After seven seasons, the prolific AMC drama bids farewell. Its era of the three-martini lunch, rise of TV commercials and political-cultural explosion of the '60s was the perfect time capsule and a midcentury modern design heaven.

Let's revisit some of the award-winning sets and the design concepts behind them:

The Biltmore Estate
Photography by Eric Laignel

The set for the New York apartment of Don and Megan Draper is a penthouse on Park Avenue. “The white carpeting Megan wanted is not something you can really live with, which again tells a story about her character,” explains Creative Director, Matthew Weiner.

The Biltmore Estate
Photography by Eric Laignel

This set features a custom Florence Knoll–style sofa with a matching chair anchor in the account-executive lounge at the agency. In every picture of an office from 1930 on, the wires are traditionally cut off every lamp, because it was unsightly. Weiner would tell the set-design team, “Put the wires on!” But right away they would ask, "Why is there all that ugly stuff hanging off the desks?" "Because that’s how it would really be."


Weiner explains how intricate details such as wires transform a fake environment into a cinematic experience that feels real. All the clutter you see reflects the characters, which is quintessentially mid-century Knoll, Herman Miller, and Steelcase.


The Biltmore Estate
Photography by Eric Laignel

Bishop was always designing dramatic spaces, like the office staircase, which is actually two sets, one for up and one for down. The design from spacial architecture to furniture has made us modernists again, reminding us that good design isn’t just about passing fancies of form and color --it is about solving our collective problems.

The Biltmore Estate
Jaime Trueblood/AMC

It’s impossible to determine cause-and-effect in cases like this, but the data suggests that modernist design has become more desirable since “Mad Men” debuted in 2007 with reports that sales of classic products increased by 60 percent in North America over the past seven years. Design plays a bigger part on the series than it’s ever played on another drama. Television is more central to American life than ever before, shaping our tastes and lifestyle.


View more midcentury design in the Monhoff Renovation

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