The Furchester Hotel
One of the largest sets we’ve created over the past 12 months has been for the CBBC and Sesame Street co-production, The Furchester Hotel.
From the outset we knew that this 52 episode series would be filmed in HD and, as a puppet based production, it would also involve a huge amount of close-up camera work meaning that the attention to detail on the set had to be second to none.
As the name suggests the show is set in a hotel, albeit one owned by incompetent monsters, and our brief was to ensure that the build finish mirrored that of an actual, classically styled, grand hotel. This included oak panelling, ornate decorative mouldings, stained glass features, specially printed Muppets wallpaper and gilded flourishes throughout.
As well as the challenges of the aesthetic finish the build threw up a number of structural tests too – not least that the entire set needed to be elevated by 900mm to allow access for the puppets (170 of them in total) and puppeteers. Other features included a working revolving door, a working lift (including external functioning dials), a sweeping double layer S-bend staircase and a curved balcony with bespoke curved timber hand rails.
As with any self-respecting hotel the Furchester set also included a reception area, lobby, kitchen, bedrooms, a conservatory and even a garden with a stone gazebo.
Jane Cecchi, the show’s Production Designer, said, “We were up against many challenges from the start given the limited time frame for building this large and detailed composite set. A prime example was making sure, through several camera tests at EC’s workshop, that the scale of the set devised for the puppets worked well for all.
Throughout an intensive build period – with countless drawing and model tweaks and daily design additions – EC’s hard work, skill and commitment to this build meant that this ambitious and detailed set was delivered to exceed expectations. The intricacies of the initial design were not diluted in any way, and I couldn’t have been happier with the final outcome”.
A job of this scale and detail requires a great deal of expertise, fortunately our team here at EC Creative Services incorporates a broad range of specialists including joiners, mechanical engineers, scenic artists, cabinet makers, structural engineers, spray painters, steel workers and welders – all of whom were involved in creating this enormous, complex and intricate set.
As Dionne Nosek, Series Producer of the show, said, “The Furchester Hotel was a 360 degree set, meaning you could put a camera almost anywhere to get a shot. It was very cinematic with beautiful depth and angles. Anyone who visited was instantly taken with the grandeur and detail of it”.
Thanks Dionne, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Interested in hearing more?
If you’d like to talk to us about anything related to set design and build then we’d be delighted to hear from you.