Working on this interior was a challenge to say the least. Through many iterations, script rewrites, budget and schedule concerns, the design ended up being a magical golden tree growing out of a glowing pool. This glowing pool is a nexus for magical energy. It went from place of worship for the Shield of Light, to an Inferni lair, and back, to what ended up being in the final cut.

In the world of Bright, where magic is a combination of the cold war and terrorism, persecuted magic proactitioners (good or evil), have to hide their operations. 451 Abrams, a rotting apartment complex in the hood provides cover from curious onlookers.

The main set - a rotting, gutted, two story building was built extensively to match the real world location exterior.

It was almost entirely built before director David Ayer settled on what would be happening over the pool.

This was a concept for what the ceiling could look like.

Magic light

For a while, there was exploration playing with the idea of how magic energy is focused. Early in development, it was a kind of concentration of light using mirrors and various light sources. An idea that almost got traction was a geodesic dome made of construction scaffolding, to which lights, mylar sheets and mirrors were mounted for some wild kaleidoscpoic effects. Ultimately, it felt too much like installation art than a secret magic place of worship.

Further exploration

With the idea of magic as light not gaining much traction, I did a timed ‘speed run’ to push an many ideas I could. I was using Andrew Menzies’ references to come up with shapes. The idea of magic being some kind of water/time based force was starting to form.

We tried giving Tikka a Chrysalis from her tranformation into a bright.

A shrine to an angel

for a while, Chrsitian motifs were explored, including an angel and the pool resembling

a crucifix. The shape of the pool stuck.

‘magic chrysalis’, ‘alabaster angel’, ‘web of magic’ were ideas thrown around.

Victims of magic

When Jakoby and Ward go deeper into Abrams, they encounter magically annihilated corpses. This was the exploration of a central set piece. A kind of sinister but beautiful chandelier of victims of the Inferni.

‘unnaturally frozen in time as opposed to killed’ was an idea Andrew wanted me to explore visually. I was trying to retain the silhouette of an angel and tree in the way the victims are frozen in mid-air.

A sinister chandelier

Peter Ruben stole the show with his work on the ‘Wall Angel’. This was my attempt to design a similar set piece to hang over the magic pool.

Ironically, this sketch was the one  that approved the tree! To my embarassment, the maquette the company that build the tree included the ‘omg’ figure for scale in the same pose.

The magic tree

At this point in production, the interior set for Abrams was almost finished. It was stressful to have the another idea scrapped entirely again. In the end, the idea of a magic tree was settled on. I suspect in the absense of a looming deadline and tightening budget, the exploration could have been drawn out indefinitely.

The final concept was ‘spherized’ to give tree a more perfect and sacred feeling. I was referencing very old bozai trees and old oaks to make the tree feel ancient and wise.