One thing that didn’t exist is the maze. Davies enlisted maze designer Adrian Fisher to create the shape and structure, but it wasn’t possible to build it in its entirety. The center, which features a minotaur sculpture designed by sculptor Nicola Hicks, and its connecting corridors were constructed with potted hedging; the rest is CGI. The maze plays a pivotal role during a climactic party scene, which saw the estate dressed up for a party—and then dressed down for its messy aftermath.
“We just went for it,” says Davies, who worked alongside set designer Charlotte Dirickx. “We had some music on and we had a riot dressing it. We planned it within an inch of its life, anyway. We had a team doing greens, a team doing sculptures, a team doing the nightclub. It was a crazy ride.”
Though the house’s architecture and decor is magnificent, not everything on screen is intended to evoke beauty. Part of Fennell’s vision for Saltburn was that the house had a texture of life. There are ashtrays filled with cigarette butts, plates caked with leftovers and crystal glasses that have been knocked to the floor. It’s a lived-in feeling that feels glamorous and filthy at the same time. The team even discussed the house’s smell, adding fresh flowers to add a sincerity to the environment.