It’s the way I am
What is someone’s soul? Nobody knows. Soul – is even so hard to be fictional. So, how could one invent the soul – of bad or good person? How could one invent a soul – which seemed to be bad or good? And, who will judge? Actually, who were the judges? And, after all – who was bad or good? When there no white or black anymore – something gray appears. Gray – as a lame excuse of black-and-white absence. Is it some golden mean? Someone has invented a gray soul. It was so gray, that it was creepy or even disgusting only try to understand it. So, has someone understood? Or – judged? Human is a constantly changing world of the past, a slightly visible shade of “now” and a silent whisper of the future. So, how could one explain the soul of so complicated and non-static substance? No way. “Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up” – this soul will answer you.
And, that was so strange when one tried to judge and explain him. Even – so “academic” soul in terms of psychology or psychoanalysis… in terms of everything you could know a là “psycho” and the dark forest further. In fact, what the society has come to – judge the invented – non-existing soul? Mr. Aristotle would move. So, how can we see Christian Grey – except for the immovable wall of conviction and defiance? Dorian Gray had a very special justification. It was his portrait – alive – separately from him. It was a portrait which created him. But what was Christian’s justification? Only – his essence. Is everyone able to control his “nature”? Don’t make me laugh. Does each man take care about woman’s pleasure? Christian Grey has noticed this nuance even in the contract. But, what the ordinary men are talking about? It seems – about nothing. Because even it terms of a “traditional” sex – they only try to find a woman – among the hidden desires. Christian Grey understood his desires. He knew the price of passion. In fact, passion is not so easy for everyone – especially for the social mass – when everyone is placed in his own social case of “piety”, “virgin” minds and sexual trust. If all these aspects don’t make a problem – some mythical “Freud” wouldn’t exist. Freud – like so so “Shakespeare” of a new era – it is about a very strange epoch when sex became a taboo and has been turned into a “psycho-problem” – which is sexually transmitted from generation to generation.
But, what else do we have – in addition to the psycho- and pseudo-problems? What is fifty problems of nowadays society? Maybe, it is about luxury. Who knows about a double price of luxury? Fifty shades – is this double price. It is a dual price of fear, of the definition – “not as all”. It is the price of pleasure multiplied by pain. It is about pain marked with fifty shades of individuality. It is about a savage luxury marked with a special nature and even intellect. It is about a true beauty and non-trivial vision of this world. Individuality, passion, so virgin adulthood marked with fifty shades of taste – that was his home.
Christian Grey – is only a well-measured utopia. Because there is no the psychoanalysts, who would able turn the sadist into a perfect lover. Mr. Grey is a person-passion. He is a person-fear. Person-pain. There is no the designers who would be able mask a pathology behind the screen of luxury. Actually, what are the fifty shades of luxury?
Christian Grey’s apartment – was no as gray as his soul was
We can see a quiet lighting. Modern Vellum wall lamp by Brabbu embodies a special elegance of nature which could be “transformed by the man’s hand” into something very beautiful and ancient. Its external shape comes from the ancient manuscripts, where the messages have been written. So, Vellum – fills the space with warm lighting stories which exist beyond time. What was the language of those stories? It was the language of mysteries. It was a touch of the past and a silent fantasy which sounds like various stories – in his eyes. It is about subtle contours of light in his immense solitude. When these lighting stories were in his rooms – all gray shades disappeared.
His luxury was marked with a very special nature. Quite massive Sequoia table by Brabbu differs by a true aesthetics of natural beauty that reveals a very ancient story which has neither an exact time nor ending. A unique wooden texture is enriched by the brass dark. So, darkest but at the same time warm shades – become a noble accent of his apartment, symbolizing an ancient spirit and mysterious nature of luxury, or a timeless myth which needs no any definitions or limits. An exquisite wooden texture was in a perfect harmony with the marble surfaces creating an elegant contrast with the upholstery of the sofa. Some elegant roughness, an exceptional beauty and a special aesthetics, and a very rare nature – were the main accents of Sequoia table.
