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How To Avoid The Feeling Of Containment Given By This Design Detail Used In Netlfix’s Beef

Architect Norvim Cano Mallari tells Metro.Style readers how to use wooden slats in a flattering way


Netflix’s Beef is hailed by many as one of the best shows that graced streaming this year.  The story takes off from a pretty major case of road rage which sets the stage for the show’s deep dive into each character’s flawed personalities, complicated ways of dealing with life and their hard-won triumphs, accompanied by tunes which anyone who was in high school or college in the '90's would consider "classics."





Central to the story’s unfolding is Amy Lau (Ali Wong) and George (Joseph Lee)’s home whose exterior was shot in a California’s West Valley.  The interiors were all crafted by production designer, Grace Yun, in sound stages. 


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Still from Beef by Netflix | Netflix Tudum
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Reflecting the Amy’s success, ambitious drive, and tormented mental state.  What seems to read as finely curated taste, cloaked in Japandi finishes, and accessorized in cozy, modern furniture was actually meant by the show’s production designers to feel like a constricted space, a "prison," if you will, of Amy’s own making.  

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Still from Beef by Netflix | Netflix


Employing rigid, straight lines, perpendicular angles, an open plan, a patio that leads into the interiors (making it feel like there’s no escape), the home reads as a beautiful, if not restricting, environment. 


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Still from Beef by Netflix | Netflix Tudum


Here, the cinematography frames site lines lead from one room into another, contributing to the viewers’ trapped feeling, and alluding to the show’s feeling of hopelessness, brought about by the characters’ cycle of repetitious bad behavior.


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Still from Beef by Netflix | Netflix Tudum
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It’s worth noting, too, that there’s one design element present in the home that largely contributes to its prison-like feeling: the floor-to-ceiling wooden slats that enclose the staircase.  On the wider side, these vertical timber members continue to enclose the hallway above leading up to the bedrooms.  While their honey-colored finishing that shows off the wood’s natural grain give warmth to the space, their scale and proportion to the double height space where they occur, is overwhelming.


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Still from Beef by Netflix | Netflix Tudum


Use Wooden Slats In A Flattering Way


This often-seen design detail is almost ubiquitous in modern or Asian-themed interiors nowadays.  How should you employ vertical wooden slats in a flattering way?  Architect Norvim Cano Mallari, founder of Model Space Locale and chapter leader of BNI Zeal, Damsariñas, gives these tips:


1) In a series of vertical wood slats, you can give character by adding a tilted piece in a row. This will give a feeling of interest and dynamism.


2) Go for different thicknesses of wood slats. Use a maximum of 3 sizes, and arrange them in a 60, 30, 10 ratio. 10 being the thickest profile, 60 being the standard profile and 30 being the thinnest.


3) Always design a good termination for each end of the slats, this makes the design professionally thought of.


4) Add accent lighting, either up lights, back lights, or individual lights in between slats.


5) Activate your design detail.  Wooden slats can be used as the supports for horizontal ledges,  akin to short shelves where you can place a thin vase or a pot of plants.


In the gallery below, see some of the successful ways Architect Norvim and his team used the wooden slat design detail: