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.