In the media, we often see modern and minimalistic settings as the HQ of big money getters. Take the first seasons of Showtime’s Billions, hedge fund magnate Bobby “Axe” Axelrod’s castle is a severe canvas with unforgiving white surfaces, chrome fixtures, and glass dividers.
Production Designer Michael Shaw created the world of the insanely rich where color is kept to a minimal, strategically limited to artwork. Shaw made the Axe Capital space to look much like a sleek gallery, with art by Basquiat and Bernar Venat, pieces intended to intimidate people when they enter Axe’s office.
Not only does the production set’s evolution complement the plot, Axe Capital mirrors the protagonist’s character. Axe (played by Damian Lewis) is written out to be a bold, sharp, cold character, and that’s how his space is portrayed.
In the complicated world of billionaires, Shaw says,“We wanted to make Axe’s world very clean and efficient and streamlined,” Shaw says. “There’s not a lot of clutter. Most of all, we wanted Axe’s headquarters to feel magnificent and highly designed.”
In contrast, Axe’s nemesis Chuck Rhodes (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York) lives in an entirely different world. “Chuck’s world is everything that Axe’s is not,” Shaw says. “It’s chaotic, the desks are cluttered, and you get the sense that these people locked down like they’re in a bunker. We wanted it to feel claustrophobic so the ceilings are low and we used a lot of traditional wood and beige. It was really important to contrast all of that with Axe Capital, which feel airy and light and modern.”
So whose world would you rather live in, Axe’s or Rhodes'?
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