Yada, yada, yada...
On June 24th, a recreation of Jerry Seinfeld’s Upper West Side apartment arose out of nothing in New York’s Meatpacking District. Commissioned by Hulu, the pop-up exhibit Seinfeld: The Apartment opened to the public to commemorate the release of all nine seasons of Seinfeld on the streaming video service.
For the following week, fans flocked inside the admission-free memorabilia museum to ogle at the appliances and step through the furniture they’ve known and loved since 1989. Auxiliary to the furnishings, the installation also incorporated other set items, including the Monk’s Cafe table and booth, and an exposed brick wall (made from canvas) with signatures from the show’s cast and crew.
After signing on to the project, Magnetic Collaborative, the production shop behind the recreation, had only three weeks to design, build, and shoot the model in Milk Studios. Nevertheless, as they tell The Creators Project, “the greatest challenge wasn't the timeline or the production schedule, it was creating an experience that both casual and super-deep fans loved […] We knew that super fans would be looking for authenticity and we wanted to cover all our bases to give them what they were looking for.” After all, through nine seasons of staring at the same four walls, no Seinfeld superfan could be fooled by anything less than utter verisimilitude.
As the space started to come together, Seinfeld's original set design began to present Magnetic with a troubling conundrum: “When we analyzed photos [and] episodes we realized that the set changed," they explain. "All the time. Every season. And, at times, every episode saw small changes to the apartment set. Objects shifted places, colors changed, etc." In search of expertise, the team consulted the original set designer, who gave them "some tips but even he had a hard time remembering exactly what went where because of all the changes." More tangible aid came in the form of donations from members of the show's cast and crew—and even a few significant cameos—which added authentic items to Magnetic's model.
For the brunt of the production, however, Magnetic relied solely on their own initiative and invention, as well as that of the "four full-on Seinfeld nerds" in their ranks. "We ended up creating some of the items ourselves because we realized that we couldn't find existing ones that were good enough! The furniture was all created by us in the apartment and we even created touch points like the Frogger logos on the famous Frogger game."
"We realized we needed to trust ourselves to make good decisions and let it ride," they explain.
Seinfeld: The Apartment was open to the public from June 24th until the 28th at Milk Studios, courtesy of Hulu. Click here to see more work from Magnetic Collaborative.