According to the best estimates out there, building your own Star Wars Death Star would cost you the equivalent of 850 quadrillion dollars. That’s enough to break your second mortgage. If you just want the aesthetics of a Death Star without its planet-obliterating abilities, though, Thomas Silva designs have you covered. They’ll sell you tiles to turn any surface into an X-Wing trench run.
First, some background. When special effects house Industrial Light And Magic built the Death Star for the original Star Wars movie back in 1976, they designed it with a few considerations in mind. A lunar-sized war machine, the Death Star’s surface needed to seem both vast and desolate, like a manmade moon of death, mass-produced by an evil empire that reflected its disdain for life right down to its bleached, bulbous skin. But at the same time, ILM needed whatever design they came up with to be practical, something they could build quickly and film from many different angles without obviously betraying that the so-called Death Star was just a model built on a warehouse floor.
ILM’s solution was genius: they made a series of interchangeable tiles that they could layer as needed for Death Star close-ups. Each of these tiles looked soullessly imperial and vaguely biomechanical, but they could be mixed up as needed to emulate a much larger surface. Superimpose a bunch of swooping X-Wings and voila! You’ve got the Death Star run. As long as you have a flat surface and the right tiles, you can transform it into a destroyer of worlds.
That’s why we’re so delighted that someone has finally reproduced those tiles. Asked by a client to create a home theater evocative of being inside a starship, the guys at Tom Spina Designs created a series of 14 “master tiles” that could be tiled on the walls to recreate the feeling of the Star Wars trench run, as seen from the inside.
“We suggested themed three dimensional tiles inspired by the Star Wars Death Star trench and surfaces as a wainscot of sorts, running under the screen and along the lower walls and steps,” explains Tom Spina Designs on the company’s website. “These would give a sense of “tech” to the decor and, while recognizable to the avid fan, they would not be an over the top, obvious themed element. The end result blends wonderfully, with our pieces being a subtle accent, just one part of a large and awe-inspiring themed home theater.”
The brilliance of ILM’s approach was that it reduces the Death Star down to linoleum. Now you can buy that linoleum, albeit at a bespoke price. As of writing, Tom Spina Designs hasn’t clarified to Co.Design how much that would cost, but it’s got to beat 850 quadrillion dollars, right? May the adhesive force be with you, always.