One of the big takeaways I had after watching the first episode of On The Verge was how well designed the set was. While the host, Joshua Topolsky, along with the team and guests, was great, the set was like this unsung star quietly shining in the background. Well my friends, it will be unsung no more... today I'm talking with On The Verge executive producer Chad Mumm about that very set and how to get the look in your own home office.
On The Verge is a monthly video show by The Verge, one of the sites that I visit regularly because of the engaging content, presented in a visually appealing way, day in and day out. Of course, it should come as no surprise that the set is just as visually appealing as the site. The production team did an excellent job of presenting the feel of the site, and while I would not have thought, "Oh yes The Verge, clearly that means lots of mid-century pieces and vintage sci-fi", it somehow fits perfectly.
Chad Mumm, Executive Producer of OTV, was inspired by mid-century design and old issues of Omni magazine when he was designing the set. '60s Bond lairs, science-fiction novel covers, and Blade Runner were also big inspirations that the entire production team drew from, and this was especially true when it came to the lighting.
The lighting idea came from Blade Runner and Star Wars. Chad: "I love the look of the light-up umbrellas in Blade Runner and the darkened Emperor's throne room in Return of the Jedi. We also wanted to have our logo (the impossible triangle Verge badge) on the set somehow without being gratuitous... I was really happy with the idea of outlining the set area with a "V" in the color-changing tube lights. The colors change to fit every segment of the show and are programmed by our lighting director Matthew Piercy."
Another key feature of the set that also involves lighting is the IKEA hack that's the backdrop for many of the review segments on the set. The bookshelf that they used is the Expedit. After adjusting it to accommodate for the set, they then used some rolls of HP printing paper for the diffused backing and screwed the LED color-changing lights into the frame. To add extra height, the entire bookshelf is propped up on some black boxes.
Want to bring the look of the OTV set to your home office? Here's Chad's advice:
1. Find The Perfect Desk: For furniture, search your local prop stores. Many of the furniture used on OTV came from Mad Props in Chelsea.
2. Accessories Make a Difference: From the old Panasonic Cube R-47A that sits on the OTV desk (it's a vintage transistor radio) the to pulpy sci-fi paperbacks, don't underestimate the impact that a few accessories can have. Verge editor Laura June suggests eBay for finding great vintage sci-fi books — you can order them by the pound!
3. Mix Up Your Decades: To keep your home office from looking too wannabe Mad Men, integrate MCM tech and furnishings with pieces from other decades. For your further sourcing needs, Chad suggests Design Within Reach, Lexington Modern, and wholeheartedly endorses flea markets and garage sales for finding old and beautiful electronics from the 80s like those from Sony, Braun, and Panasonic.
Thanks Chad and the whole team of On The Verge! To watch episodes of OTV and learn about the next show, check out On The Verge.
More Info: On The Verge
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)