The inspiration behind the sets and decoration of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’


I randomly came across these photos of the creation of The Grand Budapest Hotel sets, the model and the actual sets in which the movie was filmed. Wes Anderson‘s latest movies has probably one of the most refined designs of his, with lots of references and exquisite details, from the Mendl’s boxes to the lobby boy uniforms designed by Milena Canonero. Even though the movie was released a few months ago, I wanted to share with you the inspiration behind this film’s great visual conception.

Adam Stockhausen was the production designer of the movie, with the help of Anna Pinnock as set decorator. Graphic designer Annie Atkins created the boxes, the maps, the newspapers and other props. Stockhausen also worked in Moonrise Kingdom and the Darjeeling Limited, both by Anderson too. For The Grand Budapest Hotel he researched the Library of Congress’s Photochrom postcard collection for images from the 20′s and 30′s, which provided him with many visuals for hotels in mountaintops, funiculars, trains, exotic corners of Europe… Stockhausen checked real spas and hotels in Germany and the Czech Republic—including the the Hotel Adlon in Berlin and the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary—as well as London’s Savoy Hotel, for ideas, as Architectural Digest explained.

After months of searching, the perfect location for the insides of the hotel appeared: the former Görlitzer Warenhaus department store from 1913, which served as the location for the primary sets and production offices. “The magnificent stained glass dome and chandeliers were still intact and can be seen in the film”, notes National Post. The rest was redecorated based on the German artistic style known as Jugendstil. Two phases can be discerned in Jugendstil: an early one, before 1900, that is mainly floral in character, rooted in English Art Nouveau and Japanese applied arts and prints; and a later, more abstract phase, growing out of the Viennese work of the Belgian-born architect and designer Henry van de Velde (via). Archways, mezzanines and galleried arcades are the recurrent architectural motifs in the film. For the elevator design the inspiration was the one in Los Angeles’ Bradbury Building (which appears in Blade Runner). An early-1900s arch-laden bathhouse discovered in Görlitz during production doubled as the hotel’s pool and spa.

No real hotel could fulfill Wes Anderson’s imagination needs, so a miniature model was constructed at Studio Babelsberg, near Berlin. One of Anderson’s signatures is that he uses miniature models that the audience will recognize as fake (but awesome) sets, giving his films an unique feel. This is known as Wes Anderson’s dollhouse style.



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Images: Fox Searchlight Pictures
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Change your perception – The Overview Effect

Bourtange, Vlagtwedde, Netherlands

Daily Overview features a satellite photo everyday that shows us a view of our planet that we can’t appreciate from our perspective. The project is inspired by The Overview Effect, which they nicely explain: “This term refers to the sensation astronauts have when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole. They have the chance to appreciate our home in its entirety, to reflect on its beauty and its fragility all at once. That’s the cognitive shift that we hope to inspire (…) Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment”.

The beauty of the images is overwhelming. They look surreal and spectacular at the same time. From the green fields to the urbanized spaces and the top of the buildings, including the intricate highways. A really inspiring project.

PD: Don’t you think they could make great fabric patterns?

Agricultural Development, Loxahatchee, Florida, USA

daily-overview18Aluminum plant in Darrow, Louisiana

Border of São Domingos and São Desidério, Brazil

Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany

Atlanta, USA

Tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands

Palmanova, Italy

Bronby Garden City, Copenhagen, Denmark

Almeria, Spain

Huelva, Spain

Agricultural development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Residential development, Killeen, Texas, USA

Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Amundsen Sea, Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica

Venice, Italy

Froster Soak City, Toronto, Canada

Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery, Madrid, Spain

Challenge, CA  95925 United States
New Bullards Bar Reservoir, Yuba County, California
Brock Reservoir, Gordons Well, California, USA

Green Valley Pecan Company, Sahuarita, Arizona, USA

Calle de la Reina de África 20 28018 Madrid
Puente de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain

Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA

Lebrija 1 Solar Power Plant, Lebrija, Sevilla, Spain

Residential development, Naples, Florida, USA

Hutt Lagoon, Western Australia, Australia

Images from Daily Overview

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