“Don’t Worry Darling”, directed by Olivia Wilde, was released in cinemas as a remarkable psychological thriller. Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, and Wilde star in this story that explores the intricacies of suburban life in the 1950s. One of them, hence, finds herself in a rabbit hole of mysterious secrets by introducing her into this idyllic suburban community life. The movie has been generating buzz with its mega-star cast and a really good plot twist, which is bound to be shocking with some insane hooks. A twist developed further. Expectations are so big from this movie from its director, particularly in terms of its style features, and those who have waited with bated breath are bound to get hooked. The movie builds on some themes of paranoia gender roles and societal norms, which have made this movie interesting.

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Suburban Life_©Warner Bros. Pictures

Palm Springs, California

From endless blue skies and swaying palm trees to meticulously manicured lawns and retro-style cul-de-sacs, Palm Springs, California stands as the perfect cinematic setting designed specifically for the big screen. The fictional equivalent of Palm Springs, Victory Town tells the story of Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), a married couple living in California’s meticulously planned desert enclave. Jack works for the secret Project Victory, run by mysterious leader Frank (Chris Pine). Meanwhile, the community’s stylish women devote their mornings to housework and cooking while their afternoons are spent in leisurely pursuits: gossiping and drinking martinis under bright umbrellas, embodying the opulence of mid-century suburban life.

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Suburban Life_©Warner Bros. Pictures

Natural Beauty But With A Danger

Production designer Katie Byron, along with the art and set decoration teams, and location manager Chris Baugh went to great lengths to secure filming locations at mid-century landmarks. Despite the difficulties of shooting in untouched historical locations, they decorated them with period-appropriate furniture. Byron was inspired by famous Palm Springs architects and designers, especially Albert Frey, whose influence led him to integrate a rock into the couple’s bedroom. Byron explores the interplay between beauty and danger in the design of “Don’t Worry Darling”. The Manhattan Project serves as inspiration and a reference point. The concept of a community isolated amid extreme natural beauty but still fraught with danger.

The Headquarters, Volcano House

Volcano House serves as the headquarters of Victory Town in the film, located outside of Barstow, California in Newberry Springs. Built on top of a volcanic cinder cone in the late 1960s, this unique structure previously belonged to television presenter Huell Howser. In one gripping scene, Pugh’s character climbs a narrow gravel road to reach the house that is the epicenter of Project Victory, led by Frank (Chris Pine). The only changes to the building were removing the deck, building stairs leading up to it, and adding the mirrored façade.

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Volcano House_©Warner Bros. Pictures

Alice and Jack’s Perfect Utopian House 

Builtin the 1960s by famed Los Angeles and Palm Springs architects Palmer & Krisel, the Canyon View homes were located at a cul-de-sac off South Palm Canyon Drive, creating an ideal utopian setting to serve as the city’s focal point. For the interior design of Alice and Jack’s residence, Byron took inspiration from mid-century designer Alexander Girard, famous for his sunlight motifs and vibrant colors. The production design team meticulously approached even details that could never be seen on the screen. Byron states that they carefully considered everything that should be in a house. Perhaps it is precisely these details that make this couple’s house so perfect and utopian. Further enhancing the atmosphere of the home, jalousie windows with textured glass are an unusual choice for luxury residences, but they subtly hint at danger.

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Alice and Jack’s Perfect Utopian House_©Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the standout vintage pieces is Alice and Jack’s television set, which features a slight frame around the screen. The couple’s house overlooks the canyon from a great vantage point. Byron uses the feeling of being made of glass in the house a lot. The excessive use of glass in the space expresses a very basic feeling. The feeling that everything is so open that you can easily see your neighbor’s entire house. However, while everything is so obvious, the hidden details add a different tension to the film.

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Everything Is So Obvious_©Warner Bros. Pictures


Thus, in “Don’t Worry Darling” the movie captures beautifully the interplay of beauty and danger that permeates the five decades to come through this iconic mid-century architecture lens. It takes the film into a meticulously designed suburban utopia, where the facade of perfection somehow hides unsettling secrets from beneath the surface. Production designer Katie Byron, along with her team, has put a lot of painstaking work into identifying filming locations at mid-century landmarks that would be furnished and decorated according to the period’s standards. Inspired by famous architects like Albert Frey and Palmer & Krisel, she seamlessly managed to integrate elements of danger into the idyllic settings, echoing the underlying themes of paranoia and societal expectations.

From the volcanic cinder cone of the headquarters at Volcano House to the utopian perfection of Alice and Jack’s Canyon View home, each architectural detail contributes to the film’s palpable tension. Juxtaposing the open expanses of glass with hidden intricacies, Byron makes use of a technique to create a sense of unease that permeates every frame, pulling the audience further into the mystery of Victory Town. “Don’t Worry Darling,”by and large, then highlights how the mid-century architecture, apart from its aesthetic attraction, is capable of revealing an awful lot regarding the character’s desires, anxieties, and ultimately, the facade of perfection that is under threat at any point in time. This invites the audience to contemplate the true price of chasing utopian dreams in an age fraught with danger.



01_Set in the 1950s_©Warner Bros. Pictures

02_Suburban Life_©Warner Bros. Pictures

03_Volcano House_©Warner Bros. Pictures

04_Alice and Jack’s Perfect Utopian House_©Warner Bros. Pictures

05_Everything Is So Obvious_©Warner Bros. Pictures


  • Saperstein, P. (2022). ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Is a Dazzling Tour of Palm Springs’ Greatest Mid-Century Architecture. [online] Variety. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
  • Bazilian, E. (2022). Get the Inside Scoop on ‘Don’t Worry Darling’s’ Set Design. [online] Frederic Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
  • Woodward, A. (2022). ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is an eerie ode to Palm Springs’ mid-century style. [online] The Spaces. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].

Simay Karadogan is an architect living in Istanbul. She is someone who loves to write, especially for his profession, and admires many subjects related to a structure. Advanced building technologies, smart and sustainable buildings, construction management and computer-aided architecture are among her favorite areas to read and research.