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Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Our Top Five Favorite Mad Men Design Moments


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Now that Don Draper finally nailed the ultimate account and Mad Men has disappeared into 1970 forever, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing all over again on Netflix. There were so many fantastic moments of graphic design, fashion design, even hair design (and some not-so-good ones, those ’70s staches and sideburns were not doing the characters any favors). But most of all, I loved to watch Mad Men for the spot-on 1960s set design.

There are too many to count; with all that Eames, Saarinen and other mid-century icons lurking everywhere. Here are some of the highlights:

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What does this guy need an office for? No actual business ever happened here, except for a fake phone call to Lee Gardner over at Lucky Strike weeks after Roger had lost the account.

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1) The best moment to me was when Jane Sterling hired a decorator to redecorate Roger’s office, the spot where he dictated that not-so-bestselling Sterling’s Gold. A tulip table, a CJ Corona chair, op art and more iconic items in a black and white palette. I mean, check out that phone!


“A modern Chinoiserie breakfront, a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, silk Dupioni drapes, Murano vases, and a classic Drexel end table.” — Betty Draper’s decorator


2) Betty redecorates the living room. Betty hires a decorator that gives her sharp Hollywood Regency style for her living room. Don walks in and moves a lamp around to make it perfect. Then Betty buys a very symbolic fainting couch that messes the whole look up. It’s so appropriate because the poor woman is trapped in an era that squeezes her like a Victorian corset.


3) Betty goes to get analyzed. Has there ever been a sadder woman on a Barcelona daybed? And did analysts really call husbands to give them the rundown after the wife’s appointment? That was crazy. Anyway, this image is fun to compare and contrast with the fainting couch one above it.


4) Don flies to sunny L.A. and winds up hanging out with a bunch of European tax evaders in “The Jet Set” episode. According to Curbed, this house is The Fox House, an abode Sinatra rented for 10 years. If that’s not a ringing endorsement that it’s classic California modern, I don’t know what is. The set designers and art director captured that clean white, glass and that unique California cool.


Bert Cooper’s Japanese-inspired office. No shoes allowed in here. The arrival of new art was always exciting and gave us insight into Bert’s character and tastes. A new Rothko had everyone in the office a tizzy, a Pollack was behind his head during the moon landing, but the best was the sex octopus:

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But the best sex octopus moment was this vision of Peggy Olson, completely transformed, strolling into McCann-Erickson unrecognizable from the young secretary we’d met a decade earlier.


What was your favorite Mad Men design moment? Please share it with us!


Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Modern Trends in Office Space


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There’s nothing like a 3-day weekend to give you “a case of the Mondays” on a Tuesday. This got me thinking about office design, especially in the first and second tech booms. It became the opposite of the iconic cubicle culture where workers at Initech slaved away on the Y2K problem and TPS reports in Office Space. All of the sudden, offices were known for wandering masseuses, beanbag chairs and Foosball tables. Here are a few standouts from the next iteration of office design:

photos by Iwan Baan

These are Selagas Cano’s sunken glass offices in Madrid. The image of this office has stuck with me since I first saw it over on Inhabitat a year ago. It is oriented to make the most of natural light and woodsy view, though it must have a fishbowl feeling.

Over at creative agency Razorfish, they’ve banned any elements that remotely resemble the Initech cubicle culture. Instead, all workstations are flexible and impermanent, and comfortable seating for meeting and getting a change of scene are placed throughout the open office. They used a lot of modern and contemporary Vitra products to outfit the office. Read more about these offices over at Stylepark.

I’m having deja blog, as I think I’ve blogged about Airnb’s offices before, but it’s just so darn clever the way they’ve looked to their rental listings for design inspiration. Below, one is based upon a SoHo apartment and another is based on a Mushroom Cabin in Aptos, California. It’s a great excuse to bring in a wide range of design styles that will spark conversation and attract new recruits in the ultra-competitive startup arena. Go on the complete tour over at Business Insider.

My favorite is still Roger Sterling’s black and white mid-century modern office in the Time Life Building on Mad Men, fictionally designed by his super-stylish wife Jane.

photo property of AMC

What kind of office space works best for you? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Modern Day Mad Men Offices


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Lindsey and I were so inspired by the new offices at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce that we decided to throw together a few collages with products that are available new today that capture the feeling of Madison Avenue in 1965.

Modern Roger Sterling Office

Modern Roger Sterling Office by thebubbreport on

The office above is inspired by the office that Jane Sterling decorated for her husband Roger. We love the palette of black, white, metal and mirror. The Heather Lins Conversation Pieces Pillow is a perfect addition for these guys who play with words all day:


Friday, August 13th, 2010

Mad Men Auction on eBay!


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Why did I not hear about this until I received my People mag in the mail today? There is a Mad Men auction happening on eBay, that includes lamps, desks, sofas and chairs from the old Sterling Cooper office sets! Proceeds will go to City of Hope. As this goes to post, there are over nine days left in the ten day auctions.


Monday, July 26th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Mad Men’s New Digs


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I am so excited to see Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s new digs in the Time Life building. Apparently there is a non-existent second floor, and they have The Emporer’s New Conference Table. The set designers on this episode are so genius. I’ve been all over today looking for videos about the new sets but so far I’ve come up with nothing, but they are great about feeding us tidbits about their process so I feel hopeful there will be some good videos about the sets there soon.

There were many nuances in the set design. Betty, who now has a new husband in her bed, has tossed out the peacock blue velvet upholstered headboard for something more traditional (along with all of her fifties nipped-at-the-waist frocks for frumpier roomy suits and a double strand of oversized pearls). Don has moved into a depressing, pre-furnished, divorced dad apartment in the city (above), complete with bunk beds for overnights with the kids. It has absolutely no feeling of home, unlike his old house in the ‘burbs.

The most exciting thing about the episode were the shiny new offices of the new firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Some of the artwork has evolved, their are shell chairs and Saarinen everywhere, and everything looks just a little bit more modern than the old firm. I can’t wait to see Cooper’s office and accompanying artwork, which they did not reveal last night. Doesn’t this area look like something that could exist in some hip start up? I love the detail of the Lanvin shoe on the inspiration board on the right.Oh wait, you can’t see it in this shot, but you can in the one below it:

Roger Sterling’s white office is my favorite. Complete with tulip table, I’m blanking on what that white lamp is called (please help me in the comments section! Thanks CapreeK “Nesso Table Lamp by Giancarlo Mattioli for Artemide”), white mirrored console, graphic black and white curtains and black and white painting. Check out the chrome table lamp and coat rack!

Breaking through more glass ceilings, Joan now has her own office. She’s kept it more traditional:

Still no conference table – it will be funny to see how that works out:

Finally, Don’s office hasn’t changed much. He still likes his mid-century modern dark woods, though it’s lightened up a bit. The spirits are still the most important part of the office:

Did you watch? What was your favorite part of the set design (or the show, I’m always happy to dish about this show!).

all images from