I’m once more having a few nights exercising my predilection for Bond lairs and brutalist architecture A few years back I stayed in Geoffrey Bawa’s astonishing modernist masterpiece the Heritance in Sri Lanka, which is built like a long concrete snake along the spine of a central mountain. It’s not for everyone, as the austere design negates the usual requirements of hotel guests (large open sunbathing areas etc), but as an act of ecological bravery alone it’s worth adding to your bucket list.
This time I’m staying in an eco- hotel in St Lucia without a fourth wall to its rooms, so that everything is open to the forest and sea. Like Bawa’s design it is constructed on pillars and walkways that support the central structure while minimising the light and heat impact on the landscape.
I’m only here for a few nights (hey, I’m the writer, not the director) but the plan is also to work most afternoons as my schedule for this year is going to prove punishing. When writers say they can work anywhere, they’re lying; they’d rather be somewhere sunny, which is why so many successful ones end up on the Cote D’Azur.
My fascination with modernist buildings stems not from Le Corbusier, the architect who almost managed to destroy Paris with monstrous carbuncles, but from Ken Adam’s designs for the earlier Bond films, which I reconstructed in balsa wood at home as a child, especially the climactic set from ‘You Only Live Twice’.
I also have a fondness for the boardroom that folds completely flat and becomes a cleansing furnace under a rocket in ‘Moonraker’. There are some film producers I’d like to put in there.
Film sets are not intended to be lived in (although I sometimes feel London has become the Blade Runner set, especially around Soho’s Brewer Street on a rainy summer night) but Adam’s designs had real architectural weight, in the same way that Sid Mead’s transport designs for ‘Blade Runner’ were actually manufacturable.
Perhaps hotels are the closest way we can live out our film dreams. The Aman chain of hotels seems to specialise in creating these hotel dreams, and if they’d like me to teach a writing course in every single one of their branches, I’m so available. Jade Mountain, the hotel in the West Indies, bears a remarkable resemblance to Piz Gloria, the mountaintop lair in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – also the inspiration for the lair in ‘Inception’.