Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The sets are far from ugly...Ugly Betty that is

While I know this is not cinema related, every now and then we get major inspiration from the flat panel on our wall. Such is the case of the set design for the hit ABC television show Ugly Betty...a show that is far from the word ugly.

Interior Design magazine just published a beautiful spread on the contemporary...or shall I say futuristic....designs for the combo comedy/drama that revolves around an unattractive young girl with signature braces who finds herself a job at the ultra chic fashion rag Mode. Apparently the edict for the designs were simple -- use an I-pod as a starting point.

Designed by production designer Mark Worthington (who gave us the great sets for Legally Blonde: Red, White and Blue) and music video designer Richard Devine as set decorator, the sets give us a heightened reality transporting us into a glam world filled with all sorts of ultra contemporary nods -- Eero Saarinen, mod sixties, 2001 Space Odyssey with a touch of "Dorothy Draper, Helmut Newton and Marcel Wanders." High gloss, bright colors and furnishings filled with everything from Z Gallerie and Crate and Barrel to Knoll, Artemide and McGuire furniture abound. The surroundings are colorful, forward thinking and above all, fun.

For more on author Bob Morris' article in the November issue of Interior Design, click here. Bravo for a terrific piece!!!

Perhaps my favorite set is the Dorothy Draper inspired room. Note the octagonal touches on the panels mixed with the circular (a recurring theme) tufted sofa by Mariette Himes Gomez and Laura Kirar chairs on a chocolate brown carpet.
Circles on mirrored glass accent the console table

Does it get any more 2001: Space Odyssey than this? You can easily tell by the circular themes and clean high gloss surfaces of the entrance that more futuristic designs await.

White gloss egg chairs and Todd Bracher desk on an Hermes orange area rug become a focal point for the co-editor's office.

Orange accents for Betty's office

Custom semi-circular shaped desk in conference room, orange used once again as an accent
Lavender custom chairs were designed by the production team

Phillipe Starck and Milo Baughman chairs and a Florence Knoll desk grace the private office of the managing editor.

Crocodile embossed wing type chairs (similar to those Kelly Wearstler installed in Bergdorf's restaurant) anchor the set's dining room

Wearstler's chairs in the lounge of the cafe at Bergdorf Goodman

Photo credits: Interior Design/Eric Laignel, Kwid Designs


  1. I DVR this show every week JUST for the sets....well, the fashion can be great too! There are a few DOXA Home pieces used as well;) Running out to pick up this month's issue of Interior Design right now, thanks for the post.

    Btw, Gossip Girl has great sets as well and they too use a few pieces from DOXA Home.

    All the best,

  2. Thanks for the comment and your website is beautiful by the way -
    I will check out Gossip Girls. One of the best sets on TV was Dirty Sexy Money. I visited the set at ABC a week before it was cancelled and made me sick at the thought of their demise. Plus it was a good show!!

  3. These are beautiful rooms! Love the croc chairs.

    I agree that Gossip Girl also has great sets.

  4. I will definitely check out Gossip Girl!

  5. Aw thanks Cathy, much appreciated, especially coming from a tastemaker such as yourself;)

    I have never seen Dirty Sexy Money but may have to see if there are DVD's available. I am forwarding this post to Laura at Hickory Chair as several of their pieces are used on the Ugly Betty set as well, http://www.madebyhickorychair.com/2009/12/ugly-betty-wilhelminas-apartment-in-interior-design-magazine.html

    Thanks Cathy, Happy holidays!


  6. How funny! Yesterday on www.madebyhickorychair.com Ugly Betty was the feature story with the Hickory Chair pieces that appear on the various sets. The Dee Sofa by Mariette Himes Gomez in fine silk sets off Wilhemina's apartment!

  7. Thanks Jaime. I know Laura at Hickory Chair and many of there wonderful pieces can be found on some very glamorous film and tv sets. Ho ho ho to you too!

  8. Loved it! It was pretty darned similar to "The Devil Wears Prada", but I think it's more authentic because Anne Hathaway was never all that frumpy before her big "makeover." Betty is an awesome lead character, and I think Eric Mabius as her boss finally has a role which will allow him to shine. I Watch Ugly Betty online .Perhaps Gina Gershon is a little over the top, but the rest of the cast is grea

  9. I believe the lavender "custom" chairs are actually Verner Panton "Heart Cone" chairs. Available from Vitra.