Wally Koval and his fiancé Amanda have been to Buenos Aires before. And, like everyone who ventures over here, they fell in love with it. Charmed by the richness of its culture, its vast timeline of architecture, and the warmth of its people, their love for it is as strong today as it was back then.
This time though, their affection for the city will be documented in a very special way: through ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson,’ the Instagram account they’ve been running together since July of last year. For those of you who aren’t one of their over 300,000 followers, it’s an account dedicated to posting drool-worthy pictures of places all across the globe which could blend seamlessly into a Wes Anderson film.
Eastern European countries have become almost synonymous with the Wes Anderson aesthetic, most likely due to the symmetrical precision and the whiff of faded majesty of the Medieval and Gothic architecture so rife in cities such as Budapest, Istanbul, Berlin, and Copenhagen. But Buenos Aires, with its candy-colored palette and off-kilter, old-world goofiness, is a treasure trove of quintessential Andersonian beauty that hasn’t received the attention it deserves.
_________________________ Museu do Vinho | Pico Island, Portugal | 1999 • • Located on Pico Island in the Portuguese Azores, the Museu do Vinho or ‘Museum of Wine’ was established in 1999 and is an extension of the Pico Museum • • Located on the premises of the former Convent of the Order of Carlo, dating back to the 17th century, the building constitutes an architectural symbol of the golden phase of the “Vinho Verdelho” cycle on the island • • Wine production on the island dates back to the 15th century, and the forest of secular dragon trees that are part of the landscape date back even further – some an estimated 1000 years old • • The man-made landscape of stone walls (currais) laid out in grid formation running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky shore is uniquely organized in a pattern of vine plots to protect the Verdelho grapes from the harsh winds and seawater • • The lava landslides and the volcanic rocky soil dominate the landscape, so much so that in the tradition of the Portuguese poet, Raul Brandão, Pico is referred to as the Ilha Preta ("Black Island"), for its black volcanic earth • • The museum’s collection is comprised of ethnographic pieces, objects linked to the cycles of wine making. In 2004 the vineyard landscape was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site • • Know more? Please comment below! • • ?: @mariarampell • ??: @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #PicoIsland #SymmetricalMonsters #Portugal #AccidentalWesAnderson #Azores
Wally and Amanda are here to remedy that. New photos have already been added to the feed, including the pastel-pink Casa Rosada and the identical-twin turrets of the Basílica of Our Lady Luján.
In addition to its wealth of architectural marvels, however, Buenos Aires is also known for its friendly, open people; it was this which eventually drew the couple back to the city. For them, local knowledge is essential to explore a place properly. “It’s only through finding the hidden gems, its side streets and quirky details, can you truly get to know somewhere,” says Wally.
And indeed, since posting an Instagram story a few days ago, they’ve received thousands of welcome messages, recommendations, and insiders’ tips for the best ways to wander the streets of Buenos Aires.
_________________________ Campo Argentino del Polo| Buenos Aires, Argentina | c. 1928 • • The Campo Argentino del Polo (Argentine Polo Ground), popularly known as The Cathedral of Polo, is a multi-purpose stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is currently used mostly for polo, pato and field hockey matches • • Located in the Palermo neighborhood, this unique polo field is home to the “Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo” he most important polo event in the world, held there since 1928 – the year the stadium opened • • The stadium was erected on the same land where Sociedad Sportiva Argentina stadium had been located since its establishment in 1899 until its expropriation from the Government of Argentina in 1914, when the National Army took over the stadium after the second period of 5 years (counting from 1909) came to an end • • After taking the lands, the Army built two polo fields (known as "canchas 1 y 2") and the Campo Argentino was officially inaugurated on October 27, 1928, with a match between civil and military teams (named "Civiles" and "Militares" respectively) – The Army has rented the stadium to the Argentine Polo Association since then • • The stadium holds 30,000 people and has been home to many famous Polo competitions as well as large music concerts. It remains in regular use today • • Know more? Please comment below! • • ?: @jeropokle • ?: @urbanosaires • ??: @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #SymmetricalMonsters #AccidentalWesAnderson #Palermo #BuenosAires #Argentina
Having such a crammed inbox is, by now, nothing out of the ordinary for Accidentally Wes Anderson. A few months into the creation of the account, Wally and Amanda had to buy a separate phone to manage the sheer amount of activity it generated. They both have day jobs, and when I ask whether managing AWA ever feels like a full-time occupation, the response is a synchronized, resounding “yes.”
And yet, they strive to respond to as many messages, comments, and emails as they can. Every spare moment, outside of the few hours a day dedicated specifically to working on the account, is spent scrolling and reading through fans’ responses.
