To create the Eastern European feel of Zubrowka, Anderson headed to Görlitz, the easternmost town in Germany and no stranger to the big screen. It has also been used as the backdrop in Inglorious Bastards and The Book Thief.
According to Grand Budapest production designer Adam Stockhausen, they knew right away the abandoned department store was meant for the film. "When I first saw the building, I thought: It's perfect, just perfect," he explained. "The columns, the staircases, that really magnificent window and that huge chandelier, that was already there, that's all original."
Anderson loved the building so much he considered buying it himself to save it but, luckily, a private investor stepped in and plans to reopen it next year.