Stunning photos of the building that inspired the ‘Squid Game’ set

Photographer Dimitar Karanikolov visited and captured “La Muralla Roja”, a unique building that probably inspired the set design for the popular Netflix TV series “Squid Game”.

Cult TV Show borrows architectural elements

While Karanikolov works as an architect for his company Meshroom, his passion is photography, especially aerial photography. His latest personal project, capturing “La Muralla Roja”, combines his two interests – photography and architecture.

La Muralla Roja

The building is a postmodern apartment complex in Calpe, Spain, designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill in 1968 and fully constructed in 1973. As an architect, Karanikolov is familiar with Bofill’s work, “La Muralla Roja” being his favorite by far.

La Muralla Roja

Although the building is one of the most photographed in Europe, it was Netflix’s hit TV series “Squid Game” that introduced it to an even wider audience. The popular drama features a building that resembles “La Muralla Roja” with its bright colors, endless staircases, and multiple levels.

La Muralla Roja
Karanikolov cut out the background to emphasize how the building looks like a video game or an MC Escher illustration

Karanikolov also points out that the popular video game “Monument Valley” also borrowed elements from the iconic building.

Explore the mind-blowing apartment complex

Unfortunately for anyone wishing to visit the iconic building, it is private and has no public access. In order for Karanikolov to photograph him, he had to book an Airbnb apartment inside the complex.

“You need special permission to use it as a location for a movie photoshoot ad,” Karanikolov said. PetaPixel. “As I’m not a professional photographer and this is not a commercial project, I didn’t need permission.”

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Visiting “La Muralla Roja” was the main goal of his trip to Spain, and something he had been meaning to do for a long time.

“We were ‘very close’, traveling to Morocco, and decided to hop on a plane from Marrakech to Alicante, so we could finally see the magical ‘Muralla Roja’,” he explains. “We first spent time exploring the space and looking for beautiful viewpoints, then returned early in the morning and again in the evening when the light was more appropriate.”

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The model in his photos is Karanikolov’s girlfriend, Milena Yordanova. The couple didn’t have a particular concept in mind, other than having fun walking around “this wonderful piece of architecture and taking pictures.” However, while Yordanova creates handmade fedora hats, she wore one every time.

For someone who has worked with buildings for years, this “mind-blowing” apartment complex was one of the most memorable spaces Karanikolov has visited.

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“Think of it as a giant, postmodern, inhabited sculpture,” he explains. “You can spend hours wandering its many exterior stairways, floors, terraces and tunnels, each step of the journey revealing a unique and surreal vantage point you’ll want to take a picture of.”

“I can’t recommend visiting this place high enough, if you are interested in architecture or photography,” he continues. “The resort was completely empty most of the time – a photographer’s dream!”

Other works by Karanikolov can be found on his Instagram account, his print shop and his Behance profile.


Picture credits: Photos by Dimitar Karanikolov.

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