We can also see Elliott table by Minotti (design – Rodolfo Dornodoni). It is about completely another image which means a special nature and its splendor. Jewel-like this object symbolizes a pure beauty of nature marked with an exclusive artistic value maintaining its own essence. Actually, each object designed by Rodolfo Dordoni – is always marked with a timeless elegance and unique aesthetics revealed in paradigm of clear lines and a rare beauty of materials. We can see a quite simple geometry of Elliott table marked with exceptional nobility and a well-measured elegance of materials and their various combinations. Precious marble surface in a deep Sahara Noir shade, an external framing in a glossy gold – create an exquisite contrast. As though, we see a gemstone in a piece of jewelry.
Catlin coffee tables by Minotti (design – Rodolfo Dordoni) with the marble surfaces become a perfect accompaniment to Elliott’s table charm. It is about some virgin simplicity revealed in such an adult feeling, perception and understanding of elegance. So bold combination of visual and tactile effects – “cold” and deep – that could be felt but not just seen. Such a design can have very different stylistic interpretations, such a design – needs no definitions. We can only enjoy it. I should say that Rodolfo Dordoni is a maestro of a timeless design; he is a virtuoso who is able to open a pure elegance – without any decorations. That is why such objects are marked with a unique beauty which is beyond its time. Such a design means a feeling of superior elegance, but not just a visual perception. The eyes – is quite often not enough – to see this world and its beauty.
There was so various lighting in Christian Grey’s apartment. This could be a mysterious touch of fantasy, or some spontaneous rhythms, a laconic geometry or even provocative gesture. IKE floor lamp by Delightfull differs by the rhythmic composition of its elements, quite reduced shapes and clean lines revealed in lots of black. A special elegance, refinement and a spontaneous touch of modernity – amused his eyes with the unmistakable contrast, combining cold metal shining and deep shades of black.
Turner table lamp by Delightfull becomes a special accessory that reveals a playful and even provocative gesture of Art Deco. Design of this lamp was inspired by Tina Turner’s dance moves, and it has a shape marked with typical Art Deco motifs. One more interesting feature is possibility of rotating its arcs into various positions – so, one can create an interesting design composition at any time. The arcs are made in brass with a copper finish, and the top is covered in aluminum lacquered in glossy black or white. So, we can see a refined contrast. Actually, contrast always means a special dynamics revealed in any space. Such an elegant table lamp is a perfect accent of any interior location, and its soft lighting – completes gray colours with another shades.
He had no definitions. He has once said – “I’m a sadist”. Devoid of any determination – a person-labyrinth, Christian Grey – was wandering inside his own soul. Each puzzle of his apartment – was an exquisite – rare chimera – charming at first sight. There were also the labyrinths in his home – for example, it is about a strange Avenue folding screen by Boca Do Lobo. This was so weird “wall” which divided nothing. It was stand-alone – somewhere near the real wall or under the stairs – for what? Because everyone – has its own inner labyrinths, and inner walls. Avenue folding screen was so strange, actually – it was very eclectical. It was so fragmentary – like Christian was. An exclusive elegance, some “work of art by itself” value, some limit to define the inner borders. That screen consisted of various sections, placed chaotically (or geometrically) but very exquisitely at the same time. That is a true art – to create elegant contrasts. Several sections were finished in golden leaf with a high gloss varnish, two panels – lacquered in black. An exceptional aesthetics of walnut wooden surface was revealed in a geometric mosaic made through marquetry. Another – were in ebony leaf with high gloss varnish.
