For Westworld Season 3, Los Angeles of 2058 Was Built With Input From Bjarke Ingels

Oren Peleg

The androids have escaped from Westworld, and they’re coming for humanity. So begins Westworld season three, which debuted March 15. Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood), Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton), and other androids are discovering that life outside their theme park cages isn’t the rugged American West or Edo-era Japan they know, but a sleek futurescape waiting to be navigated. Welcome to Los Angeles, 2058.

“It’s not dystopian,” Howard Cummings, the Emmy award–winning production designer of the series, tells Architectural Digest. Instead of Blade Runner, Cummings created a future with less traffic, more greenery, and one that is generally clean and orderly. “We wanted this to be a grounded futurism,” he continues. The buildings are a mix of new and old, making it feel welcoming. As Cummings explains, “It’s what you would hope things would be, except that eventually you find out that it might just be on the surface.”

The skyline of Los Angeles in 2058, as imagined for Westworld season three.
Courtesy of HBO

To create this blend of new and old, the crew filmed in Los Angeles and used sequences shot in Singapore to augment the world. Architect Bjarke Ingels, an informal consultant on the show, suggested Singapore “because the architecture there is so forward,” says Cummings, “and the buildings are covered in greenery.” Ingels also sent Cummings some of his firm’s reference projects to use in the future Los Angeles skyline.

Charlotte Hale (played by Tessa Thompson) at the Delos Corporation headquarters, which was filmed at Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain.
Courtesy of HBO

A challenge for Cummings and his team in season three was maintaining what he calls the “language of style” developed in season two for the Delos Corporation now that the world has been so greatly expanded. The Mesa, where Delos houses its laboratories and offices inside the Westworld theme park, is a palette of blacks, reds, whites, and grays. “When we got out into the real world, we got very challenged by the fact that the palette is kind of exploding,” Cummings explains. The solution was to keep color and life in certain environments, then return to the established color palette when inside the Delos Corporation offices.

Maeve Millay (played by Thandie Newton) at La Fábrica, which the Westworld team augmented to create a more futuristic version.
Courtesy of HBO

The offices themselves were filmed at the Santiago Calatrava–designed City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain. Also featured prominently this season is Ricardo Bofill’s masterpiece La Fábrica, which Cummings was able to secure after Ingels introduced him to Bofill’s son, Carlos. “We used parts of the real place, and then created a futuristic [version] of it” through an additional set, Cummings says. “The whole place is this wonderful, weird, Industrial-meets-postmodern-Gothic thing. It’s very interesting.”

This Wallace E. Cunningham–designed residence in Encinitas, California, was the perfect fit for the aesthetic of season three.
Courtesy of HBO

Another location used was a Wallace E. Cunningham–designed residence in Encinitas, California, that features a concrete, floating staircase and expansive use of glass. “One reason we were attracted to it is because it incorporated the language of the corporate offices and the Delos Corporation we had done the year before,” Cummings says. “It incorporated a lot of the design details that we had already been putting into this season, too.”

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Cummings and set decorator Julie Ochipinti achieved a sense of orderly futurism by placing large LED panels on walls both decoratively and as a source of light. “In order to tie things together, we created our own lighting,” Cummings adds. Custom lighting pieces were manufactured by Damon Liebowitz, while Ochipinti sourced the rest from Y Lighting and A&R Lighting. “We stressed a lot of vertical, linear-looking lighting” explains Cummings. “We avoided candles, and added a lot of underlighting and built-in lighting.”

Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) at the Wallace E. Cunningham–designed residence in Encinitas, California.
Courtesy of HBO

For furniture and accessories, Ochipinti used Muji, HD Buttercup, Hammer and Spear, JF Chen, and Tortoise. “We simply couldn’t rebuild all the furniture given the scale of things,” Cummings says with a laugh, referencing the shoots in Singapore, Spain, and Los Angeles. “This year was really a global endeavor,” he concludes. “I didn’t actually sleep very much.”

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest