Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mad Men + Sex and the City = Alexandria?

As a semi-new NOVA (Northern Virginia) resident + a huge Mad Men fan + a girl (so obvs I love SATC)...

I was beyond thrilled to learn the set designers for both iconic shows were born and raised just down the street in Alexandria!

Dan Bishop ("Mad Men") and Jeremy Conway ("Sex and the City," the TV series and movies) grew up together in the award-winning Hollin Hills community in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. Hollin Hills is home to the largest concentration of mid-century modern homes in the region, with 450 houses designed by architect Charles Goodman between the 1940s and 1970s. (Source: Washington Post)

Hollin Hills Home
When developer Robert Davenport and architect Charles Goodman began to collaborate on Hollin Hills in the late 1940s (the first residents moved there in 1950), they positioned the buildings so that no house looked directly into the other -- a big consideration for houses with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Also, houses don't front the road unless they are above or below street level. (Source: Washington Post)

Davenport and Goodman "read" the land they were developing, keeping natural swales, hills and trees and routing roads around them. At that time, housing developers would generally buy a parcel of land, and strip and level it to fit more houses per acre and make construction easier. Hollin Hills houses, by contrast, sit above and below the curving roads, often at an angle that seems to make no sense except, one learns upon study, that the angle provides maximum exposure to sun and minimum prying from neighbors' eyes. As a bonus, the layout makes modest-size lots seem larger by "borrowing" each neighbor's landscape vistas. (Source: Washington Post)

But I digress....

Dan Bishop, is in charge of creating the ever-so-fabulous early ’60s landscape for Mad Men.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune on the set of the show’s fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency, Bishop talked about the challenges and rewards of re-creating the era. “What I don’t like to do is copy anything” directly, Bishop said. “I like to make my own stuff as much as I can. … I don’t like to page through magazines and say, ‘Oh, here’s a corner of a room, let’s replicate that.’ I’d rather look around and see materials from a bunch of different sources and then put that research aside and just think about stuff” and then design it from scratch. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

This mid-century design movement has had such an impact, before the third season started this summer, The Washington Post ran a "Mad Men Look a Like Contest."

Here is the Silver Spring winner:

Bill O'Leary-Washington Post

Bill O'Leary-Washington Post
Bill O'Leary-Washington Post

Bill O'Leary-Washington Post
Bill O'Leary-Washington Post

And of course, one can not forget Carrie Bradshaw's newly designed "grown-up" apartment in the SATC movie! There were literally ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs in my movie theatre...okay maybe it was just me!

I am constantly inspired by the design influence here in the DC area. Play on players!!!

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