Creator Matthew Weiner Discusses The Award-Winning Sets of ‘Mad Men’

Mad Men Office Set

Interior Design sat down with Mad Men series creator Matthew Weiner to discuss the brilliant use of the award-winning set design, which came to be as integral to the story as the principal actors.

Everyone is not just fetishistic about detail but also always concerned with storytelling. Everything is story. All the clutter you see reflects the characters. What’s revolutionary is that all the sets connect. For example, the Sterling Cooper office is some version of the Drapers’ apartment, which is quintessentially mid-century Knoll, Herman Miller, Steelcase…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.

Conference Room

Don NYC Apt

Bert Cooper's Office

LA Office

Secretarial Desks

Reception Area

California Balcony


images by Eric Laignel via Interior Design