24July2014

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Mad Men Retro Revival - The Space Age effect

The Sixties are often characterized as an era of new adventure. The new frontier of outer space captured the imaginations of not only scientists and engineers but the general public. The 'Race to Space' between the U.S.A and Russia exercised considerable influence on contemporary design. Architects found inspiration in the sleek shapes of rockets, space ships and stars while advances in technology enabled designers to use new materials in producing furnishings for the home.

Image courtesy of AMC studios- Rogers Sterling's ultra modern office interior

Roger Sterling's all white ultra-modern office in Season 4 is clearly influenced by this movement. The palette is a combination of black, white, mirror, chrome and plastic. The varying levels of sheen created by these man-made materials prevent the palette from being entirely monochromatic. In contrast to earlier seasons, the space is minimal, filled with futuristic furniture and cleverly echoes Roger's desperation to stay relevant within the advertising agency.

The office is filled with mid-century iconic pieces including the Eames 'Time-Life’ executive desk chair and the classic curved chrome Arco floor lamp. The lamp with marble base was originally created in 1962 and is a popular design feature in any modern interior schemes.

Most notable is the work of Architect Eero Saarinen. His futuristic designs are repeated throughout the space and include the marble-topped table with trumpet base, the low oval coffee table and tulip stools. The sleek futuristic shapes created by these pieces have a very 'space age' appearance. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Saarinen's iconic tulip chair became the design inspiration for the seating seen in the original series of the Star Trek enterprise.

Image courtesy of AMC studios- Eero Saarinen low oval coffee table and tulip stools in the office lounge.

Advances in technology inspired designers to experiment with exciting new materials, such as plastics and led to the creation of new accessories in fluid shapes and vivid colors. One of the most striking accessories in the Roger's office is the ‘Nesso’, a mushroom-shaped plastic desk lamp, created in 1962 by Artemide. The Nesso is also available in orange which gives a vibrant retro glow to any space.

Image courtesy of AMC studios - Paul Volther Corona Chair

Other key pieces include the Eames Compact sofa by Herman Miller and a replica of the Le Corbusier chaise. The classic Paul Volther Corona Chair completes the retro space age look. The shape conjures up the image of a horizontal space rocket, suspended on thin chrome legs.

One of the most striking pieces in the office is the black and white op art which references the style of Op artist Bridget Riley. These pieces were created by the Mad Men art department under the supervision of production designer Dan Bishop. Other elements include a mirrored console, graphic black and white curtains and chrome table lamp and coat rack.

To get this space age modernist look, be inspired by other iconic pieces from the period including the Eero Aarnio Bubble Chair (1968) or the iconic astro/lava lamp (1963) or take at the selected items mentioned below.

(above: 1. nesso lamp by artemide created by Giancarlo Mattioli (1965); 2. ericofon or cobra telephone created by ecricsson (late 1940’s); 3. arc floor lamp created by achille and giacomo castiglioni (1962); 4. op art prints by bridget riley (late 1950’s); 5. charles eames executive ‘time-life’ chair created in 1959; 6. eero saarinen tulip pedestal table designed in 1956; 7. eero saarinen tulip stool with orange cushion created in 1956; 8. le corbusier chaise lounge (1928); 9. dna art black on white by micheal thompsett castellon www.imagekind.com; 10. mushroom table lamp available in both black and white available from www.ikea.com; 11. adesso marble coat stand available from www.adessohome.com; 12. corina cushion available from www.countryroad.com.au ; 13. kulla floor lamp available from www.ikea.com; 14. lucky strike poster; 15. white marble top side table available from www.conranshop.co.uk; 16. tirup white leather chair available from www.ikea.com; 17. stainless steel mid century coat hanger available from www.adessohome.com; 18. black wooden floor (as a possible floor choice); 19 karlstad black leather sofa available from www.ikea.com; 20. tofteryd coffee available from www.ikea.com; 21. black and white Stockholm rand rug available from www.ikea.com; 21. adesso cosmo bar cart available from www.adessohome.com )

 

 

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