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The only place to rival movie stars’ mansions in beauty is their workplace. The following are five movie set designs worthy of the descriptor “genius”.

The 5 most epic set designs in movie history

Possibly the only place that could rival movie stars’ mansions in beauty is their place of work. With time and thorough attention to detail placed in creating movie sets, the results are always breathtaking. It takes a lot of work from location scouts, film designers, and construction specialists to create any set you can imagine.

From historical settings to countryside sceneries, film specialists always deliver scenes worthy of your time. It might only take you two hours to watch a film, but the work put in to create the perfect sets could have taken months, maybe even years, to design.

To understand the genius work film designers put in, imagine your favorite movie and how impressed you were. Movies series such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are exhibits of perfect movie sets. The following are five movie set designs worthy of the descriptor “genius”.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Harry Potter

Run by goblins, we first encounter the Gringotts Wizarding Bank when Hagrid takes Harry to get some money to fund his first year at Hogwarts. The view of the bank is like no other, and the overall design even more outstanding. 

Lined by high marble columns, the bank is furnished with crystal chandeliers and polished with real brass. Banks are traditional symbols of stability, and the directors used it to portray the goblins’ stable society. Built to reflect an image of wealth and stability, the marble pillars and brass give the Gringotts Wizarding Bank a sophisticated look – one that could rival a modern-day bank. 

The designers amplified the weight and shine of the marble to ensure they represented well the might of the bank. With real tellers present in the movie, the bank is one of the best designs in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Gotham City in the Batman franchise

Shot in the year 1989, the first movie about Batman made a noticeable impact in the film industry. The movie setting was the largest at the time, probably since Cleopatra (1963). Set in a 95-acre plot of land, a whole city was designed by Tim Burton where the movie Batman was filmed.

It entailed designing a dystopian city with portentous figures, dull colors, and comic-like cars. The setting complimented the story of the movie, making it an instant success. It is widely believed that the success that Batman franchises enjoy today was due to the impact this movie created. 

Since then there have been many other movies in the Batman franchise, and all they have in common is this same setting. Gotham’s complex design speaks volumes about how difficult it is to bring a comic book story to the film world. The Batman franchise is one of the few that have achieved success in this, mainly because of this incredible setting.

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings is a story about natives coming together to fight off evil powers that are tempting to take over their lands. Based on the original novels by J.R.R. Tolkein, these movies presented director Peter Jackson with the opportunity to recreate the epic settings from the books. He had to ensure that book readers and movie watchers felt the same way.

With this in mind, he had to cover all the details down to the tiniest. That gave the production team room to get creative. They had to create a hobbit town; this was done on 1,200 acres that included building thirty-seven hobbit holes, a twin-arch bridge, and a windmill.

To ensure the setting was perfect, they planted vegetables and flowers a year before filming began. Lord of the Rings set new standards in the film industry: it changed the way people think and its ideas are used to this day. It was a visual masterpiece from the hobbit town to abandoned castles – viewers were treated to some very remarkable scenes.


James Cameron produced one of his best works when he designed the movie Titanic. He and his team used a whopping $200 million to recreate the sinking of the Titanic. Considering the fact that the movie gained over two billion in revenue, it was worth spending every single cent of the $200 million.

The crew did a commendable job building a ship that was only ten percent smaller than the original. That meant the movie setting created a real feeling for the actors, to ensure they performed their best. Built in an enormous hinge, the ship was designed to shift positions, essential for filming the vessel sinking. The placement was also instrumental in holding the thousands of liters of water that were needed for filming.

It took close to two years for Titanic to be produced. Each scene was acted in real time with minimal effects – but it was worth the wait as the end result was a masterpiece, other than the thin, hackneyed score.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Filmed in 2014, The Grand Budapest Hotel’s set design is one of the most recognized today. The movie is about the humorous happenings in a hotel. Wes Anderson transformed an abandoned department store into a sumptuous Central European hotel.  To understand the degree of creativity, try viewing it this way: he managed to create a movie that won multiple awards from an abandoned five-story building.

The story in the movie occurs in two parts, one in 1960 and the other in 1920. It was a little challenging for the production team to create two settings in the same five-story building. This is why when they managed it, their efforts had to be recognized. They designed a beautiful setting with thorough attention to detail and beautiful coloring.

They designed the hotel following Feng Shui rules with proper spacing, a recommended arrangement of furniture, and the use of natural light. Director Anderson expressed to the fullest his interior design skills.


It’s essential to get the setting of a movie right. This allows directors to get creative with their ideas. A setting is meant to breathe life into the story and support the theme. The movies above are some commendable jobs done by a few world-class directors.

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