The new HBO Max show The Flight Attendant thrives on suspense, and is packed with it from the very first episode, when the main character—a flight attendant named Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco)—wakes up to find her date from the night before next to her in bed, dead. From here the limited series (it will be eight episodes total) continues at a fast pace, with Cassie’s drinking habit and hazy memory making the viewer wonder if she’s a reliable narrator. As she tries to piece it all together, she has trauma-fueled flashbacks to her childhood, and also to the stylish Bangkok hotel room where the murder happened.
“She goes into the mind palace, as we called it,” production designer Sarah K. White tells AD. For the decor of the luxury suite, she and set decorator Jessica Petruccelli sought to create a room that was “contemporary and glamorous and masculine and strong,” says White, but also reflected Thai design, drawing inspiration from tile work in local temples, traditional Thai symbols like the lotus flower, and the work of silk merchant Jim Thompson. Natural materials like silk and grass cloth wallpaper and carved teak partitions added texture, all in a color palette of brown, black, and umber with pops of metallic.
“We wanted the furnishings to emphasize the dark and seductive qualities of this contemporary noir while keeping details, shapes, and materials somewhat traditional and evocative of Thai design,” says Petruccelli. “We wanted everything to feel visually rich and seductive.” To keep things exciting during the multiple flashbacks, they used “a lot of moving panels, screens you can see through, a lot of hinges or pivots and mirrors,” says White. “We did design it so that later on in the episodes we find new spaces not previously revealed.”
The hotel room is uniquely central to the story, but it isn’t the only standout set. As Cassie deals with the fallout from the incident, she spends much of her time in the apartment of her best friend Annie (Zosia Mamet), a high-powered lawyer who agrees to help her messy friend stay out of trouble.
Sorry for the pun, but her apartment is to die for. It is a New York loft that was built on a soundstage and is filled with Clever-worthy design elements. “I envisioned Annie hiring an interior designer to decorate her space,” says Petruccelli. “Her loft is bold, modern, and minimalist with a cohesive palette of gray, mauve, and periwinkle indigo blues.” Large archways separate the living room, bathroom, and office area from the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom, and the entire place is filled with stylish furniture, including a Hay sofa the team had custom-upholstered by Fabric City; pieces from Muuto, Menu Design, and Ferm Living; vintage Lucite pieces they found at Chairish and Adaptations; more vintage from Furnish Green and Dobbin Street; an Arteriors lamps; and lighting fixtures from OVUUD, Entler, Trella Studio, and Hollis+Morris.
White reveals that it was written into the script that her shower be placed out in the open in the living room, and they really made it a focal point of the space. “We had to have that plexiglass custom-bent. It took about three weeks to find someone who could actually do that,” says White. It was definitely worth the effort. “To me what it said immediately was that she is a very confident and daring person that likes to keep people guessing and is okay with using the element of surprise.”
The Flight Attendant Is an Addictive Thriller With a Flair for Interiors
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest