In honor of the Oscars tonight, I chose to highlight the design within Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” This film didn’t just tell a story, but actually created an alternate universe (Zubrowka) for us to interact with. And this entire universe was created without much use of CGI, but rather — by hand. For example, the trains in the film were actually made of cardboard and the majestic pink Grand Budapest Hotel itself (the film’s central setting, in picture above), was actually a 9-foot-tall model.
The choice (and it was a choice) to do the design by hand is one of the reasons why this film is so desirable (and nominated for Best Picture!). This artistic choice creates a sense of intimacy and tactility that is usually not as present in modern CGI films. Because these props are handmade, they have more of a lived-in quality. When the characters in this movie interact directly with these handmade props and settings, their interactions feel even more organic.
Great movie. Watch it if you haven’t yet!