Forget intricate choreography, CGI effects, and unexpected cameos. Some of the best, most eye-catching music videos simply rely on the right location to provide the perfect visual representation of a song, and often, it's a stunning building that does the trick. Below, Architectural Digest rounds up hit videos that were filmed at historic homes, modern mansions, or iconic hotels.
“Sucker,” Jonas Brothers (2019)
The brothers launched their recent comeback by taking over the stately Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, England. It’s a former Tudor royal palace that dates back to 1611, when an earl named Robert Cecil built it and decorated it with opulent art and furniture. (The Favourite and Batman Begins were filmed there as well.) Its showpiece is the Long Gallery that stretches 170 feet, while the 42-acre garden is home to exotic plants. Kevin, Nick, and Joe Jonas's decision to use the property clearly paid off, because "Sucker" is up for four MTV Video Music Awards on August 26, including Video of the Year.
“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift (2014)
The singer made a huge splash with her video set at the Oheka Castle, a historic mansion located on the Gold Coast of Long Island, between Manhattan and the Hamptons. Designed in 1919 and influenced by the grandeur of French chateaus during the Gilded Age, the 32-room estate—also seen in The Americans—features great halls, expansive gardens, and a beautiful courtyard fit for a Swift-approved fairy tale. In the video, she saunters through all of the above.
“Don’t,” Ed Sheeran (2014)
Sheeran doesn’t even appear in this video. Could that be because the real star is this majestic $15 million mansion located high atop L.A.’s tony Bel Air neighborhood? The 9,468-square-foot abode, built in 1993, sits on more than two gated acres and includes a pond, fountains—and a chill-looking spa located in the middle of the pool. In one clip, a dancer hangs from wires in the marble-tiled grand entry.
“Best Song Ever,” One Direction (2013)
Keep your eyes peeled for this mansion the next time you're in Miami. The modern home where Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik once shot a goofy music video is the largest single-family residence in South Beach. (To wit, the Kardashians shot their Christmas card on the premises in 2012.) This 16,000-foot two-story Art Deco mansion was built in 1935 and was on the market for $20 million back in 2016. There’s an elevator, a private rooftop deck, an infinity pool, and a waterfall—all of which the boy banders (unfortunately) failed to take advantage of onscreen.
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele (2012)
Adele followed in illustrious musical footsteps when she recorded her album 21—and filmed the “Rolling in the Deep” video—at the modest four-bedroom ranch in Malibu, California, that is Shangri-La studios. Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Eric Clapton are some of the rockers that have laid down vocals at the home, which has been owned by producer Rick Rubin since 2012.
“Halo,” Beyoncé (2008)
Queen B filmed this dreamy ballad in one of her own properties. Once a former Con Ed switching station, this four-story, 13,000-square-foot loft townhouse in NYC’s SoHo district boasts 19-foot ceilings and a private indoor pool, though in the video, Beyoncé primarily appears in the airy living and dining area, which features exposed brick and a wood-burning fireplace. In 2015, the pad was listed on the rental market for a whopping $80,000 a month.
“Wannabe,” Spice Girls (1996)
How do you go from wannabe starlets to girl-power phenomenon? By releasing an iconic video to go along with a catchy single. Set inside the architect George Gilbert Scott’s Midland Grand Hotel in the St. Pancras area of London (now the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel), "Wannabe" was filmed to look like one continuous shot. Victoria Beckham (then Adams), Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, and Melanie Chisholm danced on the carpeted grand staircase—a demonstration of High Victorian and neo-Gothic design—and caused a ruckus in the elegant dining area.
“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” Céline Dion (1996)
Who can forget when Dion shot this epic power ballad at an even more epic location? The Chateau Ploskovice of the Austrian emperors in the Czech Republic is located about 90 minutes from Prague, and the one-story Gothic 18th-century estate sets the stage as the diva cries out for her deceased former love and looks positively forlorn. Architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer built the castle in high Baroque style as a summer residence for Anna Maria of Tuscany.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest