from his first sketches to the finished set. Essays, conversations and photo galleries elucidate the biography of this exceptional talent, demonstrate Ken Adam’s creative methods and tap into the influences and impact of his œuvre.
The cataloging and preparation of the Ken Adam Archive online presentation was supported by the Lotto-Stiftung Berlin.