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Adam Stockhausen’s brilliant Production Design for Wes Anderson’s film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel comes wrapped like a Fabergé egg inside a jewelry box inside a puzzle box inside an elaborate gift box. Wes Anderson folds the widescreen format down to a symmetrical pocket square, keeping the flashbacks neatly packed in classic Academy ratio.

To complete the effect, Production Designer Adam Stockhausen remodeled an abandoned German department store, transforming the store’s 4-floor atrium into the lobby of the Grand Budapest Hotel — redecorating the space with at least 3 different makeovers to reflect the various eras of the hotel’s changing fortunes across 7 decades. Adam Stockhausen is a versatile as the hotel itself, receiving an Oscar nomination last year for his work on 12 Years a Slave. (4-time Oscar winner Catherine Martin took last year’s prize for designing The Great Gatsby). Stockhausen’s previous work includes two other Wes Anderson films, The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. He also created a surreal microcosm of New York City inside a vast Manhattan warehouse for Synecdoche, New York.

As seen in the featurette above, the decor of the hotel practically has its own character arc, and Adam Stockhausen’s production design leaves an indelible impression. With a worldwide gross of $168 million, The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson’s biggest earner to date. Shots like these are key to its charm and an essential part of the film’s success.

“Creating a Hotel”

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  • Watermelons

    Great stills. I adored the energy and miniatures(?)/scaling effects in Grand Budapest Hotel.

    David Bordwell’s indispensable Thoughts on Film Art blog examines a number of stills and sequences from Moonrise Kingdom and engages with the discourse in film studies/business of auteur-as-brand. The topic of different modes of achieving a coherent public auteur image recently came up in the Oscar Podcast and it reminded me that both Michael Bay and Wes Anderson have directed commercials which both parody and condense their filmic identifiers. Even the older school of Spielberg and Scorsese have acted as animated characters modeled after their reputations and myths (Spielberg as Disney-rivaling producer ‘Steven’ on “Animaniacs,” Scorsese as a bushybrowed pufferfish in Shark Tale).

    In terms of direct access to audiences, the home video commentary is vital to some directors’ images: the Coens and Tim Burton famously lack energy on DVD, Terry Gilliam and Guillermo del Toro layer an excited illuminated voice track over their work, Spielberg does Not Do Commentaries, etc.

    Anyone else been thinking about auteur brand formation/refinement???

    Ok that’s it bye wait p.s. Kate Winslet (Divergent, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) should be in the next Wes Anderson movie.

    – Watermelons

  • Al Robinson

    I could look at these stills for hours. The Grand Budapest Hotel is my favorite movie of the year (so far), and I think it has a great shot of finishing in my top 10. How I’m guessing I’ll end up ranking them:

    1. Foxcatcher
    2. Interstellar
    3. Unbroken
    4. Gone Girl
    5. Boyhood
    6. Inherent Vice
    7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    8. Birdman
    9. Wild
    10. A Most Violent Year

  • Al Robinson

    But I think that as years pass, The Grand Budapest Hotel will remain one of 2014’s Best Films. Alongside Boyhood, Foxcatcher, and Inherent Vice.

  • Kane

    Al, those three are in my top 5 most anticipated of the year with Inherent Vice at #1. I think this will be a great year for “Oscar” films.

    I love the way Budapest Hotel looks. That shot with Jude Law, it looks like there’s a minor fish-eye lens going on. If so then I admire it even more. To me, without having seen the film, it looks like everyone’s in a diorama. All characters look just a bit bigger than they’re supposed to, which can also be helped by the lack of widescreen.

  • joe

    Its about time a Wes Anderson film gets up for an Oscar and I think this his best work yet.

  • T. Dewey

    As many people have said “I wasn’t a huge Wes fan, but this film really did it for me.” An amazing film and the best time I’ve had at the movies in years. Fingers crossed for a Best Picture nom and Best Actor for RF!

  • Rotating desktop wallpaper anyone?

  • murtaza

    Budapest’s art direction is truly mesmerizing, intelligent and highly innovative.

  • adam Lewis

    I think Ralph Fiennes should be in the discussion for Best Actor! Just watched this on again on the plane from London and it plays great after a third viewing! Fiennes is brilliant! Desplat’s score is fantastic too! Will probably just get a screenplay nod in the end though 🙁

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