A Singapore photographer obsessed with the visual style of filmmaker Wes Anderson is back with a new series promoting the city’s grandest hotels.
Borrowing heavily from the American filmmaker and his acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel, architectural photographer Kevin Siyuan’s series gives mini tours of five Singapore hotels packed with aesthetically pleasing shots.
“I always wanted to have my own adventure in finding the Singapore equivalent of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, so this is how the film inspired me to embark on my own exploration journey,” Siyuan told Coconuts recently.
He denied being paid to create the series.
The Grand Singapore Hotels Architectural Video Series is a follow up to his 2021 short A Wes Anderson-ish Singapore covering the country’s urban landscape and heartlands.
The five episodes, each kept within six minutes, tour the hotels’ architecture, interior, and are hosted by a hotel employee. The hotels are Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, The Barracks Hotel Sentosa, Oasia Resort Sentosa, The Clan Hotel, and The Capitol Kempinski Hotel.
It pays homage to the struggling hospitality industry that braved the pandemic for years and to Anderson’s 2014 film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, with its cinematography and screenplay references. Anderson’s hallmarks, like symmetrical 2D shots and pastel colors, can be seen in the series.
“From symmetry, planimetric compositions, saturated colours used in Wes Anderson films, to the whip pans, crane shifts, occasional crash zooms to the academic aspect ratio I hope to pay tribute to the original film,” Siyuan said.
He also plopped in easter eggs with props used in The Grand Budapest Hotel like the Lobby Boy Hat and Mendl’s Box to Boy with Apple painting. Even its script was written as poetically as possible.
What makes these five hotels so special to him? Siyuan said he chose them based on “unique traits and features” like their architectural history, food and sustainability. Also, curiosity got the better of him as he always wondered what was past its facades every time he walks past the hotels.
He says he personally chose and reached out to the hotels for permission to film and assures that the series is a personal project and not commissioned as he has artistic direction and creative control over it.
It took him close to three months to film and edit the series.
Siyuan’s tough pick of his favorite episode is awarded to The Clan Hotel whose host he says is a “very expressive presenter” apart from its cinematography.
Siyuan is known for his Wes Anderson-style short films captured in Singapore’s notable landmarks and neighborhoods.
Check out the first episode of the series below.