The Architecture of Class: Ha-jun Lee Designs Parasite
“Parasite” Concept Design © Neon Parasite is for sure one of the most refreshing, interesting and exciting films of the year. Awarded with the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Bong Joon Ho’s newest film tells us a story about an intense clash of classes. In it, the Kims, who live in …
Parasite is for sure one of the most refreshing, interesting and exciting films of the year. Awarded with the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Bong Joon Ho’s newest film tells us a story about an intense clash of classes. In it, the Kims, who live in a slum based semi-basement apartment in South Korea, find a way into the Park’s mansion and lifestyle, which creates a funny eerie series of interactions that take us through a cinematic rollercoaster.
Parasite is all about contrasts, and the production design followed this central idea. The sets created for it have received international praise as the most spectacular sets in recent cinema. The Park’s house, a magnificent piece of modern architecture, was designed and built from scratch by Ha-jun Lee, production designer. He create this fascinating place where 60% of the movie takes place, in order to create a wonderful, versatile piece of set that could tell the story of the different parasite that inhabit the manor. The place is filled with beautiful natural light and beautiful views of the main garden.
In contrast to the Park’s house, Ha-jun created the Kim’s semi-basement and the slums around it. Less light, less living space and less privacy, are more common in poorest households and that’s what the Kim’s apartment resembles.
The two of the places work as characters and symbols for the story. The contrast between light and space portrays the contrast between the two families and the two classes. The production design at Parasite is an amazing example of set design that works for the technical needs but also works beautifully in service of the story and its message. I hope Ha-jun and his team get the recognition they deserve for their work in Parasite.
Watch the trailer for Parasite below