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Jon Sorensen remembered that they were directed by Ridley Scott to make the actual final refinery look "Victorian Gothic" although this didn't seem to be something that Dennis Lowe would recall later.
In hindsight, Jon thought that it may have come as information through Brian Johnson.
He remembered thinking back then in response, "That's a clue!" and then he with another other person applied a lot of girders and latticework reminiscent of Isembard Kingdom Brunel and such,
Even when the brief would change later, a lot of that "Victorian Gothic" detail remained on the base sections around the towers even after Ridley changed the direction that the model would go and it would feature in the movie.
The miniature would finally be about fourteen feet square with the four towers taken from Ridley's sketch, standing around five feet tall, while the supposed length of this refinery was one and a half miles .
The members of the team all took responsibility for the various sections, each micro-managing their own section suggesting a balance and precision to the design.
Simon Deering started covering his tower in red oxide part constructed girders.
- Jon Sorensen: It must have come from Ridley through Brian Johnson, Dennis. For I remember thinking, "That's a clue!" and I and others applied a lot of girgers and lattice and details reminscient of Brunel and such. Even when the brief changed, a lot of that "Victorian" detail remained on the base sections around the towers and feature in the movie.It must have come from Ridley through Brian Johnson, Dennis.For I remember thinking, "That's a clue!" and I and others applied a lot of girders and lattice and details reminscient of Brunel and such. Even when the brief changed, a lot of that "Victorian" detail remained on the base sections around the towers and feature in the movie. (Re: ALIEN Makers Documentary, June 26, 2009)
- jon Sorensen: Yes, between the biomechanical and the classic refinery look we see on refineries even today. Pipes and tanks. And I loved the "Victorian" phase because it suggested Gothic. Exactly right for a horror movie. And we were at Bray, where Hammer had made THEIR Gothics...Draculas and Frankensteins and so on. It felt all of a piece to me personally. I loved the notion that we were somehow carrying that heritage. You know, I think Brian (Johnson) actually did some "Hammer Horrors" with Les Bowie in his early career? (Re: ALIEN Makers Documentary, June 26, 2009)
- Jon Sorensen: The actual refinery we were directed to make look “Victorian Gothic” by Ridley Scott. The miniature was around 14 feet square with the four towers, taken from a Ridley sketch, standing around 5 feet tall. The supposed length of this refinery was one and a half miles. Again we took responsibility for sections. Using a natural sense of design we were supposedly hired for, each of these sections was micro-managed by the person doing it to suggest a balance and precision almost in a real graphic sense. Point and counterpoint and balanced “visual weight”. Again it grew organically amongst the many hands, using plexiglass scored to suggest detail and sections, EMA tubing for running pipes, storage tanks, some hobby kits for fine detail. There was a lot of detail on that miniature. We spent about three months doing the bulk of it and it looked stunning, otherworldly, “retrospective futuristic” and entirely credible. It had to definitely suggest an Earth origin so as to underpin the surprise when the audience saw the “alien derelict” and space jockey later in the film’s visuals and story.(source: alienseries.wordpress.com)
- Ron Cobb: We wanted to evoke, erm, a very very scary place, almost like a gothic castle, or, or erm, or a sunken submarine or all those things had to be, had to be there as subnotes.(Alien Legacy)
- Simon Deering: I was immediately put into one workshop with er, it's very hazy actually the beginning of that, who I was with, there was about three us and it was quite early pre-production and we went into, one of the ones, the studio workshop where we were building the refinery and there was I think, three or four of us and we took a tower each and I remember my tower, was covering it with red oxide part constructed girders, yeah, but the studio itself was a wonderful place to work in, never forget it, yeah.(Alien Makers I)
- Nick Allder: We did some test shootings and they looked pretty good, and then we'd shoot a tower from a certain angle and it would start looking like a Disneyland castle. So we'd tear all the detail pieces off and start over and keep doing it until we had it right. Finally we had the towers sort of chunkied out, so they'd have this enormous heavy feeling. (Book of Alien, Scanlon& Gross)