Maya Sigel - Production Designer - "Hello, Tomorrow"
Updated: Apr 19
Marrying Traditional and Future Design: The Vistaville Architecture in "Hello Tomorrow"
On this week's episode, I am speaking with production designer Maya Siegel, and her recent project is "Hello Tomorrow", which is airing on Apple TV. The full season is out. It's a science fiction comedy series that takes place in the near future world, yethas a retro design that Maya created. In addition to her work on "Hello Tomorrow", maya has also worked on several other TV shows and films, including "To the Bone", "The Girlfriend Experience" and "I'm Not Okay With This and More". You can check out her work on MayaSiegel.com. And I was very lucky to get the full season of this ahead of time to watch. And at the time I spoke with Maya, only three I think three episodes hadaired. And I asked her if it was okay if we just talk about the whole season. And I hold this interview till now so that you could hear about allthese fantastic sets that she had to do. This whole the neighborhood and the concept assigned of these vintage tech things. This grocerystore. There's brilliant wallpaper. There's a rocket at the end, but it's all retro. It's all, like, 1950s, but they have cool technology. So I justthought it was really innovative. And I loved the integration of these old pieces with new technology. I thought it was super clever. And I've toldtons of people, I've said it on here many times. Hello Tomorrow on Apple. I really loved it, and I really hope it gets a little recognition in Emmyseason. So I hope you enjoy.
Timecode for the episode:
[00:10:43] Custom-built futuristic consoles and vidicans designed to ground the show in the 50s and mix old and new technology. Practical choices for portability and ubiquity. No script, just looking for opportunities in each set to add new elements.
[00:15:05] Color palettes separate the Earth and the Moon world, and the Vista Motor Lodge combines them with blue and orange colors and curved architecture.
[00:19:30] 1950s-inspired instant food market designed with graphic-covered boxes and freeze-dried, powdered food, executed flawlessly by Settech and Set Decorator George Tatida Jr.
[00:30:55] Collaboration resulted in unique retrofitted cars with covers over wheels. Budget prevented building futuristic cars. Styrofoam covers customized for hero cars, painted chrome.
[00:36:05] The prop master looked for a cute and friendly French or Italian work truck for the show, and they found a teal-colored one that matches the futuristic gadgets used in the show.
[00:53:00] An elevator was built to connect the waiting room, jetway, and interior of the rocket cabin, as it made the most sense for filming scenes. The inspiration was to take creative license rather than consulting a scientist.
[00:57:54] Red felted walls, domed light fixtures, furniture turns to beds, TV screens with controls, flight attendant pod, and unique costumes in a rocket ship cabin.
[00:59:55] Collaboration between Anna Terrazza and Hannah Shea was inventive and seamless in creating a graphic design with minimal patterns, utilizing texture and old-world aesthetics.
[01:03:29] Critique of capitalism and consumerism in society through a character's backstory of being a dehumanized worker in a large corporation.
[01:06:06] The bathroom design was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and The Shining, and includes a sink with a car wash feature.
1. What was the initial plan for the project, and how did it change?- The initial plan was to create hover vehicles that still used roads, but due to budget and time constraints, they decided to use classic cars instead.
2. How were the hero cars selected, and who chose the paint colors?- The hero cars were purchased, and the editor chose the paint colors.
3. What was the goal regarding the show's design and aesthetic, and how was it achieved?- The goal was to ground the show in the 50s but also have a futuristic element in each set. The mid-century console design was selected for the control panel, and the vidicans were designed to add to the 50s version of what the future might look like.
4. What were some of the design elements discussed regarding a truck on a TV show, and why were they chosen?- The prop master was given references of French and Italian work trucks, which were chosen for their curvier appearance. The teal color was chosen specifically to be close to the futuristic blue-green look used in the show's gadgets and app branding.
5. What were some of the design elements discussed regarding a bathroom build, and what was the inspiration?- The bathroom build was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the bathroom in The Shining. The sink was designed to look like a car wash, and special effects were rigged to make it work. The speaker scouted different facilities for a long time but decided to build their own, including an elevator and different areas like a waiting room, jetway, and the interior of the rocket cabin. The graphics team created an amazing market scene, featuring retrofuturistic food that is boxed and mostly not fresh.
Creating the Future in the 50s: "I kept trying to take away my present day lens as much as possible and kind of mixing the old technology with the new."— Maya Sige
Designing the World of Vistaville: "I organized the world into these two color palettes that kind of come together. And that was the Earth and then the moon and the future and so vistaville and the world that we're in in this town is all earth tones."— Maya Sigel
Creating a Realistic Set for a Show: "So we built the elevator, which is inside the gantry, which was the VFX shot, seeing the gantry and the rocket, of course. And then we built that waiting room area and then the jetway and the interior of the rocket cabin so you could walk from the elevator to the waiting room, down the jetway and straight into the rocket ship cabin, which I thought would really help with shooting those scenes and the blocking and everything."— Maya Sigel
Kim Wannop [00:00:07]:
Decorating Pages is a podcast dedicated to taking you behind the scenes of the.
Kim Wannop [00:00:12]:
Designs of your favorite TV shows and films.
