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"Hello Tomorrow!" Production Designer Maya Sigel Talks Toeing Fine Line Between Fantastical & Believable with Architectural Digest
March 17, 2023

written by Juliet Izon, Architectural Digest

In Apple TV+’s new drama, Hello Tomorrow!, the characters inhabit a 1950s America, but through the looking glass. Businessmen leave for work via jet pack; neckties tighten themselves; and wheels have been swapped out on cars and baby carriages in favor of Streamline Moderne models that hover. So, it’s little wonder that the crux of the show involves a group of traveling salesmen—led by Billy Crudup as Jack Billings—who are trying to entice the average suburban housewife to buy…a time-share on the moon.

The show’s eight executive producers include Billy Crudup and Ryan Kalil, a former NFL star whose home was featured in AD. To create the show’s pitch-perfect, retro-yet-futuristic sets, Apple enlisted Maya Sigel, a seasoned production designer. She knew that the depiction of this alternate world would need to toe a fine line between fantastical and believable. The time-shares, known as Brightside Lunar Residences, play an especially important role from a design perspective. These homes needed to look even more modern and aspirational than those on this alternate Earth, but Sigel also needed to keep existing interior design and architectural trends of the 1950s in mind. 

She started her research by looking at NASA material from the era: “During that time period, they had a bunch of artists and architects do these renderings and imagine what life on another planet might look like,” Sigel says. But their designs felt somewhat lackluster to her and not as ambitious as what she envisioned. The lightbulb moment came when she started researching architecture in Palm Springs during the height of the midcentury-modern era, especially buildings by Arthur Elrod and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not only were these mansions the definition of aspirational, but also the California desert, with its lack of water and trees, is not dissimilar from a moonscape. Sigel was heavily influenced as well by the Googie architectural trend, whose futuristic shapes, perhaps not uncoincidentally, also originated in Southern California.