Netflix hit season one, the period series bridgerton premieres its second part full of colorful and exuberant scenes. In an exclusive interview with House and gardenthe art director Will Hughes-Jones says that the challenges for the new season were even greater. “Success created a situation, especially for me and my team, of what I consider a ‘second album syndrome’: when you’ve done your best work and you have to do better than the best”, he jokes.
For a series set in Regency-era England, around the 19th century, overcoming these challenges proved even greater. The art direction followed the middle path, respecting some historical references, but, at the same time, adding details that made it unique – something similar to what was done in the feature. Marie Antoinetteby Sofia Coppola, released in 2007.
“We are not historically accurate, we do an imitation of the period with some liberties. It’s a feast for the eyes when we’re designing the sets, because we look at what we would normally do and then add three more layers,” explains Hughes-Jones.
The result of this mixture of new ideas with the reality of the time yielded a “magical world”, which jumps out at the viewer’s eyes. He came even more striking and colorful in this second season. “The color palettes in this series are very vibrant, colorful and rich in detail. It’s every designer’s dream, we’re looking like children in a candy store”, rejoices the art director.
The colors in each space play a very important role in bridgerton. As the details are very similar in all the houses, the different shades were the way the direction found to separate the spaces of each family from the plot and also from the royal residence.
“We made this decision early in the first season, and with that, we created color palettes for the Bridgertons, the Featheringtons and Queen Charlotte. This season, we’ve expanded Lady Danbury’s house. She has a lot more floral and bird patterns,” she says.
Demarcating the territory of the Indian sisters Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), who arrive in the series in this second part and will dispute the heart of Viscount Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Beiley), was a challenge for the art team, since the characters have no home of their own.
“They are living in Lady Danbury’s house. So we created a complementary space for the sisters. Lady Danbury, being such a strong character, allowed us to make her house very quirky, but the color palette there was carefully chosen to complement the Sharma’s as well,” says Hugh-Jones.
The scenography also wanted to reinforce the parties and meetings of the characters in this second part of the series, privileging the outdoor scenes. These events became key plot elements. “There was always a lot of talk about how to make a big gathering of people, but not a dance. That was the most fun element of this season for me and my team: putting together big events, like a day at the Royal Races.”
Despite this, dances remain a high point in Bridgerton, where major events in history take place – it was at one of these parties that Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) met Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page) in season one. “We are always trying to outdo ourselves. We created some absolutely magical spaces for the prom scenes this season,” reveals Hughes-Jones.
Together with choreographer Jack Murphy, the art director imagined and created wider spaces, in which the characters could move more fluidly. “We had circle balls, balls where the musicians were sitting in the middle of the hall and regular balls,” he says. All of them are uniquely assembled, with decorators, florists and accessory makers coming together to create the elements needed to make it special.
Another novelty this season in the scenography part was the inclusion of Aubrey Hall, ancestral home of the Bridgerton family, in the plot. As the property is in a rural area in the series, the art team chose to shoot these scenes on location rather than in the studio, given the complexity of details and the amount of scenes with indoor-outdoor transitions.
The field sets were shot in Wrotham Park, which is on the outskirts of London. For the place, Hugh-Jones created a more homely and country atmosphere, with lots of tapestry and wildflowers in place of the roses used in the town house. “For the scene of pall evil [jogo ao ar livre com tacos e bolas], one of our team went to the Museum of London to research the game, and the rules are pretty vague. So we decided that the Bridgertons would play their own version,” he reveals. Like everything else in the series, which creates its own romantic and innovative world with a what Of history.
The second part of Bridgerton premiered on March 25 on Netflix and features eight 1-hour episodes. From producer Shondaland and screenwriter Chris Van Dunsen, the Emmy-nominated series is based on best sellers by American writer Julia Quinn.
The second part follows Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s search for the ideal wife, as Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) continues to reveal the characters’ secrets in anonymous serials, causing an uproar in the plot.