He could not imagine this world without music. In fact – is it possible – to hear this world without music? But, what were his sounds? Christian’s sounds were similar to a very special music that needs a unique ability – to hear. If someone has once heard the organ’s sound (not music – but sound) – could never forget it. Because some sounds – have a special nature which is always inside you. So, we can see Symphony sideboard by Boca Do Lobo in his apartment. Design of this object “takes inspiration from church organ tubes, as well as the curves of violin”. At first – we can see so shining external surfaces – so luxurious glance of golden plated brass, but from the other side – we can see so deep inner “soul”. The inner structure was made of Rosewood veneer. We can see so regular external rhythm, and at the same time – so inimitable inside patterns – because it is about a unique inner nature. It is about a completely incompatible combination of modernity and history; it is about a timeless history which could be only felt – even if you didn’t know enough knowledge. This was Christian’s home, this was his interior. This was the design of Symphony – this was the way Boca Do Lobo – appeared in any interior.
Some common opinion about the upholstered furniture has nothing in common with a context of male elegance. That’s why in Christian Grey’s apartment we can see a unique upholstered furniture marked with – its inner soul – and it is not gray at all. It is about so special male elegance, which beauty – only a woman – could see entirely or feel. So at first – we can see a unique leitmotif revealed in “G” Sofa series by Limitless. It is about a symbolic design marked with some touch of drama and a unique synthesis of modernity and exceptional elegance. Because we can see a sofa, and various modular sections of this furniture collection – everywhere. It is about a symbolic context of “return”. Like – wherever you go – you come back. This is some associative – remainder-addiction, it is about a visual habit – to see. And it becomes a shock – when you cannot see. So, what was the reason Mrs. Steele became tamed – was it a sofa, or lash?
And further we can see the renewed upholstered furniture collection. Modern drama was replaced with a timeless elegance by Minotti. It is about Lounge Seymour collection (design – Rodolfo Dordoni). An exceptional – a pure contrast – between a strictly geometry shapes and a special silhouette of sensual grace. Linearity and a “sinuous architectural language” – became new representation of feminine comfort and modern taste. A true perfection of shapes is associated with a woman’s presence inside his heart. In fact, someone’s heart – which remembers the only one woman – could never be gray anymore. Exquisite Leslie armchairs and modular “open-end-element” system – create another context of Christian Grey’s interior revealing a special dynamics – which was so new for him, and so another for our perception. Serpentine vis-à-vis sofa by Minotti differs by a special sensuality – it is about a dialogue. It means he becomes able to change himself – and he is able to look in her eyes, he wants to hear her soul. It is about a timeless symbol of someone’s inner antinomy. It is a timeless formula of understanding yourself through your dual nature.
Aston armchairs by Minotti (design – Rodolfo Dordoni) became a perfect accompaniment to Seymour Collection. It is about a unique aesthetical value of a true design marked with an excellent synthesis of modernity and some authentic character. A special charm of memories about “the old-fashioned parlor or drawing room, reserved for receiving guests”, where delicate furniture and accessories – reveal some intimacy. So delicate lines, an excellent taste and feeling of the elegance of time – became typical features of Christian’s dining area. A delicate touch of fashion embodies a renewed image of tradition in male eyes. It is about a charismatic shade of retro, sober linearity and an elegant composition which means “time-tested craftsmanship”.
His dining area was also marked with a special lighting. It is about a very stylish and unique modern modular structure of Crown Major pendant chandelier by NEMO (deign by JEHS + LAUB). We can see a constructive and quite spontaneous composition marked with its own sense of rhythm widespread everywhere. Its modular structure in die-casted aluminium can be made with hand polished, glossy gold plated or gold surface which increases the lighting effect. Sand blasted diffusers create an effect of a soft light. We can see a unique “illusion of never-ending connections” – which seems to change the direction in itself. This lighting installation becomes an intricate accent of his dining area, creating a noble contrast and corresponding to the furnishing.
