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John Shaffner designed the most famous New York City apartment of all time.
Except it only had three walls
and no ceiling.
And it wasn't actually in New York.
This is my apartment, and I like it!
John Shaffner designed the set of Friends.
John is a production designer,
and John has worked on a lot of shows.
I've done 44 series, and 68 pilots.
“Dharma and Greg,” “The Drew Carey Show,”
“Two and a Half Men,” “Big Bang Theory.”
And most notably, “Friends.”
When I get assigned a new show,
I do what is called a sketch model in white paper.
And you hold it up and you close one eye, and you squint.
And you can see just what the camera is gonna see.
Hello.
When we were presenting “Friends,”
I presented a white model,
and the producer looked at it and said,
"Well, now what are we going to do about color?"
What do you want to do?
And I said, "I think we should paint the set purple."
- Ooh. - Uh oh.
Everybody was really anxious about.
Nobody like change.
Until I painted the little model purple.
It's purple!
Color's really important in terms of establishing the show identity.
- Hey, ooh, slow down!
When you switch to “Friends,”
you saw that it was purple, and you stayed tuned.
One of the responsibilities of a production designer
is to look into the future, if you can.
(screaming)
We put a door all the way up this hallway
and we really didn't say where it went to.
I said, "Why don't we just wait and see where the stories take us?"
So all of a sudden, years into the show,
we've never seen this door open.
I wasn't trying to open your closet,
I wasn't trying to open your closet, I swear!
They do an entire episode about
this was Monica's messy closet.
Oh my God!
(laughter)
(gasps)
I definitely think that the coffee house on Friends
sort of influenced our culture of where
people like to meet and hang around.
Thank you.
And now, of course, 25 years later,
there's a coffee house on every corner.
I'm surprised how many of them have overstuffed chairs.
What am I going to do?
In the pilot, the moment when Rachel
walks through the door in her wedding dress
is a pivotal moment.
We made a decision to put the door up here on a diagonal.
She walks, pow, through those doors
and straight to the camera
and everybody had to, like, physically turn and look.
This is everybody.
This is Chandler, and Phoebe, and Joey.
And you remember my brother, Ross?
Sure!
- Hey. - Hi.
Oh! (laughter)
Who knew that that was going to be the beginning
of 10 years of a number one show on television?
Audiences relate to sitcoms because once you get
to know the characters, you become invested in their story.
So it's easy to turn on and watch an episode of Friends.
It's a comfort coming back to visit with these characters
and be with them for that half hour.
I'm so lucky I got to design Friends.
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Designing the Apartment in ‘Friends’

514 Folder Collection
Samuel published on April 19, 2018    Amber Li translated    Evangeline reviewed
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