The "Wednesday" Set Design Details You Won't Want to Miss

wednesday jenna ortega as wednesday addams in episode 107 of wednesday
An Inside Look at the Set Design for "Wednesday"Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

The ominous thrill of the new series Wednesday, out now on Netflix, is unsurprisingly fostered by the set design. The dark fantasy is infused with director Tim Burton’s often gothic-style vision and centers around the iconic Addams Family character Wednesday. We tapped production designer Mark Scruton for intel on how the universe was created—and all of the details you won't want to miss. Here's what to look for as you watch (and perhaps even rewatch!) the series.

For starters, Wednesday only wears black and white throughout the series, so everyone else around her is in color to make her visually stand out. "It sounds simple but it was challenging to put into practice," said Miles Millar, a co-showrunner with Alfred Gough, in a press brief. "If you look at our background extras, for example, you will never see them wearing black or white."

wednesday jenna ortega as wednesday addams in episode 107 of wednesday
Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

That concept extends to the sets and filming locations (more on those here!). Nevermore Academy—played by Cantacuzino Castle in Romania—is meant to contrast with the nearby town of Jericho, which was almost entirely built for the show at Buftea Studios. In Jericho, everything is bright and nothing is painted black. When Wednesday is in the town, she stands out. When she’s at Nevermore, she sticks out among the other characters but looks more like she belongs. Perhaps the most obvious visual of this is in Wednesday’s dorm, which she shares with her color-loving, werewolf roommate Enid.

"The fun of Wednesday for me is in the opposites," Scruton tells House Beautiful. "One day you're working on a bright, breezy New England town, the next you’re designing abandoned crypts. Everything is in sharp relief, from the micro to the macro. It was great fun creating those contrasts on such a fantastical stage."

At Nevermore, the gargoyles are more than gothic architectural additions: In the school's "quad," which Scruton notes is more accurately a pentangle, the sculpted gargoyles all represent different supernatural creatures who attend the school. "There's even a clue to the mystery hidden away up there," the designer reveals.

wednesday l to r joy sunday as bianca barclay, johnna dias watson as divina in episode 103 of wednesday cr courtesy of netflix © 2022
Courtesy of Netflix

Not only that, but all of the gargoyle faces were designed to feature different emotions depending on the angle or what’s happening in the scene. Another detail in that set to look out for is the reflecting pond, which has a sculpture of Ophelia rising out of its black water. "Even the arches were designed to look like demonic faces," Scruton says. "The stonework was cast directly from the castle in Cantacuzino to ensure it all felt as one."

wednesday gwendoline christie as larissa weems in episode 102 of wednesday cr vlad ciopleanetflix © 2022
Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems in Wednesday.Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

In the school's Nightshade Library, take a closer look at the portraits and you’ll notice nods to the Addams family history (including Cousin Itt!). Scruton also points to principal Weems’s office as a representation of the whole school's eclectic aesthetic and diversity. "The room itself is decorated in an opulent Rococo style, in rich reds and golds," the designer says. "We furnished it with '60s modernist furniture, some imported from Texas, and brutalist lamps and sculptures including an owl that was designed specifically for Gwendoline Christie [who plays principal Larissa Weems]. Then we crowned the whole thing off with the gothic-inspired gorgon fireplace."

wednesday l to r tommie earl jenkins as mayor walker, gwendoline christie as larissa weems, oliver watson as kent, johnna dias watson as divina, joy sunday as bianca barclay, moosa mostafa as eugene otinger, georgie farmer as ajax petropolus, emma myers as enid sinclair, naomi j ogawa as yoko tanaka in episode 103 of wednesday cr vlad ciopleanetflix © 2022
A behind-the-scenes look at a scene in Jericho.Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

In Jericho, the inspiration was drawn from a typical New England town. The facades of several stores—including the florist shop, thrift store, and cobbler shop—were based on Charles Addams’s original illustrations. The production design team enlisted architecture and sculpting students in Bucharest along with other local sculptors to make it all happen. Even Burton was found helping in the sculptors’ workshop. At the Weathervane Cafe, the back wall is decorated with weathervanes that feature imagery from Burton’s past movies.

"Being able to design worlds from scratch is what makes my job so rewarding, but being able to do it for Tim Burton is a gift," Scruton says. Keep your vision sharp and your mind ready to ponder all of the enticing design elements as the story unfolds!

You love set design. So do we. Let’s obsess over them together.

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