He was himself and he was not himself. Unlike most others – he was alive, but he felt guilty to be alive. So luxurious and so painful was his life. He knew well about the price of pain, he could make someone pleasure by pain. But – what did he know about women? He did not hate his mother, as you could “academically” think. He just couldn’t accept her. Because being a child – he saw something after what he couldn’t accept a woman at all. Woman became some defect of society. Did he want to punish his mother? Give him a lash – he couldn’t do this. Did he hate all women? Actually, more primitive interpretation of his soul I cannot even imagine. Did he blame them? He felt sorry. Why? Being only a little child he had seen how someone was dying. During several days he was watching how his mother was dying. And it doesn’t matter for what reason – because of some illness “super sainted” by whole mankind, or simply because of drug addiction. He didn’t hate his mother, he didn’t hate women. He didn’t punish a woman. He couldn’t understand death, because he was watching it during several days. During several days he was watching how death and pain – made only a body of his mother. He couldn’t understand that weakness, and how female body could be so feeble. Maybe he didn’t want see anymore a feeble female body. So, he was looking for control. Because he was too smart to create some fetishes, or use a wrong measure. But for a little child (for a little boy) who has seen death – it is so hard to find any rules or measure of life. One could judge him. But, judgement – is easier than try to understand – isn’t it?
And about women – he actually knew more than some ordinary men of this century. He could give her the opportunity “to explore her sensuality and her limits safely”. He took care about she should “eat regularly to maintain her health and well-being”. He didn’t dream about some non-existing categories of the mythical “full family”, so he didn’t press her to become a mother of his children. And – he has even defined the “safe words”. Like “yellow” which was used when “the submissive is close to her limit”, and – “red” meant “the dominant’s action will cease completely and immediately”. But the ordinary men – do they give their women such a right to have these “safe words”? Are these so primitive men able to understand what a limit of female body is? Are they able to stop? So, if he was a “sadist”, if he was considered like totally “sick” – he was able to respect a woman and her needs, and her – limits. Maybe, after his mother death he became something – as a fictional egoist? He seemed to be an egoist for himself, but instead of this he was able to sacrifice himself. So, he was a perfect utopia. Because, in real life such egoists don’t exist. Because this means you lie – to yourself, or to someone else.
Female nature in design
But even in Mr. Grey’s apartment there was something so delicate and passionate at the same time. There was something playful marked with a female essence. Feminity can be associated with a cabaret act, with burlesque – when a woman understands herself enough well to be able to use this. Look at Burlesque console by Koket. The design of this object is based on the dazzling world of French cabaret. So, we can see the acrobatic loops and spins of the base, and from the other side – so seductive black exotic skins and black crystals. Female means an excellent puzzle trained by mysteries and dangerous bends, for which she has an individual measure of safety. In fact, she – can risk – by tempting. So, burlesque means a unique female nature, it means a special beauty – and not everyone is able to feel her beauty.
The bedroom of solitude – was the first place in his apartment which she had the right. This was a very special place – it was silent and comfortable, and there were no his touches. But even it that room we can see Desire armchair and little sofa by Koket. It is about so delicate oxymoron – to desire someone forbidden. Someone – you’ve couldn’t feel anymore because of a respect to yourself. But, what is respect? It is about so slightly visible border – between the respect and neglect to yourself – this was so special paradigm of Christian Grey’s existence. One could accept that or just negate. It is about some contrast leitmotif of denial and return. It is about so symbolic question – is anyone able to control his desires?
Playful. A female nature is always playful. So, we can see so playful sparks of Chloe sconces by Koket. It is about “magically evocative ribbons” which charm us at first sight wit the light. It is about so special “impression of being wrapped in the impulsive charm of a little girl” – which is virgin and so shining – because she was not wounded by his gray touches. It is about so exquisite image of light which makes so seductive those silent corridors of his gray soul. And there also was a mirror in that corridor. It is about Giult mirror by Koket. So elegant mirror with sharp rays. It was so similar to the sunbeams which could burn eyes –and it was possible to go blind. Perfectly cut convex mirror with sculptured gold tones of hammered and textured metal with a hint of hard edge. This mirror was placed in the corridor to one red room. So, was really that sunny mirror with the sharp rays somewhere in his soul – the inner side of a weird place of desires and fears?
