Ken Adam, a production designer whose work on dozens of famous films included the fantasy sets that established the look of the James Bond series, the car in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and, for Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” the sinister war room beneath the Pentagon, died on Thursday at his home in London. He was 95.
Mr. Adam was hired by the producer Albert Broccoli, known as Cubby, to design the sets for the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” released in 1962. (The two had worked together on the 1960 film “The Trials of Oscar Wilde,” with Peter Finch and James Mason.) With a budget equivalent to about $300,000 today, Mr. Adam delivered the title character’s sleek, futuristic headquarters, his extravagant living room with wall-size aquarium and his creepy, grottolike laboratory.
The combination of futurism and fantasy became a trademark of the Bond franchise. “‘Dr. No’ started a new approach,” Mr. Adam told The Guardian in 2002. “I think they realized that design, exotic locations, plus a tongue-in-cheek element were really successful, and so it became more and more that way.”
In “Goldfinger,” the third movie in the series, Mr. Adam put Bond, played by Sean Connery, into an Aston Martin equipped with an ejector seat. He envisioned Fort Knox as a cathedral of gold.
With “You Only Live Twice,” the fifth Bond film, Mr. Adam had more than half the total budget at his disposal. He spent $1 million of it building a volcano that contained a secret military base operated by the international terrorist organization Spectre.
“He was a brilliant visualizer of worlds we will never be able to visit ourselves,” Christopher Frayling, the author of two books on Mr. Adam, told the BBC in an article posted on Friday . “The war room under the Pentagon in ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ the interior of Fort Knox in ‘Goldfinger’ — all sorts of interiors which, as members of the public, we are never going to get to see, but he created an image of them that was more real than real itself.”
Mr. Adam, who was also the production designer for “The Ipcress File,” “Funeral in Berlin,” “Sleuth,” “The Seven Percent Solution,” “Agnes of God” and many other films, won an Oscar in 1976 for his work on “Barry Lyndon,” his second collaboration with Mr. Kubrick. He shared the award with Vernon Dixon and Roy Walker. He won his second Oscar, with Carolyn Scott, in 1995 for “The Madness of King George.”
Klaus Hugo Adam was born on Feb. 5, 1921, in Berlin, where his father, Fritz, a former Prussian cavalry officer, helped run S. Adam, a famous sporting-goods store. Klaus attended the prestigious French Gymnasium before the family, which was Jewish, emigrated to London in 1934.
In London he attended St. Paul’s School and became entranced by German Expressionist films, which he had not seen in Berlin. “They were so theatrical, these artists who dreamt up these fantastic dreamlike environments, and it struck a note with me,” he told The Sunday Telegraph in 2008.
He studied at University College, London, to pursue architecture as a way of breaking into production design, heeding the advice of Vincent Korda, a brother of the film producer Alexander Korda and a resident of the Hampstead boardinghouse run by Mr. Adam’s mother, the former Lilli Saalfeld. He enrolled in the Bartlett School of Architecture.
Shortly after the start of World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. In 1943 he took his place as a pilot flying long-range bombing missions over Europe. After the D-Day invasion, his squadron flew support missions for troops on the ground.
He was hired as a draftsman on his first film, “This Was a Woman,” in 1948, and for the next several years worked on numerous films as an assistant art director. His work on “Around the World in 80 Days,” a 1956 film that won an Oscar for best picture, gave him cachet in the industry and elevated him to production designer for “Curse of the Demon,” a 1957 film directed by Jacques Tourneur, and “The Angry Hills,” a 1959 war drama starring Robert Mitchum and directed by Robert Aldrich.
The Bond films — he worked on seven of them, the last of which was “Moonraker,” with Roger Moore as the superspy, in 1979 — put him in the front ranks of production designers.
“To me, designing the villains’ bases was a combination of tongue-in-cheek and showing the power of these megalomaniacs,” he told The Guardian. “I think in the last Bond film I saw — although they’re brilliantly made action pictures, one chase after another — they lost the importance of the villain. I think the villain is just as important as Bond. But someone who simply wants to destroy an oil pipeline to me is just not sufficiently important as a villain.”
His Bond portfolio, along with his work on “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” and two spy thrillers with Michael Caine based on books by Len Deighton, “Funeral in Berlin” and “The Ipcress File,” qualified him as one of the great Cold War image-makers. The Victoria and Albert Museum honored that achievement in 1999 with the exhibition “Ken Adam: Designing the Cold War.”
He described his relationship with the notoriously finicky and controlling Mr. Kubrick as creatively stimulating but dangerous to his mental health. “I was incredibly close with him,” Mr. Adam told BBC Radio’s World Service in 2013. “It was almost like an unhealthy love affair between us. And I had a breakdown eventually.”
The collaboration produced some of his most memorable work, most notably the war room in “Dr. Strangelove,” which he conceived as a vast bomb shelter with an illuminated table in the center, suggestive of a nefarious game of poker in progress.
The set inspired an accolade he treasured. “I was in the States giving a lecture to the Directors Guild when Steven Spielberg came up to me,” Mr. Adam told the BBC. “He said, ‘Ken, that war room set for “Strangelove” is the best set you ever designed.’ Five minutes later he came back and said, ‘No, it’s the best set that’s ever been designed.’ ”
Mr. Adam, who was awarded a knighthood in 2003, is survived by his wife, the former Maria Letizia.
An earlier version of this obituary misstated the surname of one of the people with whom Mr. Adam shared an Academy Award for his work on “Barry Lyndon.” He was Roy Walker, not Roy Scott. The earlier version also referred incorrectly to Mr. Adam’s work as an assistant art director on “Around the World in 80 Days.” It was not uncredited. And it referred incorrectly to the 1959 film “The Angry Hills,” on which he was production designer. It is a World War II drama, not a western.