During the first few weeks after Wally set up the account, Amanda was unconvinced. “In the beginning, I would just be screaming at him, ‘Would you just get off your phone for one second?!'” But, as she got more and more invested in the account, responding to people became the priority: “It’s the people that really make it for us. We want to make their day.”
These messages are not just in the form of comments and feedback, of course, but also include hundreds of submissions. The Instagram feed is made up of a “complete balance between professional photographs and amazing smartphone shots” taken by amateur fans.
The inspiration for the account came to Wally through a Reddit thread, where users would post pictures of places that would not look out of place in a typical Wes Anderson mise en scène. But, whereas “Reddit is small pond, Instagram is a sea of content.” Searching through hashtags that might present some Anderson-friendly content (#emptyseats opens up a whole world of Wes-esque posts we would have never thought to search for), they “fell down a rabbit hole” of undiscovered content which went hand-in-hand with the director’s quirky, deadpan, atmospheric shots.
_________________________ S-Bahn Train | Berlin, Germany | 1930 • • The Berlin S-Bahn is a rapid transit railway system in and around Berlin that has been in operation under this name since December 1930 having been previously called the special tariff area Berliner Stadt-, Ring- und Vorortbahnen (Berlin city, orbital, and suburban railways) • • With individual sections dating from the 1870s, the S-Bahn was formed in time as the network of suburban commuter railways running into Berlin • • The core of this network, that is the cross-city ("Stadtbahn") East-West line and the circular Ringbahn were converted from steam operation to a third-rail electric railway in the latter half of the 1920s with a number of suburban trains remaining steam-hauled, even after the Second World War • • Before the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Berlin S-Bahn had grown to about 335 kilometers. However, August 13 1961 – the building of the Berlin Wall – was the biggest turning point in the operation and network for the S-Bahn • • While services continued operating through all occupation sectors, checkpoints were constructed on the borders with East Berlin and on-board "customs checks" were carried out on trains. East German government employees were even forbidden to use the S-Bahn since it travelled through West Berlin • • The construction of the Berlin Wall led to West Berlin calling for the unions and politicians to boycott the S-Bahn. Subsequently, passenger numbers fell • • After the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, the first broken links were re-established, with Friedrichstraße on July 1st 1990. The BVG and DR jointly marketed the services soon after the reunification • • It wasn’t until June 2002 that the Gesundbrunnen – Westhafen section also reopened, re-establishing the Ringbahn operations and fully restoring the former S-Bahn network to its 1961 status • • Know more? Please comment below! • ?: @sivad_ekim • ??: @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #SymmetricalMonsters #Berlin #AccidentalWesAnderson #Germany
A common problem with social media, however, is that pictures circulate without the appropriate credit being attributed to the person who took them. And for Wally, another drawback to the Reddit thread was that there was no way to delve deeper into the background of these locations. He often found himself wondering not only who took the photographs he came across, but where were they taken.
It was for this reason that they started researching more thoroughly into the history behind each building that they post about on their account. “I’m the best Googler around!” Wally claims. His fiancé admits, “It’s true. He is.” Through tireless online researching, Wally finds out about the who, where, and why, the “hidden narratives” of the chosen photographs.
This piecing together of quirky facts and trivia ensures that the the pictures are not only pleasing to the eye, but also full of meaning. It’s a careful balancing act between style and substance: they have hundreds of posts lined up, and thousand more submissions in the pipeline, but what guides them when choosing the next post is keeping in mind the art of curating an organized feed that’s easy on the eye. Individual posts need to be beautiful but, “when you zoom out, the feed needs to look like a mosaic of pretty pictures.” They work according to a color scheme, and make sure to evenly spread posts according to certain aspects, such as the location or the type of building to avoid repetition.
_________________________ Ahrensburg Palace | Ahrensburg, Germany | c. 1585 • • Schloss Ahrensburg is a former mansion and is today referred to as a Schloss or Palace. It is located in Ahrensburg in southern Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, not far from the city of Hamburg • • The original structure on the island in the artificial pond/moat was built in 1585 at the initiative of Peter Rantzau and even at that time, the moat only served artistic rather than defensive purposes • • Ahrensburg was a representative of the short-lived Mehrfachhaus-type of Renaissance mansion, in which a rectangular building was doubled or tripled. As this type had architectural disadvantages it was soon replaced by others – the four corner turrets were not part of the original design but added only later during construction • • Ahrensburg remained with the Rantzau family for seven generations until they were forced to sell it in 1759 when it was purchased by Heinrich Carl von Schimmelmann. He was a merchant from Hamburg who transformed the local economy, the appearance of the nearby village, and the interior of the castle, turning it into a late-Baroque court • • From 1759 to 1778, Ahrensburg served as Schimmelmann's summer residence and remained his family's main seat in the 19th century until the Great Depression affected the Schimmelmann family and they were forced to sell the castle in 1932 • • The Verein Schloss Ahrensburg e.V., supported by the state, the local savings bank and the town of Ahrensburg, took over maintaining the property. The castle museum opened in 1938 • • The castle and its museum are open to the public. It can be rented for weddings and hosts concerts and children's events • • Know more? Please comment below! • • ?: @frau_elbville • ??: @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #Hamburg #SymmetricalMonsters #Ahrensburg #AccidentalWesAnderson #Germany
Normally, then, they wouldn’t post three pictures of the same city in a row. But the recent Buenos Aires hat-trick is an exception. This is the first time the couple has embarked on a trip with the aim of taking their followers on a kind of virtual tour of the city.
