Four Classic Films With Fantastic Mid-century Modern Set Design

culture / Interesting

Mid-century modern design has continued to maintain a prominent role in our culture ever since it’s hey-day in the 50’s and 60’s. Clean aesthetic and functional finesse have become an instantly recognizable style. Here are 4 of our favorite films that have exquisitely inspirational set design.

North By Northwest (1959)


The master of tension, Alfred Hitchcock loved using architecture and set design as a means of amplifying drama in his motion pictures. The action thriller North By Northwest spans a wide range of locations from Madison Avenue to Mount Rushmore, but one of the most recognizable sets is the Vandamm House. While fictional, (the exterior is a matte painting), the interior of the house was designed in the likeness of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most famous and recognizable modern architects during the 50’s. Complete with lowered coffee tables, rich textiles, geometric wall art, and plenty of sleek modern furnishings, North By Northwest portrays modern design in an elegant fashion.




Dr. No (1962)


The first Bond film erupted on screen in 1962 and ignited a franchise that shows no sign of stopping. While Sean Connery and Ursula Andress became Hollywood icons, the unsung hero of the film is production designer Kenneth Adam who designed all the sets including the lavish and labyrinthine hideout of Dr. No, the films antagonist. Adam’s design is almost as smooth as Connery’s accent and set the bar high for the secret lairs of future Bond supervillains.




The Graduate (1967)


The Simon & Garfunkel soundtracked classic, The Graduate tells the story of a college grad that, worried about his future, starts an affair with an older woman only to later fall in love with her daughter. While the drama ensues and Mrs. Robinson pursues, the mid-century modern design creates a seductive atmosphere.




The Big Lebowski (1998)


While the Dude’s rug ties the room together, the spectacular interior/exterior of loan shark, Jackie Treehorn is what makes this Coen Brother’s cult classic stand out for having great set design. The Sheats-Goldstein Residence, designed in 1963 by Wright protege, John Lautner, shows the asymmetrical and geometrical splendor of the indoor/outdoor living of the mid-century Hollywood Hills.



Let us know some of your favorite films with mid-century modern design. Drop by our showroom for more inspiration!