Lizzie Oxby's animated film for National Trust celebrates house's delicate woodwork

Short film animates the fretwork of the National Trust's newly opened house in London.

575 Wandsworth Road (above) is a 30-second short film by Lizzie Oxby for the National Trust. The house of the film's title is a notable piece of interior design, recently renovated and reopened by the National Trust as it's one of the most extraordinary ornate fretworked interiors in Britain.

The film is inspired by former owner of the house Khadambi Asalanches’s love of dance, pattern formations and the evolution of the house itself.

Lizzie Oxby wrote the following piece about the making of the film.

575 Wandsworth Road

When I first visited the house it was extraordinary to see the hand-crafted, pine fretwork covering the entire home. It was a complete surprise having entered through an unassuming London street. It had a world of its own. I was fascinated to hear how the fretwork had begun its life. So I began designing the film to reflect how the interior evolved. It had started as a small project to cover up a damp patch and had grown to become a labour of love for its former owner, Khadambi Asalanche, covering the entire house.

The house was in such a fragile state, nothing could be moved, so I photographed it in sections; the plaster, the floor, the woodwork and a small section of the damp patch which still existed in the basement.

There were also many details in the fretwork which referenced Swan Lake, one of Asalanche’s favourite ballets. I also had a shared interest in it having studied classical dance for a number of years. So I began storyboarding and choreographing the film tightly to the lively tone of the music. Beginning with the fretwork evolving from drips in ceiling and spreading to form the hallway, leading to the front door.

I then created the intricate fretwork using vector files, designing them in Illustrator and animating them in After Effects. Once completed, I passed it over to John Taylor, an After Effects artist who collaborated closely on the project in helping develop the technique and the look. He used the vectors as mattes for the photographic textures I’d shot back at the house. I’d also filmed details of real tree branches moving in the wind from my studio window, and John projected these onto the walls in the film.

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