Interior Design has an interview with Mad Men creator Matt Weiner about their award winning sets, and how the nature and timing of his own upbringing informs his passion for getting all of the details just right:
"I was born in 1965 and lived in Baltimore until I was 11. Then we moved to L.A., where there was a big ’50’s revival going on. And I love the fact that my parents were bourgeois. My father was the first person in his family to go to college. Same with my mom. They filled our house with Milton Glaser posters from MoMA, made sure I heard great music and saw movies like The Maltese Falcon. The first season of Mad Men takes place in 1960, when it was part of American culture to be educated, to be cultured, to be intellectual, to have taste."
The article includes an accompanying slideshow of over 30 images on the set of the show. I particularly appreciate the images that point our focus to the many perspectives and details that can be easily overlooked (or that are never really shown to us) while watching the show. 1
Another cool reveal in the slideshow is the way that the scenic externals of Manhattan (and the Hollywood Hills) are handled. The incredible backdrops that we get glimpses of from inside SC&P are an element of watching Mad Men that I've always enjoyed.
The design and execution of these sets offers a little dose of irony to Mad Men viewers: this show that has deeply connected us to such intensely flawed characters has one predominant character that is, in it's own sneaky way, absolutely flawless. ◉
The Saarinen standing ashtray and accordian-door phone booth are good examples. ↩