In the past, a large foreground object usually meant it was the focus of the scene.
Furie and Heller made every foreground object a ‘framing device’ that actively composed the shot. This technique was used to both reveal specific story elements on screen and also to visually express the claustrophobic and unsettling tone of the film. What could have been a gimmick (if used once or twice) instead became a creative cinematic tool that was used 100 times during the film.
Vashi Nedomansky has a great post on how the style of the Ipcress File has changed the way we compose shots. I wasn’t even aware of it having a particular beginning until now because it has been so adopted into the visual language of film.
Check it out over on http://vashivisuals.com/cinematography-ipcress-file/