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Interior Design Lessons from the Insane Sets of Mad Men

Here's a fascinating close-up of Mad Men and its award-winning set design.

Mad Men is famous for its award-winning production design, and since the show takes place primarily indoors over the course of the 1960s, it's been fascinating to see how those mid-century spaces have changed over seven turbulent seasons. Still, we haven't had an up-close look at those interiors—and the details that help sell the story—until now.

Mad Men executive producer Matthew Weiner invited Interior Design magazine editor Cindy Allen to tour several of the show's most familiar sets, including Don Draper’s Manhattan apartment and SC&P's offices. She was the first journalist allowed full access to these L.A. sound stages, and the resultant photos show just how much care goes into the design, construction and decoration of each Mad Men set.

Image via Eric Laignel/Interior Design

In the Q&A, Allen asked Weiner how his design team breathes life into each set. His response:

I’m working in a completely fake environment where we control everything. How do we make this feel like it’s real? In every picture of an office from 1930 on, the wires are cut off every lamp, because they look terrible. I tell the set-design team, “Put the wires on!” Right away, something happens. Why is there all that ugly stuff hanging off the desks? Because that’s how it would really be. It’s just as important for me to show a character’s open desk drawer with a half roll of Life Savers, with the paper rolled back, as it is to find the perfect dining table.

Be sure to check out the whole slideshow and Q&A.

Images via Eric Laignel/Interior Design

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