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Colorado 1980

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by the editorial staff

For the first time, this column deals with an ornamental motif existing not in real world but in fiction, film fiction to be precise. It is the wall-to-wall carpeting with interlocked hexagons in the hallways of the Overlook Hotel, the fictional hotel located in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado, in which Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining (1980) is set. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name (1977) by Stephen King. There is no descriptive element in the book that would resemble the aforementioned carpet, which is therefore to be considered, due to its role in the collective imagination, a cinematic invention. In fact, the hexagon pattern in The Shining already existed and was known as “Hicks’ Hexagon,” named after British designer David Hicks (1929-1998), who came up with it in 1960. The popularity of “Hicks’ Hexagon” affected not only carpets but also wallpapers and textiles, taking on a variety of color ranges. But the version featured in the taut, claustrophobic sequences of The Shining has given it incomparable popularity. It is a variation on the classic honeycomb theme, restructured to connect each individual cell to those placed on the same row and on a parallel row. The result is a series of geometric correspondences articulated on three levels: 1) the small red hexagons placed at regular distances; 2) the dark brown paths that bring them together in alternating double rows; 3) the orange paths that bring them together in contiguous double rows. The neurotic overexcitement of the graphic texture is exacerbated by the range of bright, suffocating colors.

Homepage; Hicks' Hexagon, the Overlook Hotel carpet in "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick (Wikimedia).
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