Watching television as a design lover can be distracting. When you’re constantly trying to identify the make and model of a character’s desk lamp, it becomes all too easy to miss key lines of dialogue. In some cases, it can even feel like a show’s camera crew is focused on the wrong subject entirely — zooming in on Harrison Ford while a perfectly captivating Eames Lounge Chair gets lost in the background.
Evidently, we’re not alone in our obsession with television’s supporting players. Earlier this spring, Barber Osgerby’s Bellhop made headlines when the design played a supporting role in a balcony argument between on-again-off-again Succession power couple Shiv Roy and Tom Wambsgams. While Sarah Snook and Matthew Mcfayden deserve no shortage of praise for their performances, the Flos table lamp was the undeniable star of the scene.
Below, we give props to the production teams behind five series that are as binge-able for their sets as they are for their stars.
What to watch for: The Type 80 table lamp by Anglepoise.
Where you’ll see it: Throughout season 3 on Keeley’s desk (in rose pink) and Nate’s desk (in matte black).
How does it fit the story? This latest (and potentially last?) season of Lasso finds Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) launching her own PR firm. As a sophisticated yet nevertheless playful design, the rose pink Type 80 table lamp reflects the bubbly spirit that Jones brings to her business. Anglepoise also speaks to the history of British entrepreneurship, having been founded by a British automotive engineer back in 1932.
That said, this particular model — by current Anglepoise design director Sir Kenneth Grange — is a relatively recent introduction, launched in 2019 and departing from the more industrial aesthetic that defines many of the manufacturer’s lamps. Much like Keeley, it’s a testament to the power of fresh perspective.
Nate (Nick Mohammed) also spends the season striking out on his own by making his debut as the coach of West Ham United. While it’s easy to see the matte black colour of his lamp as evidence of his move to “the dark side,” the fact that the light is the same model as Keeley’s might be a sign of (spoiler alert) Nate’s true allegiance to the AFC Richmond gang.
Who is the production designer? Paul Cripps, who spoke with Variety earlier this year about how Keeley’s office was designed to be “a little bit childlike and a little bit crazy, because that helps her be creative in a corporate world.”
Where to watch it: All three seasons of Ted Lasso stream on Apple TV+.
How do they fit the story? “Kill List” sees the Roy family attempting to strike a deal for Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) to acquire their company. The episode’s setting — a sky-high retreat in the mountains of Norway — underscores how out of their element the Roys are in this negotiation. While we’re used to seeing their New York homes filled with generic beige upholstered furniture that coveys “stealth wealth,” the venue for Matsson’s corporate retreat favours more recognizable design-forward Scandinavian silhouettes.
An early scene spotlights Norwegian designer Andreas Engesvik’s Bollo armchair for Swedish company Fogia, which rests puffed-up leather cushioning on a super-thin metal frame. When the action later moves outside, the gang sits on a series of galvanized steel Palissade dining armchairs by Hay. The episode caps off with Finn Juhl’s $20,000+ Chieftain chair, which is parked in the corner of Matsson’s room as he confesses to Shiv that he once mailed his head of comms a frozen brick of his blood. (Now that’s what I call television.)
Who is the production designer? Stephen Carter. Back in a 2021 interview with The Ringer, he noted that (this episode notwithstanding) Succession‘s “quiet luxury”–driven sets tend to favour fairly nondescript furniture. “[The Roys] have armies of pickers and interior decorators and designers that are going out for them and who are under pressure not to bring back the wrong thing,” he said.
Where to watch it: In Canada, all four seasons of Succession stream on Crave.
What to watch for: The Masters chair by Kartell.
Where you’ll see it: Throughout season 1 of Loot in the office of Molly Novak’s charity foundation.
How does it fit the story? In stark contrast to Succession‘s subdued sets and furnishings, Loot highlights the fabulous, flamboyant world of the nouveau riche. Billionaire Molly Novak (played by Maya Rudolph) loves bold prints and glitzy statement jewellery, and the wild silhouettes of these sculptural seats complement her audacious taste.
To create the Masters chair, Philippe Starck traced the backs of Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair, the Eameses’ Molded Shell Chair, and Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Armchair, and then merged them into one super-chair. This ties into Molly’s more-is-more approach: Why have one designer chair when you can have three instead?
Where to watch it: The 10-episode first season of Loot streams on Apple TV+.
Where you’ll see them: Bertoia stools appear throughout season 1 in the kitchen at Paul, Jimmy and Gaby’s therapy practice. Paul’s office features an Eames Lounge Chair in the corner, which you get an especially good view of in the season finale, “Closure,” as Jimmy and his neighbour Liz storm into Paul’s office.
How does it fit the story? An Eames lounge chair is the Harrison Ford of seating — both have been around for decades, and yet both continue to command the same respect today as they did when they first hit the scene.
Notably, Shrinking‘s embrace of the classic design also places Ford’s character Paul in the grand tradition of TV shrinks. Back in the 1990s, the same design was a fixture of Dr. Frasier Crane’s Seattle apartment, where it stood in stark contrast to his dad’s La-Z-Boy recliner.
Where to watch it: The 10-episode first season of Shrinking streams on Apple TV+.
What to watch for: The AJ table lamp by Louis Poulsen.
Where you’ll see it: Throughout season 1 on the desk in Captain Pike’s ready room (in stainless steel) and on the desk in Dr. M’Benga’s office (in white). You can find a full breakdown of the lamp’s appearances at Star Trek + Design.
How does it fit the story? Designed in 1957, Arne Jacobsen’s AJ table lamp is an example of the mid-century Space Age movement that saw design taking inspiration from the pod- and capsule-shaped forms popularized by news coverage of early space exploration. Star Trek itself is a product of this same era — the original show began broadcasting in 1966.
We also see some resemblance between the angular shape of this lamp’s shade and Spock’s pointed ears. Arne Jacobsen’s own website seems to support this link, saying that “the design exemplifies how Arne Jacobsen’s design practice aimed to achieve the most stringent and logical form.” Perhaps setting an AJ table lamp on his desk is Pike’s attempt to keep the logic-driven Vulcan perspective in mind even when Spock’s not around.
Where to watch it: In Canada, Star Trek: Strange New World streams on Crave (and season 2 premieres today!).
“Where do I know that lamp from?” How designs by brands like Anglepoise and Louis Poulsen play supporting roles in Ted Lasso, Succession, and more.