September 2nd, 2010
04:08 PM ET
Now that Conan O’Brien has settled on a name for his show, he – or rather, his set designer – needs to get to work on creating the set, a task that includes finding the perfect guest chair.
This piece of furniture may seem inconsequential, but it's actually a heavily weighed decision, explained Emmy-winning set designer and President of the Television Academy John Shaffner in an interview with Broadcasting & Cable. Shaffner will be lending his talents to the set design for "Conan," and told B&C that such chairs “have to be just so high, just so firm and just so deep."
The designer, who also revealed that the new set will be inspired by O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour, added that one doesn’t just go out and buy a chair and call it a day; this is a seat that has to be customized.
“You find one that you like and then you build it yourself to make it a little shallower and a little more upright and the cushion a little firmer,” Shaffner explained. “But not too firm or every time the guest sits down they’ll say, ‘Oooh this is a hard chair.’”
For his part, O’Brien will be seated behind a desk in a rolling chair to allow for ease of movement. “Since he’s usually sitting in it, you don’t see it, so it’s not so much of a design statement,” Shaffner said.
But that guest chair – and presumably, the sofa that will be seated next to the chair per late-night tradition – requires much more thought.
"The shape of the [chair's] arms, the shape of legs, will it allow them to turn sideways, will they sit forward, they won’t droop in it,” Shaffner said, “all of that needs to be taken into account.”
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