I am always fascinated by the art style of the scenes in and around the derelict houses in the Matrix movies.

I know that in the computer game Kingpin, the surroundings look similar.

Is there a name for this style?

  • 3
    Can you add some pictures so we know what you're talking about?
    – Wad Cheber
    May 27, 2016 at 6:40
  • 2
    The only similarity I can see between Kingpin and the Matrix safehouses is that they're both run down urban environments. I'm not aware of a name for it besides "reality".
    – Wad Cheber
    May 27, 2016 at 6:56
  • 1
    Urban realism....
    – Adamant
    May 27, 2016 at 7:03
  • 3
    Urban decay would be my guess, but it really is just what American cities look like.
    – Wad Cheber
    May 27, 2016 at 7:06
  • 1
    @WadCheber i'll add pictures when back at home. I have a friend that studies architecture, i'll try to get a quote from him. May 27, 2016 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


The film's production designer describes these sets as "distressed" and "dilapidated".

TheMatrix.com: It is impressive that they look aged.

Owen: Yes, that is a cross over into various areas of the department. Peter Collias, the scenic artist, was pulled in to age a lot of this stuff. With these sets we have a fortunate mix between contemporary society, which is the glass and steel of the Matrix world, and the world where the city has moved on, which the computer is ignoring because it is irrelevant to this particular time frame in the Matrix. It has a more dilapidated look, an aged look with rust and peeling wallpaper. For a lot of our sets, like in the Lafayette Hotel, we have had the opportunity to be able to distress the walls, carpets and curtains so that everything within them feels like a rotting, wet, urban, repulsive, maggotry.


What you're likely after is a sort of stylized urban decay, particularly with American urban architecture from the 1920s-40s, commonly found in big cities like New York or Chicago.

With the game Kingpin: Life of Crime, the art style was heavily influenced by the Art Deco style which was also popular between the 1920s-40's.

The Matrix doesn't have the Art Deco stylings, but it certainly shares in the urban decay characteristics due to its cyberpunk nature.

You can find similar examples of this stylized urban decay in movies like The Crow, The City of Lost Children, Dark City, Constantine and games like Max Payne 1 & 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. For more Art Deco, check out Bioshock and Grim Fandango.

Fun Fact: the art director of Kingpin was Viktor Antonov who was also the art director for Half-Life 2 and Dishonored, so you may notice some similarities in the mixes of the alternative tech in these games as well as it being difficult to tell exactly what time/era they're supposed to take place.

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