When it comes to meticulously era-appropriate set design, Halt and Catch Fire is the heir to the recently departed Mad Men. We asked production designer Christopher L. Brown (who has worked on both series) to walk us through the office set of Mutiny, a startup featured in season two.
1. Vintage phones Without a multiline phone system, Mutiny—a gaming company founded by Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis)—relies on a collection of corded phones, some with rotary dials. Many came from the show’s decorator, who had collected them over the years.
2. Creative computing The mass of daisy-chained IBM PC XTs hosts the pre-Internet gaming network. “It’s in a face-off with Cameron’s [desk], so she’s always staring at her creation,” Brown says.
3. Music posters “Real stuff puts you in a real place in time,” Brown says of items like the Clash poster. But because rights have to be obtained for every band shown, collages like this generally are peppered with fakes created by the show’s art department.
4. Realistic tech A Commodore 64 was picked because of its ubiquity and affordability during the mid-1980s.
5. Mismatched furniture “They didn’t go out and buy new stuff,” Brown says. Hence, the thrift-store-esque mix of both office and residential furniture, much of it from the 1960s and 1970s.
This article originally appeared in our June 2015 issue.