Hollywood has long held a fascination with the inner workings of the upper 1 percent at work and play. Whether it be family-squabble driven series like Dallas and Dynasty or the Wall Street worlds of Bonfires of the Vanities and Billions, the examples seems endless.
HBO’s new dramedy Succession is the latest entry: a dark, funny, and often cringe-worthy, hour of television featuring an aging patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) who controls one of the largest media conglomerates in the world known as Waystar Royco. His dysfunctional family includes his third wife and four children who battle each other for his love, attention, and control of the family company, with all the Machiavellian maneuverings and ploys of power, privilege, and family dynamics of the incredibly rich.
Emmy-winning production designer Stephen Carter and Emmy-nominated set decorator George DeTitta Jr., who both worked together on Birdman, were responsible for creating Roy’s world, set against a backdrop of soaring Manhattan towers, luxurious Upper East Side apartments, and stately country houses.
Inside the Roy family home on Succession.
The set of HBO’s Succession
The soundstages of Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios East double as the self-made scion’s two-story Fifth Avenue home. Carter initially researched the homes of Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone, whose media empires and families draw obvious comparisons in the story line. “I was influenced by the Fifth Avenue apartments of Edgar Bronfman and Charles Bronfman as they were on the same stretch of street where Logan’s apartment would be, particularly the simple muted color scheme from Charles’s apartment. Edgar Senior’s apartment has the scale, views, and layout, but the color palette was pretty shocking to the eye.” It was also important that the apartment on the show would have views of the Metropolitan Museum and Central Park; a residential tower on Billionaires Row was chosen for the exterior.
Since this was the apartment Logan shared with his third wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass), “the look would be very clean and not a lot of knickknacks since she was, after all, the third wife,” details Carter. For the color scheme, he employed creams, golds, and beiges. “The color palette was very clean and almost a bleached monotone of wealth,” he says. “I didn’t feel these were very tactile people, comfortwise, and they wanted everything around them to be visually elegant.” For the sets that included a black and white marble floor hallway (no details were spared, as often budgets only permit the use of contact paper), living and dining room, balcony and study where most of the family battles take place, DeTitta shopped a variety of high-end sources for the furnishings. Newel Props (an offshoot of Newel antiques and the go-to spot for set decorators) was used for establishment pieces along with 1stdibs, John Street Antiques, and The Antique and Artisan Gallery in Stamford, Connecticut, as well as antique shops in Westport, Connecticut.
Inside the Waystar Royco office on Succession.