Black Panther’s architectural sets were inspired by Zaha Hadid buildings, Afrofuturism and Buckingham Palace
According to Black Panther’s production designer Hannah Beachler, the film’s architectural sets were inspired by a mix of Zaha Hadid’s buildings in Asia, Afrofuturism and the Buckingham Palace.
According to Dezeen, Beachler visited buildings by the late Iraqi-British architect while researching for the film, including the DDP Building in Seoul, completed in 2013, and the Wangjing SOHO in Beijing, completed in 2015.
“That’s what I wanted people to feel for the modern architecture in Black Panther,” Beachler said. “Very voluptuous, very curvy, [with] no hard edges and the spaces feel both very large and intimate at the same time.”
In determining the size of the king’s residence, the designer looked to Buckingham Palace. She told Dezeen that the London mansion influenced the size and measurements of the film’s king T’Challa’s home, which would later determine how big the rest of the city would be.
“The perfect size of what a palace should be in roughly 359 feet by 486 feet, like Buckingham Palace,” she said.
According to Beachler, the curvature of Zaha Hadid buildings and the materials used create an intimate experience, despite the large spaces. “You understand the texture,” she added. “You connect with it more than if it were just a glass wall.”
The fictional world of Wakanda, where the movie is set, was further inspired by Afrofuturism, a cultural movement that combines African and African-American culture with technology and science fiction elements. For the film, the outdoor scenes were shot in Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and South Korea.
According to Beachler, “You can look to Arofuturism for the aesthetic [of Black Panther]. It was really about blending things that were existing in a lot of different African cultures and then creating them as if they had evolved over time and inserting that into our fictional nation.”
Afrofuturism also influenced the costumes in the movie, which were designed by African-American costume designer Ruth E Carter. They include 3D printed garments based on clothing and accessories from a range of African cultures, including Turkana and Maasai.
In combining the various elements, Zaha Hadid-style curves were blended with southern African architectural references. This created fluid and curved structures for Wakanda that used earth tones and natural materials, such as the traditional rondavel huts that feature conical, thatched roofs. Other examples can also be seen in the design of the skyscrapers in Wakanda’s Golden City capital.