AWA is in fact as much about travel as it is about the Wes aesthetic. It’s an account focused on travel, design, and architecture, all linked by a certain Andersonian appearance. By popular demand, they are now planning on developing their website so that it might feature an archive of AWA posts organized by location, which people could use as a kind of travel guide.
While they do showcase some of the more obvious contenders (the Casa Rosada, for example, is a dead-ringer for The Grand Budapest Hotel), the couple have a special affection for places which are a little more off the beaten track. They love to highlight the unnoticed beauty of places that don’t get a whole lot of attention, from tiny B&Bs to little-known landmarks in the middle of nowhere. While trying not to think about the account’s dizzying amount of followers, they do hope that it might encourage people to look at the world around them with fresh eyes, and maybe go out and explore it a bit more.
#AccidentalWesAnderson Private Residence | Saksun, Faroe Islands | c. ~1810 • • Saksun is a village with a population of 15 inhabitants near the northwest coast of the remote Faroese island of Streymoy • • The 18 Faroe Islands are a territory of Denmark with a combined 600 miles of roads, a total population of 49,000 inhabitants and 70,000 sheep • • Saksun lies in the bottom of what used to be an inlet of the sea, surrounded by high mountains. The inlet formed a deep natural harbour, until a storm blocked it with sand in the 1600s. The old harbour became a seawater lagoon, only accessible by small boats at high tide • • There is a church in the village as well, but it did not always reside there. Originally it was located in Tjørnuvík – a long walk over the high mountains to the north, so in 1858 the residents disassembled the church, carried it over the mountains and reassembled it in Saksun. It was renamed Saksunar Kirkja (Church of Saksun) • • The turf roofs seem here are traditional style that was used to provide protection from the rain as well as thermal insulation. They have become a symbol for the region and are utilized on newer homes throughout the islands as well • • Know more? Please comment below! • • ?: @hollieharm • ?: @unsplash • ??: @wikipedia + @thenordique • • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #Denmark #SymmetricalMonsters #FaroeIslands #Saksun #Streymoy
At the end of the day, however, they only post pictures that they feel passionate about. “If we wake up in the morning and we’re not pumped to post it, we wont do it. We’ll pick one that does make us feel that way.” This passion certainly shines through, and is perhaps why their community of fans is not only growing so rapidly, but respond so positively to their posts. “We rarely get unwanted attention from trolls. People tend to reach out to us to say how much they connected with a place we’ve posted about, how glad they are to see it featured. And when they do, it makes us so happy I could cry about it.”
_________________________ Úlfljótsvatn Church | Úlfljótsvatn, Iceland | c. 1914 • • Úlfljótsvatn Church is located on Úlfljótur's Lake or Ugly Wolf Lake in southern Iceland just to the south of lake Þingvallavatn and approximately 45 miles (74km) east of Reykjavík • • Belonging to the Mosfell benefice of the Arnes deanery, the church was built in 1914 on the same spot as the ancient churches – on a headland entering the western part of Lake Ulfljotsvatn • • The relatively small wooden structure’s proportionally large steeple was added in 1924 • • The catholic churches here were dedicated to Holy Mary Mother of Christ and were annexed to the church in the parliamentary plains, Thingvellir. Now the church is served by the Reverend at Mosfell in the Grimsnes County • • Between 1929-33 the Reykjavik Energy Authority purchased the lake and the property surrounding Ulfljotsvatn – about 1400 hectares – to acquire the water rights for the power stations on Sog River • • The lake and the surrounding area is named after Úlfljótur, an important man who was involved in the Icelandic Parliament – Althingi – in 930 • • Know more? Please comment below! • • ?: @me_and_mango • ??: @wikipedia • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vsco #Iceland #SymmetricalMonsters #Úlfljótsvatn #AccidentalWesAnderson
On a platform infamous for inciting negativity, jealousy and unhealthy competitiveness, Accidentally Wes Anderson is not just refreshing for its clean, pastel-hued, perfectly symmetrical snapshots, but for the fact that it is an Instagram account dedicated to bringing people hope. And, of course, a little bit of wanderlust.