Greg Grande on Jefferson Sage, production designer, “Bridesmaids” and “New Girl”
Anyone who’s seen “Bridesmaids” will never forget the production design of Jefferson Sage’s tacky Brazilian Churra-Chi restaurant in a seedy neighborhood where Annie (Kristen Wiig) takes her fellow bridesmaids for a “steak” lunch. It’s the jumping-off point where Sage has subtly created the perfect palette and takes us on a visual journey into an anything-goes world, immediately juxtaposed against the chic, cream-on-white, bridal-gown studio where it all literally erupts.
Sage’s color and design sensibility along with his sense of humor also lead the way as we zigzag from Annie’s humdrum apartment to the Parisian-themed bridal shower in a Tudor revival mansion, complete with French cafe on the terrace, pavilion tents on the grounds, a miniature Eiffel Tower and a seven-foot chocolate fountain. All this facilitates the climax of “Bridesmaids” — on which Sage, collaborating with director Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow, have changed the landscape of the American female comedy.
Transitioning to the smallscreen, Sage creates a space quirky enough to hold the likes of style-setter Zooey Deschanel in Fox’s “New Girl”: an open loft with textured walls, exposed brick, a metal loading door and giant windows in a spacious living space where Deschanel and her three male roomies roller skate across the vast wood floor, hang from the doorway and bounce off the walls.
The design sense is illustrated with bold color choices sprinkled on doors and walls, which hints of the loft’s industrial past while keeping us visually involved. And then there’s the most talked about bathroom on network TV — a urinal alongside lockers and two commercial sinks — which makes us appreciate Sage’s innovative style. He seems to relish every opportunity to make cohabitation of the sexes look hip and current.
Tightening the definition
Designers on design
Production designers and art directors comment on the ADG-nominated work of their peers
John Muto on Dante Ferretti | Greg Grande on Jefferson Sage | Norm Newberry on Stuart Craig | John Sabato on Patti Podesta | Ken Averill on Christopher Glass | John Shaffner on Steve Bass | Dave Blass on Mark Worthington | John Iacovelli on James Yarnell