It’s an occupational hazard for anyone working in interiors; dealing with constant distraction when watching television programmes like Mad Men, and anything Nordic Noir.
The sets of The Killing, Borgen and The Legacy ooze covetable furniture, lighting and accessories.
Live pause buttons on our remote control now mean we can back up and double check it actually was a Louis Poulsen light we spotted in the Danish Prime Minister’s office in Borgen, or a Hans Wegner Wishbone chair just at the screen edge, an activity which has coined the expression ‘furniture porn’.
It has us glued to our screens rewinding and losing the programme plot as we indulge in our little interiors secret and wonder where we can get a bit of this design action.
For those of us less well versed in the vocabulary of design, where names of design giants like Eames, Poulsen and Wegner are less familiar, there’s often a frustrating and fruitless online task of trying to get the name, let alone the source, of things like Don Draper’s chair in Mad Men,(it’s the Eames Time-Life Executive chair), or the daybed in Edward Cullen’s bedroom in the Twilight series of films, which happens to be the Barcelona Lounger by Mies van der Rohe.
Enter a website called www.seenonset.com, where you can do a quick search by television programme or film, and up come details of the coveted product to satisfy your curiosity and sate a longing for possession.
Uup and running for 18 months, the website attracts a global clientele, which, for its founder, Corkman Cian O’Driscoll, fulfils a dream which had been drifting through his consciousness for some time.
“I used to notice things on TV programmes, but there were no dedicated websites where you could find them,” he says.
While lecturing in CIT, (where he studied architecture and interior architecture after leaving the building trade in 2008) he was also working on design projects and had clients asking for things they saw on television.
It got him thinking about the possibility of turning these enquiries into a business. His first step was to create contacts with set designers in the US, and then to contact the product makers.
“Companies have been really receptive,” Cian explains. “They’d never tapped into this market before.”
Initial investment, which was necessary to develop the complex software required for such a venture, came from the National Digital Research Centre which invests in early business start-ups and which Cian says drove the concept of Seen On Set into reality.
“They loved the idea and gave us €20,000.”
Now as CEO of the company, with CTO Peader Doyle who’s the whizz on the techie side, they have a strict policy of dealing only with companies licensed to make the products, which means Seen On Set, as middle-men, can stand over the quality and authenticity.
But not everything available through the site is high-end, mid 20th-century modern design with a corresponding price tag. Vintage posters from Friends— remember the French one hanging next to Monica’s television — cost from just €10.
“Initially, a lot of enquiries came from America about US shows, and even now Mad Men is still popular,” says Cian.
“The Good Wife is another, and we had loads of enquiries about long-stemmed wine glasses from Scandal. They’re just US$10 each from Crate and Barrel.”
Cian’s personal dream purchase would be the Eames lounger and ottoman, something fans of Fraser will recollect sited near the balcony doors of the protagonist’s apartment.
“The Eames lounger is so important in the design world from the post-war period,” says Cian, “but at €6,000 it’s still a dream. When I’m not working seven days a week, I’d like to sit on one on a Sunday morning with a coffee and the paper.”
In the meantime, he’s planning to move into UK shows while continuing to build on US shows which includes The Good Fight, a spin-off to the ever-popular The Good Wife.
The big screen is also proving to be a source of enquiries to the site, especially those with a glamour element.
“Everything is available from the 50 Shades of Grey and 50 Shades Darker sets,” he says. And by that he means furniture and lighting — not Christian Grey.