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Behind the Scenes: Grand Budapest Hotel

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Production designer Adam Stockhausen on crafting dream accommodations for Wes Anderson’s 2014 film, Grand Budapest Hotel.
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  Lobby shot of the Grand Budapest Hotel. “We took our favorite pieces and combined them together,” says Stockhausen. “We did our own version of the beautiful fabric work and murals found in top hotels. All the fabrics are hand done, and the furniture is all antiques. We sourced locally from Eastern Germany, and reached farther afield -- we were pulling in from Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Prague, even London, anywhere we could.”

    Lobby shot of the Grand Budapest Hotel. “We took our favorite pieces and combined them together,” says Stockhausen. “We did our own version of the beautiful fabric work and murals found in top hotels. All the fabrics are hand done, and the furniture is all antiques. We sourced locally from Eastern Germany, and reached farther afield -- we were pulling in from Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Prague, even London, anywhere we could.”

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  Paul Schlase as "Igor," Tony Revolori as "Zero," Tilda Swinton as "Madame D." and Ralph Fiennes as "M. Gustave". Stockhausen and his crew -- including prop master Robin Miller, set decorator Anna Piccock and graphic designer Anna Atkins, who created all the film’s incredible typography from scratch -- crafted the sets by cherry-picking the best of the best. After extensive scouting trips and time spent scouring through old books and photos, elements from continental classics like Berlin’s Adlon informed the layout.

    Paul Schlase as "Igor," Tony Revolori as "Zero," Tilda Swinton as "Madame D." and Ralph Fiennes as "M. Gustave". Stockhausen and his crew -- including prop master Robin Miller, set decorator Anna Piccock and graphic designer Anna Atkins, who created all the film’s incredible typography from scratch -- crafted the sets by cherry-picking the best of the best. After extensive scouting trips and time spent scouring through old books and photos, elements from continental classics like Berlin’s Adlon informed the layout.

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  Exterior of the Grand Budapest Hotel, created with miniatures. One place in particular loomed large as an influence, the Grand Hotel Pupp, the gem of Karlovy Vary, a famed spa town in the Czech Republic that hosts an annual film festival. It’s part of a strip of pastel-painted buildings on the Slovenska River in the city center, all painted in shades of tangerine, pistachio and bright yellow ochre that inspired Stockhausen. He says the exterior of the Pupp is the closest thing to the Grand Budapest.

    Exterior of the Grand Budapest Hotel, created with miniatures. One place in particular loomed large as an influence, the Grand Hotel Pupp, the gem of Karlovy Vary, a famed spa town in the Czech Republic that hosts an annual film festival. It’s part of a strip of pastel-painted buildings on the Slovenska River in the city center, all painted in shades of tangerine, pistachio and bright yellow ochre that inspired Stockhausen. He says the exterior of the Pupp is the closest thing to the Grand Budapest.

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  Interior of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson stumbled upon the Görlitzer Warenhaus, an abandoned department store in Görlitz. This “tremendous find,” according to Stockhausen, made building an interior possible within his budget, and the production crew build an entire hotel lobby inside.

    Interior of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson stumbled upon the Görlitzer Warenhaus, an abandoned department store in Görlitz. This “tremendous find,” according to Stockhausen, made building an interior possible within his budget, and the production crew build an entire hotel lobby inside.

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  Jason Schwartzman (left) as “M. Jean,” Jude Law (center) as “Young Author” and Director Wes Anderson (right). The film’s depiction of the hotel’s ‘60s low point showcased a blockish, brutish, Soviet-era style -- an interior that was “Eastern Bloc-ified,” according to Stockhausen. The film was co-produced with Studio Babelsberg, in nearby Potsdam, and Stockhausen utilized their prop warehouse to source authentic period colors and designs.

    Jason Schwartzman (left) as “M. Jean,” Jude Law (center) as “Young Author” and Director Wes Anderson (right). The film’s depiction of the hotel’s ‘60s low point showcased a blockish, brutish, Soviet-era style -- an interior that was “Eastern Bloc-ified,” according to Stockhausen. The film was co-produced with Studio Babelsberg, in nearby Potsdam, and Stockhausen utilized their prop warehouse to source authentic period colors and designs.

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  Wes Anderson and Jude Law on the set. “We realized pretty quickly there was no way we could do what we needed to do in a real hotel,” says Stockhausen, who worked with Anderson before on Moonrise Kingdom and The Darjeeling Limited. “A real hotel has its own guests, its own thing going on, and there’s no way we can take it over for the amount of time we need to. We couldn’t build the whole thing from scratch, either, we’ll never be able to afford it.”

    Wes Anderson and Jude Law on the set. “We realized pretty quickly there was no way we could do what we needed to do in a real hotel,” says Stockhausen, who worked with Anderson before on Moonrise Kingdom and The Darjeeling Limited. “A real hotel has its own guests, its own thing going on, and there’s no way we can take it over for the amount of time we need to. We couldn’t build the whole thing from scratch, either, we’ll never be able to afford it.”

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