And, what about the bathroom? So quiet place – where there was only the water and warmth. What was in that bathroom – in addition to so beautiful and mute marble patterns? Maybe – a timeless silence. Maybe – something very subtle. For example – there was a female body. Or a delicate silhouette of Plaza center table by Boca Do Lobo. It is about a gentle handcrafted object made of steel. It is about the steel which could be turned into something so beautiful – by man’s hands only. So fragile silhouette, a very special shape of sensuality revealed in steel lines. So, is steel line really could be identical to a female sensual nature? Sometimes – steel is enough to create a slightly visible – so intimate – movement of female body. Sometimes – steel – is enough – to express a female beauty and herinner fullness – even in figurative meaning. Sometimes, steel – is enough to reveal a female soul which has been undressed by his hands. So, maybe Mrs. Steele – was so exquisite metaphor of his gray soul?
Male elegance in design
But his soul was not as others. Maybe he had so many shades of himself – but the interior of his apartment was not so gray. His apartment was an elegant and unique – like his inner nature was. His soul was so similar to a large diamond. Maybe it seemed to be grayish. But in reality – that diamond has not ever been described or discovered. So, in his library we can see Quartz Pendant Light (design by Carlo Zerbaro and Alessandro Trentin, 2009). So delicate male character was revealed in a special geometric shape. Like an oversized gem, a few brutal, very bold and full of surprises – is it about his character, marked with a unique geometry. It is about geometry of fifty shades – fifty-angles diamond – which was oversized for this world. For such a fictional world kept away from its own fears, desires and purity. Memories. So hypnotic geometry of these Quartz Pendant Light – reveal all angles of his memories which were a few brutal, a few painful – like his past was.
His soul could exist only beyond the past, and beyond any “now”. Christian could not be defined using of some statical categories. Look at his table. It is about Nasdaq table by Cattelan Italia (design – Paolo Cattelan). It is an asymmetrical, pointed but exiting at all. Unique Canaletto wooden texture is marked with so ancient stories, and leg in graphite embossed lacquered steel emphasizes some hard character. It is about so rare male nature hidden behind an asymmetry character. But was everyone able to understand him? We can see Theo armchairs by B&B Italia (design by Vincent Van Duysen, 2012) around that table. They have so “atypical” form which “seems to mark the start of a new creative season for Vincent Van Duysen – the Belgian designer who displays greater freedom and imagination while never betraying his unmistakable mastery of details”. The design of these armchairs is marked with a unique synthesis of an architectural vision and constructivist references. It is about a completely individuality – of his minds; and it is about a unique inner freedom revealed in a comfortable and uncompromising vision of this world – in a context of yourself only.
We can see also Derby lounge chair by Zanotta (Noé Duchaufour Lawrance – 2009-2010) in his office. It is about stylized bergère armchair (and pouf) marked with quite fluent shapes. Its curved lines symbolize some meditative harmony, a special touch of the past and a unique feeling of modernity. I think the world of design would be impossible without Zanotta. It is about a very special language of design marked with an unexpected contemporary spirit which becomes a part of the design nowadays world – immediately. Derby armchair differs by steel base and swivel or fixed feet, and it is covered with cowhide. Minimalistic pouf becomes a perfect complement – to create an individual place for relax and silent minds.
We can see one more unique object in Christian’s bedroom. It is about the elegant lounge chair La Chaise. As it is known, for the first time this armchair was designed by Charles & Ray Eames in 1948 for the competition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was inspired by the “Floating Figure” sculpture by Gaston Lachaise. For a long time this armchair was not manufacturing because of it was too costly to produce. But in 1996 Vitra became exclusive manufacturer of this object. La Chaise lounge chair differs by a unique design and it could be defined as “an icon of organic design”. We can see amazingly fluent shapes, natural asymmetry and an elegant industrial charm. Its base has a quite intricate composition, including natural oak feet and chromed elements.
