Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Set Design

Apologies for the super long title, but there's no way to abbreviate it really....

Anyway, as the title suggests, this post is about the set design of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'. I came across a very interesting article on ArchitecturalDigest.com by Elizabeth Stamp, here are a few highlights:

In the article on the Architectural Digest, production designer Stuart Craig talks us through the ideas behind his designs. Above is the entrance hall of Gringott's Bank, the setting for a very dramatic escape scene in the last instalment of the Harry Potter series. Craig says of this design:

"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 stability, of solidity. So our banking hall, like any other, is made of marble and big marble columns. And it has great strength.”
Below is the concept drawing of the Bank set - note the serious, sombre colour scheme that is carried through from set to lighting to costume. The stony colours of coal, granite and onyx reflect the ideas of strength and power mentioned in the quote above. Furthermore, this dark colour scheme could reflect the overall mood of the film, and the characters within it - as Rufus Scrimgeour says in the ominous opening of 'Deathly Hallows: Part 1', "these are dark times, there is no denying"!

I love this concept illustration of the Room of Requirement! The incredibly dramatic fan vaulting turns a typical Gothic interior into a magical room overwhelmed by mountains and mountains of discarded objects. Craig created the effect of multiplying objects filling the room by liaising with Special Effects supervisor John Richardson, who designed rising flooring panels that pushed the piles of objects up and out.
Over the 8 Harry Potter films - produced from 2001 to 2011 - many aspects of the design have evolved, from casting to costumes. Here is the set of the Hogwarts Entrance Hall, redesigned to meet the needs of the script. JK Rowling had written that during the final battle at Hogwarts, the stone statues come alive and jump out of the wall. These statues were not present before, so had to be added into a redeveloped set design.
This space, host to a showdown between Harry and Voldemort, has an interesting mood to it - Craig describes the "interior/exterior" space as "theatrical". The colour, lighting and architectural details are, of course, dramatic and striking, but also I find the 'backstage' quality of the set, with its chain and pulleys around, reminds me of a literal stage/theatre building.
Read the complete article about the sets of  'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' at the Architectural Digest - link here.
Photo credit: Jaap Buitendijk, Warner Bros. Pictures

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