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How to Find Wes Anderson–Style Whimsy Wherever You Travel

By Sarah Buder

Sep 12, 2018

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A Hearst Castle tennis court in San Luis Obispo County, California

Photo by @MoaBoyer / Instagram

A Hearst Castle tennis court in San Luis Obispo County, California

This carefully curated Instagram page maps out where you can find real-life buildings, interiors, and landscapes that look like they came from a Wes Anderson film.

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Pastel colors, kitschy details, and extensive symmetry have come to define director Wes Anderson’s widely celebrated aesthetic. Films such as The Life Aquatic, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel are well-known—and commonly loved—for transporting viewers to impeccably stylized worlds. But the popular cinematic settings dreamed up by the director have often been embellished by incredible set and costume design.

Herein comes @accidentallywesanderson. This Instagram account spotlights destinations around the world that look like they’ve been specially crafted for one of Anderson’s film sets but are actually everyday locations that can be visited in real life.

Inspired by a Reddit thread named AccidentalWesAnderson, the Instagram account’s curator, Wally Koval, created the page just one year ago. The travel-, architecture-, and (of course) Anderson aesthetic–enthusiast originally aimed to create an online community where people with similar interests could marvel over Anderson-inspired imagery. But after a month of sorting through the #AccidentallyWesAnderson hashtag and reposting photos including only the destination names in each caption, Koval became curious about the stories behind the visually distinctive locations.

So he shifted his focus: The account would not just be a place for Wes Anderson fans to ogle over real-life manifestations of the director’s signature aesthetic. It would also become an online resource where curious people could learn unique information about unassuming locations around the world, such as the Eastern Columbia Building (pictured below), a 13-story art deco landmark widely considered to be Los Angeles’s greatest surviving example of the iconic architectural style.

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Aug 11, 2017 at 4:43am PDT

Today, Instagram users submit photos for consideration alongside details about the location featured (building name, country, etc.), at which point Koval puts his detective hat on, sourcing information from any historical records he can find. Each image posted to the Instagram account includes a detailed caption outlining the background of the particular building, interior, or landscape on display.

Sure, the account’s 917K followers (and counting) might initially be drawn to the page for its elegantly curated grid of aesthetically pleasing places. But what turns an Anderson-esque photo submission into an @accidentallywesanderson feature, Koval says, is the discovery that the location pictured holds more than meets the eye.  

“In my opinion, the narrative of each location’s history is just as important—if not more important—than the picture itself,” Koval says. “The background story in each caption is intended to provide the context for which you can further appreciate what you’re looking at.” For example, the beautiful bookstore pictured below, known as Cărturești Carusel, is housed in a 19th-century building in Bucharest, Romania, that was almost destroyed before it was refurbished. If that information were not provided alongside the image featured on Instagram, most of the account’s followers would probably never know the fact, although it adds to the building’s historic significance.

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Aug 5, 2018 at 5:30am PDT

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For those who travel frequently, the Instagram account can serve as a colorful “lookbook” to inspire a future trip, Koval notes. For those who aren’t often on the road, Koval hopes the page will help foster the realization that you don’t need to go far to see—and learn from—amazing sights.

“Many people wouldn’t sit down and read a dense book on the history of a destination,” Koval says. “But if you put a really cool picture book together with significant facts about the place, people might do more than just learn about the location; they might be inspired to visit it themselves.”

Scroll down for a look at more photos from @accidentallywesanderson.

Pałac Królewski

Wroclaw, Poland

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Royal Palace | Wroclaw, Poland | c. 1717 • • The Royal Palace (Polish: Pałac Królewski; German: Stadtschloss) is a palace in Wrocław, Poland. Originally a palace of the Prussian monarchy, it now houses the city museum • • Initially a Baroque palace of Heinrich Gottfried von Spätgen, the palace was built in 1717 in a Viennese style. It was purchased by the Prussian king Frederick the Great and converted into his residence in 1750 after Prussia took control over Silesia in the First Silesian War • • From 1751 to 1753, the palace was extended in the Baroque style with Rococo interiors designed by the royal architect Johann Boumann with additions including a transverse wing with a festive hall, throne hall and Frederick the Great's private quarters • • Frederick the Great’s successor, his nephew Frederick William II of Prussia remodeled the palace according to the design of Karl Gotthard Langhans between 1795 to 1796 in the classical style. As a result, the wings surrounding the northern courtyard, a new staircase and utility rooms were added • • Other renovations were performed during the middle of the 19th century and in 1918 the palace was donated to the city of Breslau. In September 1926 the Palace Museum was opened, displaying an exposition devoted to Frederick the Great, reconstruction of original interiors, and a collection of Silesian art • • In May 1945 the palace was heavily damaged during the siege of the city at the end of the Second World War. In the 1960s the palace was partially demolished, while the remaining wings were adapted to host the Archeological Museum until 1999 and the Ethnographic Museum until 2004 • • In 2008 a renovation was finished and a new museum was established, presenting 1,000 year history of Wrocław • • Know more? Please comment below! @piotrzemlak • @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #Vscotravel #ArchitectureLovers #Travelgram #TravelMore #SymmetricalMonsters #Wroclaw #Poland #WroclawCityMuseum #FredricktheGreat #RoyalPalace

