Detroit’s Sandra Olave Shares The History Behind “Mad Men” Decor

Sandra Olave knows a thing or two about modern design. Olave not only practices interior design, but she is also the chair of the Interior Design Department at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.

Like many other fans of the television show, “Mad Men,” Olave is fascinated by the history behind the sets.

Olave shares with us her favorite set on the television show, “Mad Men” and gives us a history lesson behind its furniture props:

“In “Mad Men,” the modern design interiors are timeless.

To this day, we are able to use modern classic furniture pieces as the core of an interior space and still create an exciting and amazing atmosphere.

Why is something that dates back to the 19th century still astonishing to our eyes?  What do these designers have in common? Where did their ideas originate and how were they developed?”

Let’s start with design movements…

  • Art Nouveau: 1890 -1910: forms inspired and reproduced from nature
  • De Stijl 1917-1931: pure abstraction, essential form and color
  • Purism, L’spiritu Nouveau: 1918- 1925: purist aesthetics embracing new technology
  • Bauhaus 1919 – 1933:  arguably the most instrumental stream in modern design
  • Art Deco: 1920- 1940’s: bold geometry & rich color tones
  • Mid-Century Modern: 1933 -1965: architecture, interior, furniture, product and graphic design
  • Scandinavian Modern: 1950 -1960’s: soft modernism
  • Arts and Crafts: 1860 – 1910: traditional craftsmanship

Now, let’s take a look at the Roger Sterling’s office on “Mad Men” and identify some of the furniture:

“The Saarinen pedestal table and tulip chairs, introduced by Knoll in 1956, are samples of furniture pieces used on the “Mad Men” sets that continually inspire us to create quality design environments in the present day.

Cheers to a great epoch!”

Visit the College For Creative Studies to learn more about their Interior Design program.