| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

Designing the Apartment in ‘Friends’

– [Narrator] John Shaffner
designed the most famous New York City apartment of all time. Except it only had three walls and no ceiling. And it wasn’t actually in New York. – This is my apartment, and I like it! – [Narrator] John Shaffner
designed the set of Friends. John is a production designer, and John has worked on a lot of shows. – I’ve done 44 series, and 68 pilots. “Dharma and Greg,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Big Bang Theory.” – [Narrator] And most notably, “Friends.” – When I get assigned a new show, I do what is called a
sketch model in white paper. And you hold it up and you
close one eye, and you squint. And you can see just what
the camera is gonna see. – Hello. – When we were presenting “Friends,” I presented a white model, and the producer looked at it and said, “Well, now what are we
going to do about color?” – What do you want to do? – And I said, “I think we
should paint the set purple.” – Ooh.
– Uh oh. – [John] Everybody was
really anxious about. – Nobody like change. – Until I painted the little model purple. – It’s purple! – [John] Color’s really important
in terms of establishing the show identity. – Hey, ooh, slow down! – When you switch to “Friends,” you saw that it was purple,
and you stayed tuned. One of the responsibilities
of a production designer is to look into the future, if you can. (screaming) We put a door all the way up this hallway and we really didn’t say where it went to. I said, “Why don’t we just wait and see “where the stories take us.” So all of a sudden, years into the show, we’ve never seen this door open. – I wasn’t trying to open your closet, I wasn’t trying to open
your closet, I swear! – [John] They do an entire episode about this was Monica’s messy closet. – Oh my God! (laughter) – (gasps) – [John] I definitely think
that the coffee house on Friends sort of influenced our culture of where people like to meet and hang around. – Thank you. – [John] And now, of
course, 25 years later, there’s a coffee house on every corner. I’m surprised how many of
them have overstuffed chairs. – What am I going to do? – In the pilot, the moment when Rachel walks through the door
in her wedding dress is a pivotable moment. We made a decision to put the
door up here on a diagonal. She walks, pow, through those doors and straight to the camera and everybody had to, like,
physically turn and look. – This is everybody. This is Chandler, and Phoebe, and Joey. And you remember my brother, Ross? – Sure! – Hey.
– Hi. Oh!
(laughter) – Who knew that that was
going to be the beginning of 10 years of a number
one show on television? Audiences relate to sitcoms
because once you get to know the characters, you
become invested in their story. So it’s easy to turn on and
watch an episode of Friends. It’s a comfort coming back to
visit with these characters and be with them for that half hour. I’m so lucky I got to design Friends.



Mar 3, 2018, 8:36 am Reply

I never really watched Friends. Now, the sets in The Big Bang Theory–Those are gorgeous.

Joan Sze

Mar 3, 2018, 8:51 am Reply



Mar 3, 2018, 9:10 am Reply

I JUST finished this show for the first time. Now depressed 🙂

Lala lili

Mar 3, 2018, 9:29 am Reply

I love Friends very much, I can draw the room without looking at the show

Jennifer Godstrey

Mar 3, 2018, 9:58 am Reply

How does a show that takes place in New York City, the melting pot of the world, have no people of color in it? I can at least understand a show like Roseanne, that takes place in Nowhere, Indiana, having no people of color. But why was there never a black friend? Or any people of color walking down the streets, in all of New York City? My theory is that Friends is an alternate, post-apocalyptic universe, where Donald Trump completely eradicated all minorities in a nuclear-holocaust world war 3, and now only white people remain.

the nerd shack

Mar 3, 2018, 10:02 am Reply


dante odinson

Mar 3, 2018, 10:51 am Reply

Man o man…do i love and will always love friends

Zahir Sookoor

Mar 3, 2018, 10:58 am Reply

The bitter sweet part of his job is : His work gets to live on throughout the series and beyond…….but he only gets paid once for his work

Rachel Huizar

Mar 3, 2018, 11:22 am Reply


Arpan Bhattacharya

Mar 3, 2018, 11:38 am Reply

Great work man….


Mar 3, 2018, 11:39 am Reply

Jerry Seinfeld's apartment is waaaaaaaay more iconic. And those kinds of coffee houses were appearing long before friends in NYC.

Emmanuel Marquez

Mar 3, 2018, 12:42 pm Reply

Here before it becomes a million views

Morr M

Mar 3, 2018, 1:23 pm Reply

Must be the best Sims player of all universe

Jaded Jonny

Mar 3, 2018, 1:24 pm Reply

The final scene showing the empty apartment and the way it lingers on the framed keyhole on the door is still so heartbreaking ?

A Name

Mar 3, 2018, 1:36 pm Reply

What a legend


Mar 3, 2018, 1:43 pm Reply

Thanks for making this. It's truly an iconic set. Also, cool to see a little of the Big Bang Theory set in a few shots.

Miss Uma

Mar 3, 2018, 2:00 pm Reply

He’s a legend !


Mar 3, 2018, 2:05 pm Reply

How do i become a production designer?

Yousef Imran

Mar 3, 2018, 2:16 pm Reply

Undoubtedly the best sitcom show of all times!

