The movie sets of TV and film productions like “Mad Men” (2007), “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020), “White Lines” (2020) or “Don’t Worry Darling” (2022) all have one thing in common: a central focus on architecture and furniture in the style of the mid-century modern period. When Matthew Weiner, director of the TV series “Mad Men”, first finished his script in 1999, mid-century modern furniture was not really trending at that time – not to say it was kind of “out”. However, things changed when Weiner together with production designer Dan Bishop and set decorator Claudette Didul created the mid-century modern production design down to the most intricate detail. Dan Bishop was responsible for the ground-up spaces and Claudette Didul oversaw all other decorative details that brought the set to life and closer together with the audience. In the series, you can see that the East Coast mid-century modern design is prevalent.
In today’s multimedia world, where films feature minimalist, urban and modern furniture, “The Queen’s Gambit” stands out proudly. It shows stunning vintage furniture covered in colourful patterns and framed by lush fabrics, thanks to production designer Uli Hanish. His mission was to create a truthful, inspiring vintage working environment for his co-workers. For Uli Hanisch it was important that the film setting for the home of the main character (Alma) was created to reflect her personality. You can see this very well, for example, in the entrance of the house. Due to Alma’s rather withdrawn and lonely persona, Hanisch left the the entrace setting empty and cold.
If you have ever watched “The Queens Gambit” you are probably familiar with the Panorama Bar of the Kino International in Berlin. The cinema was opened back in 1965 and Josef Kaiser was the mastermind behind the architectural concept. Kaiser based his design on the style of the early 1950s and later tried to catch up with the developments of West Berlin.
Set in Spain and the UK, the crime drama “White Lines” centers on a mix of drugs, danger, stunning landscapes and an eclectic selection of contemporary as well as mid-century modern furniture that decorates the main character’s Ibiza apartment. If you have ever watched “White Lines”, you probably spotted a Djinn chair and Djinn sofa by Olivier Mourgue or a Wassily lounge chair by Marcel Breuer. On top of it, “White Lines” features a Togo sofa set designed by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset – similar to our two-seater Togo sofa and corner sets.
The Togo sofa appears to be the perfect choice for the protagonist (Boxer) since it was designed for a carefree way of life. Ever since its launch in the early seventies, the Togo sofa has been an absolute timeless best-seller.
However, the main design star of the movie “Don’t Worry Darling” appears to be Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann desert villa. Located in Palm Springs, the Kaufmann villa was designed in 1946 and commissioned by businessman Edgar J. Kaufmann. While the Kaufmann villa was not the first building to be designed in a sleek and international mid-century modern style, Neutra pushed the limits of architecture by using Utah stone, glass walls and an open-air room named the “Gloriette”.
When looking at the sets of recent film and TV productions such as “Mad Men”, “The Queen’s Gambit”, “White Lines” or “Don’t Worry Darling”, mid-century modern architecture and furniture has clearly played a central part – moving from relative obscurity into the spotlight of today’s aesthetic trends.