A post shared by @ accidentallywesanderson on Jul 17, 2018 at 4:46am PDT

Half Dome Village Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

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Half Dome Village | Yosemite Valley, California | c. 1924 • • Half Dome Village, previously ‘Curry Village’, is a camping ground in Mariposa County, California within Yosemite National Park. At an elevation of 4,003 feet (1,220 m), the location occupies a central position in the Yosemite Valley and lies on a talus cone of debris from old rockfalls • • In 1899 David A. Curry and Jenny Etta Foster (later known as ‘Mother Curry’) opened a tented camp site. They advertised "a good bed and clean napkin with every meal" for $2 a day (equivalent to $59 in 2017 dollars) • • It was developed in the early 20th century as a camp concession for tourists to the park and contains numerous rustic wooden cabins, tented cabins, and related amenities. In 1970 the community changed its post office name to Curry Village • • The entire complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and in addition to visitor cabins, it includes a store, dining facilities, a lodge and a post office. The camp's structures are rustic wood-framed cabins with hipped roofs, set on stone foundations • • Significant structures include the 1914 entrance sign, the 1904 Old Registration Office, and the 1913 dance hall, now adapted as guest lodgings known as the Stoneman House. Bungalows with en-suite baths were built from 1918 to 1922, and bungalows without plumbing were built during the Great Depression of the 1930s • • In 2016, Curry Village was forced to change its name to Half Dome Village due to a trademark dispute between the National Park Service and a private concessions company, Delaware North • • Know more? Please comment below!  @enriquezfg @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #AccidentalWesAnderson #travelmore #Wanderlust #SymmetricalMonsters #Yosemite #YosemiteValley #California #HalfDomeVillage #CurryVillage

A post shared by @ accidentallywesanderson on Aug 21, 2018 at 4:15am PDT


Westkapelle, Netherlands

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Noorderhoofd | Westkapelle, Netherlands | c. 1875 • • The “Noorderhoofd” (also called the low lighthouse of Westkapelle or ‘Westkapelle Laag’) is the first round cast iron light tower in the Netherlands. It is located in Westkapelle, a small city on the island Walcheren, in the province Zeeland of the Netherlands with a population of less than 3,000 full time residents • • Designed in 1875 by Quirinus Harder - a Dutch architect best known for having designed a large number of lighthouses in the late 1800s - Lighthouse Noorderhoofd was constructed using a main 6000 candela light that flashes every 10 seconds with a visibility range of up to 13 nautical miles • • Making the segments for this round tower was more difficult than for an angular tower. The iron foundry Nering Bögel in Deventer took on the task of creating wooden molds by hand from which the circular iron was cast • • At the foot of the tower there was a stone building that in use by the Coast Guard until 1995. Built in the 1960s, the shelter fell into disrepair and was the target of vandalism, so eventually was demolished • • The Noorderhoofd is actually the second active lighthouse in Westkapelle. The other is known as the ‘Tall Lighthouse’, was built between at the entrance to the village, and is actually the remainder of a church that burned down in the 18th century. In 1818 a light was added to the top. Together the two lights lead vessels coming from the North Sea into the narrow and busy shipping lane directly under the south west coast of Walcheren • • The lighthouse is located just behind the seawall at Westkapelle and is open to the public to climb • • Know more? Please comment below! • @katedavison @Wikipedia + @vvvzealand + @zoutelande • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #AccidentalWesAnderson #TravelMore #Wanderlust #SymmetricalMonsters #VisitNetherlands #IgersNetherlands #Westkapelle #LighthouseNoorderhoofd #WestkapelleLaag #NoorderhoofdWestkapelle

A post shared by @ accidentallywesanderson on Sep 6, 2018 at 4:18am PDT

Bristol Temple Meads

Bristol, England

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Aug 13, 2018 at 4:20am PDT

Húsavík Light

Húsavík, Iceland

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Nov 11, 2017 at 7:25am PST

American Fireworks Stand

Austin, Texas

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Jul 4, 2018 at 4:51am PDT

Baan Pra Nond Bed-and-Breakfast

Bangkok, Thailand

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Jul 14, 2018 at 5:53am PDT

Grand Island East Channel Light

Munising, Michigan

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Mar 2, 2018 at 4:42am PST

NANAN Patisserie

Wroclaw, Poland

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Aug 16, 2017 at 3:23am PDT

St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral

Kiev, Ukraine

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Oct 20, 2017 at 4:50am PDT

Jane Hotel

New York City

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A post shared by @accidentallywesanderson on Sep 7, 2018 at 4:56am PDT

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