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Spoiler: this article is a declaration of love for Wes Anderson’s movie.

This post is also available in: Italian

Wes Anderson is a well-known American writer and the director of movies such as Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited. As architects and Interior designers we are constantly inspired by his work: he has a sense of colour and graphic composition like no one else on the planet.

Wes Anderson’s ability to combine colours in a stunning working palette is utterly unique. An intricate visual language has become Anderson’s trademark and his interiors are works of art. Each of WA’s movies is an intricate curated universe with an explosion of colours, textures, and patterns accompanied by an obsessive symmetry. Anderson likes his movie sets to be perfect: every detail is meticulously designed.

All the movie sets are created to provoke a feeling, a personality, an activity, or a memory. They are strictly related to the movie’s character.

In the famous Grand Budapest Hotel’s elevator scene you cannot stay indifferent to the magnificent contrast between the sparkling red of the walls and the deep purple of the uniforms. To complete the magic WA adds those little touches of yellow and black just at the bottom of the picture, on the woman’s dress. The entire movie is based on red, purple, and pink shades. What an unusual and intriguing palette!

wes anderson colour

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

wes anderson colour

In the lobby the detail of the vintage table lamps combined with the Art Deco motif on the boiserie works extremely well. Graphically speaking, the Art Deco inspired lettering is simply stunning and adds a touch of gold and metal reflections.

We took our favourite pieces and combined them”, says Adam Stockhausen, Grand Budapest Hotel Production Designer. “We did our own version of the beautiful fabric work and murals found in top hotels. All the fabrics are hand made and the furniture is all antique. We sourced locally from Eastern Germany and reached farther afield – we were pulling in from Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Prague, even London, anywhere we could.

In The Royal Tenenbaums the pink/red combo is ever more accentuated and the most impressive detail is the Zebra wallpaper. Franco and Flora Scalamandre created this wallpaper for Gino Circiello’s New York Italian restaurant in 1945.

wes anderson colour

Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

This year Wes Anderson also directed the Christmas commercial for the popular fashion brand H&M. In the short film everything is absolutely perfect. We loved the idea of using two shades of green – darker on the bottom and lighter on the top of the walls to emphasise the cold and surreal atmosphere of the train.

Another fashion brand, Prada, loves Anderson so much that it commissioned not only its Candy perfume commercials, but also the redecoration of a cafeteria in Milan: the Bar Luce, Milano.

Designed by film director Wes Anderson, Bar Luce recreates the atmosphere of a typical Milanese cafè. Although his movies often favor symmetrical tableaux, Anderson feels that ‘there is no ideal angle for this space. It is for real life, and ought to have numerous good spots for eating, drinking, talking, reading, etc. While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.’

A nostalgic color scheme, candy-coloured furniture, wallpapers and vintage lights define again the characteristic Anderson style. The wallpaper on the ceiling is a reminder of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the heart of Milan. Pink, lime green, and mint green are the main colours.

Bar Luce –  Largo Isarco, 2 – Milano – Italy

wes anderson colour

In summary the essential key points of Anderson’s dandyish style are: bold an defined color palette, graphic and abstract wallpaper, vintage furniture, dark woods, diffused lights, and obsession with graphic lettering.

More on Wes Anderson:

Matt Zoller Seitz, Wes Anderson, Eric Anderson, The Wes Anderson Collection, Abrams, October 2013.


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