Wow! This really is a FASCINATING read!
Check out some of the truly astonishing sets featured in the upcoming conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which include Bill and Fluer Weasley's Shell Cottage; Gringotts Bank and the Lestrange vault, which is guarded by a dragon; and the newly re-designed, ready for battle Hogwarts (above and below)!
As production designer Stuart Craig explains:
“I try to find a logic for whatever the set is and somehow I felt it was wrong for [Shell Cottage] to be too whimsical, too fanciful. So this cottage has a logic. If you really wanted to build a house on the beach, what would you do? Well, you would use local materials. And the local materials would be either rocks or seashells. The walls are huge oyster shells and the roof is made of big scallop shells. You can see how scallop shells can lend themselves to overlapping and shedding water. I was kind of pleased with the logic underlying the structure that we had found there.”
And on Gringotts bank and the Lestrange vault:
“Banks are traditionally symbols of stability. I know that recent history undid all this, but that is the intention in bank architecture—to convey this feeling of reassurance, of stabililty, of solidity. So our banking hall, like any other, is made of marble and big marble columns. And it has great strength. The fact that the goblins are the bankers and tellers at the counter helps that feeling of grandeur and solidity and the big proportions. That was part of the fun of the set: We exaggerated the size of it, we exaggerated the weight of it, and we even exaggerated the shine of the marble. He’s [the dragon guarding the vault] very anemic, having spent his entire life underground. But he’s huge—64 feet long. This is the arena, and the little passageways between the columns are where the vaults are, so they have to get around the dragon in order to get to the vault. We made literally thousands of pieces for it and vacuum metalized them to be shiny gold and silver. And John Richardson, the special effects supervisor, made a floor that was capable of rising on different levels, so there was kind of a physical swelling of the treasure on it. Then that was enhanced with visual effects. Harry Potter, in its ten-year period, spanned quite a bound in technology. At the beginning, we would have done most things physically—even some of the creatures were sculpted full size and operated as animatronic creatures. Toward the end of the process, they became digital constructions and brilliantly real.”
And finally, on changes to the school's structure and architecture:
“There were so many periods, styles, and changes that we could use. The whole movie was a great show in the history of Gothic architecture. This is one example of how things just evolve and how Hogwarts changes from one movie to the next. In the final battle, it’s required that the statues jump down and take part in the battle. So we needed to change the look of the entrance hall. This was a way to make an interior/exterior space and to be able to move from one to another, which is always more interesting. This long central catwalk gave us the opportunity to stage the confrontation between Voldemort and Harry very theatrically.”
We've always been amazed with the designs that these guys come up with, but wow! They've really outdone themselves this time around!
Glad to see they've pulled out all the stops in honor of the franchise's swan song!
We CAN'T WAIT to see it!
[Images via Architectural Digest.]
Tags: bellatrix lestrange, dragon, exciting, franchise, gringotts, harry potter, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2, production designer, set design, shell cottage, stuart craig, vault