Christian was no like others. He had a unique soul revealed in his unique world. I don’t know how one can analyze or explain his soul. How one can create some labels for this soul and such a complicated character. I can even imagine this. One person has created him. So, he was described – he was felt – in words. Some other people – have tried to show him. Through the actor’s play, through the characters. So, he was like re-invented, like – created again, one more. He became more complicated, but he didn’t become a semi-soul. He has obtained more “clear” appearance. And some locations have been created. And, you know – those locations were so perfect. Even if it is the apartment of someone’s fictional soul – he had a very complicated inner drama. And his soul had a lot of shades. He wasn’t statical, he had memories and measures. He had so deep pain, and his fear was so real. Actually, fear – is so hard to be simulated or “played”. And his soul was able to feel. He could feel the inner nature of luxury and someone else soul. He was not some “figure” or “character” for me. He even was not pathology. Because he had even fifty shades of himself.
So, I could only enjoy such elegant world of his soul. It is so rare phenomenon – to see a well-measured inner world of someone. I think, Christian Grey’s apartment – is a unique design concept of nowadays. It is about a perfect taste, total individuality and a special nature of luxury. And for me his apartment was no as gray as his soul was.
Especially thanks: Boca Do Lobo, Zanotta, Brabbu and Universal Pictures for a unique opportunity to explore Christian Grey’s lavish penthouse and to enjoy his exclusive world.
All images from the virtual tour of Christian Grey’s Apartment were used with the permission of NBCUniversal.
- the first photo – Christian Grey // Official Fifty Shades, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
- Vellum Wall Lamp by Brabbu // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Sequoia tree-shaped center table by Brabbu // Brabbu
- Elliott coffe table by Minotti, Lounge Seymour by Minotti and Leslie armchairs by Minotti. – renewed Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual tour by Universal Pictures. Great Room // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Catlin coffe table by Minotti (design – Rodolfo Dordoni). Sahara Noir marble top // Minotti
- IKE floor lamp by Delightfull // Delightfull
- Avenue folding screen by Boca Do Lobo // Avenue Collection by Boca Do Lobo
- Symphony Sideboard by Boca Do Lobo // Symphony Collection by Boca Do Lobo
- G Sofa by Limitless // Sofa -“G” Limitless
- Lounge Seymour and Leslie armchairs by Minotti (design Rodolfo Dordoni) // Minotti
- Aston armchairs by Minotti (design – Rodolfo Dordoni) – renewed Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual tour by Universal Pictures. Great Room (dining area) // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Crown Major pendant chandelier by NEMO (deign by JEHS + LAUB). – renewed Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual tour by Universal Pictures. Great Room (dining area) // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Burlesque console by Koket // Koket
- Chloe Sconce by Koket // Koket
- Plaza center table by Boca Do Lobo // Boca Do Lobo
- Quartz Pendant Light (design by Carlo Zerbaro and Alessandro Trentin, 2009). – renewed Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual tour by Universal Pictures. Library // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Nasdaq table by Cattelan Italia (design – Paolo Cattelan), and Theo armchairs by B&B Italia (design by Vincent Van Duysen, 2012). – Renewed Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual tour by Universal Pictures. Office // Christian Grey’s Apartment – virtual reproduction by Universal Pictures
- Derby lounge chair by Zanotta (design Noé Duchaufour Lawrance – 2009-2010) // Zanotta
- La Chaise by Charles & Ray Eames (now prodused by Vitra exclusively) // Vitra
- “Because it’s the way I am! Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up” (Christian Grey) – Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) // quotes at IMDb
- “I’m a sadist, Ana” // E.L. James. Fifty Shades Darker.– Published by Cornerstone. – London, United Kingdom (2014). – Chapter Fourteen.
- Christian Grey: [narration] The fundamental purpose of this contract is to allow the submissive to explore her sensuality and her limits safely. [… ] The submissive will eat regularly to maintain her health and well-being from a prescribed list of foods. [ …] The safe word “yellow” will be used to bring to the attention of the dominant that the submissive is close to her limit. When the safe word “red” is spoken, the dominant’s action will cease completely and immediately.– Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) // quotes at IMDb