Martin Tabanag

Mar 3, 2018, 2:54 pm Reply

What a great timing! Im watching friend right now and im in season 3! Oh my gosh this is so good! Production design is insanely fun


Mar 3, 2018, 3:07 pm Reply

FRIENDS sucked and the unbearable aura of white 90s twenty-somethings in the design being directly connected to Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory doesn't surprise me at all. No wonder no one likes multiple-camera, single-set sitcoms anymore – they're associated with this BS.

wilson suarez

Mar 3, 2018, 3:14 pm Reply

Love friends friends dont love me ?


Mar 3, 2018, 3:41 pm Reply

Nice video

hugo brutus

Mar 3, 2018, 3:50 pm Reply



Mar 3, 2018, 3:55 pm Reply

Jerry's apartment in Seinfeld was more famous than the one in friends, Seinfeld was watch by more people

Timetom Ki

Mar 3, 2018, 3:57 pm Reply

I download this video

Face Meat

Mar 3, 2018, 4:00 pm Reply

A pivotable moment indeed.

X Blocky

Mar 3, 2018, 5:13 pm Reply

Looks pretty cool

Aman Panda

Mar 3, 2018, 5:27 pm Reply

the one where he made our lives!

Febriane Ramadhan Ramadhan

Mar 3, 2018, 5:42 pm Reply



Mar 3, 2018, 6:07 pm Reply

This should be a full length documentary

Esha B

Mar 3, 2018, 6:51 pm Reply

Is it Weird that I have been binge watching friends Clips since last Month on YouTube everyday and then today this video is posted about Friend's Apartment.

Uday Teja

Mar 3, 2018, 7:27 pm Reply

There might have been some spoilers.

Juan carlos Fernandez gonzalez

Mar 3, 2018, 7:44 pm Reply

This is the most underrated channel ever (Great Big story)

Vegan Sports Guy

Mar 3, 2018, 8:03 pm Reply

Going to go and watch Friends now


Mar 3, 2018, 8:17 pm Reply

Current GBS poll for the most famous New York apartment:

Friends – 77%
Seinfeld – 19%
Sex and the City – 4%

.. could that BE a bigger victory?


Mar 3, 2018, 8:28 pm Reply

My favorite show.

Plot Twists

Mar 3, 2018, 8:50 pm Reply

Seinfeld is better

Nij Jin

Mar 3, 2018, 10:04 pm Reply

The producers should be lucky they found him to do the sketch model, or else friends might've not been so popular.

Mari Lamar

Mar 3, 2018, 10:24 pm Reply

Wish they didn’t say that it was actually not in NYC :/ love this video by the way!

Tobias Fünke

Mar 3, 2018, 10:45 pm Reply

The friends apt is not even in the top 3 most famous NY apartments

Gabriela Justin

Mar 3, 2018, 11:16 pm Reply

I didn’t ever realize it was purple

Suga Infires

Mar 3, 2018, 11:19 pm Reply

Does Kim Namjoon know of this?

Winston Poptart

Mar 3, 2018, 11:28 pm Reply

Seinfeld apartment set is a more famous NYC apartment….


Mar 3, 2018, 11:49 pm Reply

What's a friend?


Mar 3, 2018, 11:54 pm Reply

So no one told you life was gonna be this way


Mar 3, 2018, 1:53 am Reply

Could you be wearing any more clothes?

BadaBing BadaBoom

Mar 3, 2018, 1:59 am Reply

The editing is… perfection.

Double Depresso

Mar 3, 2018, 5:04 am Reply

no amount of apartment designing will make joey share his food

Double Depresso

Mar 3, 2018, 5:04 am Reply

are some of the furniture from pottery barn?

Binar Lestari

Mar 3, 2018, 6:44 am Reply

that secret door at Monica's

Destynee Paradise

Mar 3, 2018, 7:11 am Reply

This man is a genius and is amazing! He really inspired me to be a designer and be creative. Thanks to him, we can all enjoy watching the everyday apartment of Monica and Rachel as well as Two and a Half Men.


Mar 3, 2018, 8:02 am Reply

That's so sweet ?

Allen Han

Mar 3, 2018, 8:58 am Reply

When I went to watch Conan live. I walked by sound stages at Warner Bros. Past by the set of Friends.

It's crazy they keep some sound stages around. It was fun visit the Friends set.


Mar 3, 2018, 10:01 am Reply

i'm the happiest bitch ever

lucy lilith

Mar 3, 2018, 10:15 am Reply

my eyes, they water


Mar 3, 2018, 11:54 am Reply

I'll be there for you when the rain starts to pour. 🙂

Prathamesh Gholap

Mar 3, 2018, 12:34 pm Reply

Could the set be any better?

Grisile HNNW

Mar 3, 2018, 1:12 pm Reply

What a great video, thank you once again.

Mehak Minu

Mar 3, 2018, 2:42 pm Reply

He is a genius…

Zen Den

Mar 3, 2018, 3:46 pm Reply

I enjoyed the video, but seriously, Friends is a horrible and corny show. can't believe people can ever get remotely interested in it. otherwise, neat video and interesting perspective.

nick longstaffe

Mar 3, 2018, 3:48 pm Reply

Rachel Is a fox

xihang yang

Mar 3, 2018, 4:48 pm Reply

no use of computer program or 3d printer. still use old fashion way?