Kim Wannop [00:00:15]:
Each episode, I'll be sharing design stories from some of Hollywood's most famous sets. Interviews from set decorators, production designers, directors, and actors are about creating the look of TV and films about their design inspiration and stories that take steps from page to screen. Hello, and welcome to Decorating Pages. I'm your host, Kim Wanup. What's up, people? It's been the holiday weekend. I hope everybody had a very nice holiday. I'm actually recording this a little early because I went back to Philly, South Jersey, to see my family over the Easter weekend. And I haven't been back east for Easter in, like, forever, ever. So that should be nice. And the boys get to meet new cousins and traveling. And I'm going to assume that on my American Airlines flight that the WiFi doesn't work. And so I don't get any of those movies to watch because the last, I think, four or six flights we've taken, the WiFi never works and you never get anything. So just going to assume that. Even got my little crystal ball here. So the boys have downloaded many Netflix cartoons and I get to rest. Maybe we'll see.
Maya Sigel [00:01:43]:
Kim Wannop [00:01:45]:
But I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. I know kids are off from school and fun, fun. Everyone seems to have enjoyed last week's episode with production designer John L. Manahi of Spinning Gold, the film Spinning Gold. So I'm glad that you enjoyed that. I had a nice bump in downloads for that. So thank you very much. I haven't watched much since I last recorded because it's only been two days. I'm watching a lot. I'm watching a little. I'm watching everything. Definitely keeping up on my housewives. I've dug deeper into the David Milch autobiography, and man, oh, man, is it kind of depressing. He was like a heroin addict so far. He was at Yale at the time, Jim at the time. John Kerry was there. And he was also in the same side, beta Cap or whatever. Fraternity brothers with George W. Bush. How crazy is that? I think it's crazy. And his roommate was Richard Lewis. I mean, it's kind of crazy. And then one of his first writing gig was on Hill Street Blues with Bochko. It's crazy, but I am enjoying it. A little depressing, but I am enjoying it. So let's talk a little bit about what I know about the writers potential strike. They are setting up a vote strike, I believe, between April 11 and April 17. So if they choose to strike, that will give them a little leverage, I think, in their negotiations. I'm not sure that's how I would play it. And I haven't heard anything about, oh, yeah, we got this and now we're happy, or we didn't get that and strike. So that's the only thing I've really read about it. I did hear that someone gave me a theory of why. Also, the industry is slow right now is because of the COVID regulations. So SAG after DGA Ayah, we got an email last week that the safety agreement of the protocols will expire on May 11. However, projects that are already in production can keep their established protocols of testing and everything. So the theory is maybe some producers are waiting to start their show after May 11 so that they don't have to pay all that money into COVID testing. And I completely understand that I get that one. So maybe it's not all about the strike or it's not all about streaming. Maybe it's the COVID money, too, I guess. Let's see. On this week's episode, I am speaking with production designer Maya Siegel, and her recent project is Hello Tomorrow, which is airing on Apple TV. The full season is out. It's a science fiction comedy series that takes place in the near future world, yet has a retro design that Maya created. In addition to her work on Hello Tomorrow, maya has also worked on several other TV shows and films, including to the Bone, The Girlfriend Experience and I'm Not Okay With this and more. You can check out her work on Maya Siegel.com. And I was very lucky to get the full season of this ahead of time to watch. And at the time I spoke with Maya, only three I think three episodes had aired. And I asked her if it was okay if we just talk about the whole season. And I hold this interview till now so that you could hear about all these fantastic sets that she had to do. This whole the neighborhood and the concept assigned of these vintage tech things. This grocery store. There's brilliant wallpaper. There's a rocket at the end, but it's all retro. It's all, like, 1950s, but they have cool technology. So I just thought it was really innovative. And I loved the integration of these old pieces with new technology. I thought it was super clever. And I've told tons of people, I've said it on here many times. Hello Tomorrow on Apple. I really loved it, and I really hope it gets a little recognition in Emmy season. So I hope you enjoy.
Maya Sigel [00:06:59]:
And then you can just do it then.
Kim Wannop [00:07:01]:
Yeah, and then I'll put I'll put it out end of March, and then we'll so sorry about that. It that it won't be I told think I told you.
Maya Sigel [00:07:07]:
Kim Wannop [00:07:08]:
But I it's so weird to me because I was completely unaware that this show was even coming out. I don't know why I didn't read up on this at all. And one, it's a great little idea for a show. It's Billy crud up somewhat hottie still. He's holding onto it. And then you have these amazing designs that are vintage but futuristic. Like, how pumped were you to get this gig? All I kept thinking is like, wow, gem. Gem.
Maya Sigel [00:07:48]:
Yeah. No, I was super excited about this project. I had worked with Jonathan Ant Whistle on a show previously called I'm Not Okay With this for Netflix, and he was signing on to direct the first four episodes and be an EP on Hello Tomorrow. So he told me just kind of roughly what it was, which sounded really exciting. And then a while later, I got the pilot script, and then I met with the showrunners and the other creative producers and yeah, I mean, in the pilot episode, the world is established and they're super descriptive about all of the gadgets, and it was super exciting. The minute I read it. I just started doing research.
Kim Wannop [00:08:54]:
Maya Sigel [00:08:54]:
And it was hard to stop. I mean, I had so much compiled, so by the time they told me that I had the job and I was going to New York, I'd already done a lot of work prepping it and sort of thinking about conceptually what the design of the show would be look like.
Kim Wannop [00:09:24]:
The palette is gorgeous throughout the whole show. The palette of every episode and the cars and their bed spreads and their rooms and the wallpaper, and it's just really fantastic. And I'm wondering when you're researching for this, obviously doing, I think, like fifty s and sixty s is so much fun because they had such cool design shit back then that's still relevant now. But was there specifics of this is vintage but updated. I'm sure the cars was already in the script and everything, but did you discover while you were designing, like, oh, we could update this piece or this thing in the design?
Maya Sigel [00:10:12]:
Do you mean sort of taking things that were like the console.
Kim Wannop [00:10:20]: