Anderson found a department store with an atrium in Görlitz, and Stockhausen and the art department transformed it into their luxurious, Old World centerpiece. It’s a hand-crafted labyrinth, really, much like their fairy tale-like narrative.
The Grand Budapest was modeled after many Eastern European hotels, but the closest they came was the Grand Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary. “We used bits and pieces cobbled together,” Stockhausen told me. “We were going for the onstage/backstage quality to the hotel that carries over to the rest of the film, including Mendl’s bakery. It’s bright, vivid, and poppy but not electric.” (Look Effects was instrumental in helping the miniatures seamlessly fit into the set design and look of the invented universe.)
Ernst Lubitsch, Max Ophuls and Stefan Zweig (to whom the movie is dedicated) would be proud.