Mar 3, 2018, 7:30 pm Reply

Great set but the layout of the coffee shop did not flow well


Mar 3, 2018, 8:41 pm Reply

Thanks for sharing!


Mar 3, 2018, 12:09 am Reply

Video idea I think you should make a video of the origin of the juice box and the bendy straw

Ricardo Siahaan

Mar 3, 2018, 7:48 am Reply

So one told you life was gonna be this way?

Sambo Rambo

Mar 3, 2018, 11:45 am Reply

Friends. The whitest show on television.

marta Lis

Mar 3, 2018, 8:54 pm Reply

Well I have to say he did a better job than I could have ever expected

Desmond Yap

Mar 3, 2018, 2:50 am Reply


Erica Rix

Mar 3, 2018, 7:54 am Reply

I almost cried watching this? Friends is everything.

Extreme Comedy

Mar 3, 2018, 11:19 am Reply

I never got any likes??

Adrina Valeda

Mar 3, 2018, 11:51 am Reply

I’ve been rewatching Friends this week ?


Mar 3, 2018, 1:41 pm Reply

I understand that Rachel, Ross, Monica, and Chandler came from extremely wealthy families. And Joey was just Chandler’s roommate who I assumed pulled the weight on rent. But how did Phoebe afford to live in the neighborhood?

Brock White

Mar 3, 2018, 1:56 pm Reply

This is such brilliant work that the room becomes invisible until referred to!


Mar 3, 2018, 3:21 pm Reply

yeah i would be lucky to if i had that talent and got paid 1 million per episode eventually lol


Mar 3, 2018, 7:54 pm Reply

it's amazing how 3:16 minutes can be entertaining and informative at the same time.
btw a real like friends apartement in West village would cost $5,100 a month (that's what google said)

Chico C

Mar 3, 2018, 2:21 am Reply

So well edited, congratulations for the video


Mar 3, 2018, 4:18 am Reply

what is Chandler Bing’s Job

Rachel Z.

Mar 3, 2018, 3:49 pm Reply

These videos are sooooo interesting.

Lewis Mantle

Mar 3, 2018, 8:53 pm Reply

He is genuinely so interesting

Jonatan Villagran

Mar 3, 2018, 2:42 am Reply

Phoebe should have become an Xmen she had mental Powers, like that time of "who's singing?"

Morten Solvang

Mar 3, 2018, 6:48 am Reply

Isn't that guy the Engineering Guy here on Youtube who stopped uploading a couple of years ago?

The War Mac88 Show

Mar 3, 2018, 8:19 am Reply


Ace Spade

Mar 3, 2018, 3:21 am Reply

Hahahahaha I was just watching friends

Forca Krivanjeva

Mar 3, 2018, 11:38 am Reply

clap clap clap clap

Nancy Martinez

Mar 3, 2018, 6:44 am Reply

Made my day


Mar 3, 2018, 6:26 pm Reply

Nobody has said this was a "pivotable" show??? 🙂 2:14

Also, great set! Now I have to check out BBT's set – which defies the laws of architecture, but works so well.


Mar 3, 2018, 6:50 am Reply

one of the best tv shows


Mar 3, 2018, 2:29 pm Reply

He designed it so that no black people could get in.

Edward Ratliff

Mar 3, 2018, 4:01 am Reply

Look at the baby fat on Jennifer Anniston. Beautiful! I wasn't old enough to really appreciate her assets lol. But she has aged really well and is still straight up perfect.


Apr 4, 2018, 4:41 pm Reply

Friends w/ benefits and from amount of time at Central Perk and the Purple Apartment… Friends w/ no jobs.

Jeff Sanders

Apr 4, 2018, 6:39 am Reply

this is the most amazing youtube channel, thanks!

Nicole Wong

Apr 4, 2018, 7:20 am Reply

"pivotal" moment hehehe

Ignacy K

Apr 4, 2018, 9:24 pm Reply

wow so 1 dude makes all these sh!t empty shows, wish i could be designing something pointless like that


Aug 8, 2018, 4:45 am Reply

Actually, I saw a clip of one of the early seasons, and it showed the closet door was open, filled with neatly stacked towels. Must be where Monica kept her 11 categories of towels. XD


Jan 1, 2019, 11:50 pm Reply

Awwww……….he made all the memories possible through his blue print design of the apartment.Way to go John Shaffner! I enjoy watching the show when I was younger.The whole cast made my teens years enjoyable.

Scott Dove

Jan 1, 2019, 3:43 am Reply

John's not just one of the best in the business, he's one of the nicest, too. Always been a pleasure to work with him.

R.J. B

Jan 1, 2019, 4:29 am Reply

Very cool. Plus, what makes it even more so is I went to the UofM (Missoula, MT) with John. So good to see what a huge success he has had over the years.


Aug 8, 2019, 5:13 pm Reply

And thank you for that !

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