We don’t usually announce design competitions here on Co. Design, but for this, we’ve got to make an exception. Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, which inspired the haunted overlook hotel in The Shining, has put a call out for someone to design them a real-life hedge maze, just like the one Jack Nicholson’s deranged hotel caretaker chased his psychic son Danny Torrance through in Stanley Kubrick’s 1981 film!
The Stanley Hotel is definitely the inspiration for the haunted Overlook Hotel. Located in Estes Park, Colorado, author Stephen King has admitted that a visit in 1974 inspired him to write The Shining. “When we arrived, they were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place—with all those long, empty corridors,” he once said. But here’s where it gets interesting: it’s not the hotel that was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s famous 1981 adaptation of The Shining. That hotel was the Timberline Lodge, located in Oregon.
Which is part of what makes this such a great publicity stunt: there is no hedge maze in Stephen King’s novel. Instead, the Stanley Hotel had a selection of topiary animals, which famously come alive in the novel and become murderous. When it came time to adapt The Shining for film, director Stanley Kubrick thought the idea of killer grass bunnies was silly—he was trying to make a film that was less overtly supernatural—and so he replaced it with a hedge maze. And when you think about it, it’s all just so deliciously meta. The hotel that inspired one of the most famous novels of the last 40 years is now redesigning itself to more closely resemble a totally different hotel featured in a film adaptation of that very same novel.
None of which changes the fact that as far as contests are concerned, designing a real-life murder maze for the world’s most famous haunted hotel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any designer. If that’s the kind of thing that appeals to you, you can find the official rules here.