TV Shows
Published November 2, 2023

‘Loki’: Designing O.B.’s New Workspace in Episode 5

"When he redesigned R&A in the TVA, he unwittingly recreated that space.”

ob workspace loki

Episode 5 of Marvel Studios Loki takes views to a new place (and timeline) that seems eerily similar to locations already visited. After Time Slipping in out of the blue, Loki finds himself in a workspace inhabited by “A.D. Doug” — aka, O.B. It takes Loki a second to get his bearings, but slipping aside, if you’re thinking this space looks almost like a mirror of O.B.’s workstation at the Time Variance Authority, you’d be right. Because it is.

Originally, the creative team behind Loki was looking for an actual space to film O.B.’s new location on the timeline, but, as Production Designer Kasra Farahani explains to Marvel.com, reusing the first set made more sense. “I pitched that idea because there was just nothing. We were looking for a location for O.B.’s real-world workshop. There were things that were cool, but there wasn't anything that was cool enough.”

Episode 5 follows Loki on a mission to bring all his friends from the TVA back together, corralling everyone inside O.B.’s workspace in Pasadena, California. It’s a space they’ve inhibited before, and now they’re back there again as Loki frantically searches for a way to repair the flailing timelines.

“It occurred to me that this could be an opportunity for a really fun gag,” Farahani continues. “In my mind, when O.B. was brought from the timeline, he'd spent so much time in his real-world workspace, that however much brain wiping was done, the architecture of this space was just so deeply ingrained in the fiber of his mind. When he redesigned R&A in the TVA, he unwittingly recreated that space.”

“I think that was something throughout the episode we were talking about you wanted it to just feel like you're home with these characters, but truly uncanny in the true sense of the word,” Executive Producer Kevin Wright adds. “It's home-like, and that is what makes it feel familiar, but also potentially really odd. A lot of that was trying to capture, again— and this was a through line in Season 1, bringing it through here— a little bit of that Wizard of Oz feel of, its home, but it's not. It's filled with familiar faces, but they're not the people that you know.”

The set first seen in Episode 1 of Season 2 has been completely stripped and re-dressed for this new location (and yes, Farahani teases that there are dozens of hidden details throughout). The biggest difference is that pneumatic tubes are now gone and there’s so much light streaming in from giant windows in the back.

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“The R&A is designed to basically be a white triangle made by the funnel on top of an orange circle, which is the background. And with the real-world space in 205, we flip that. We made the funnel black. It's like a black triangle. And we opened the windows on the back wall and made the back wall white. So it's like a black triangle on a white background.”

Additionally, in case you hadn’t noticed, there is no natural light anywhere in the TVA; everything just comes from lamps. “Going into that space and having all of this natural, warm light pouring through the windows in those scenes really makes it feel completely different,” Wright adds.

Farahani worked closely with cinematographer Isaac Bauman to create a new feel for the space, with everyone honing in on those windows. 

“I wanted it to feel beautiful and emotional, which I think we achieved, but rarely in Loki do we have the opportunity to get daylight lighting a space from the side,” Isaac Bauman explains. “It's technical cinematography nerd stuff, but that was all Tungsten [lights]. Each of those windows, the entire height of the window was just one 20K light stacked on top of one another. The windows themselves were frosted. I didn't need to diffuse or bounce the light at all. I just had all of these enormous, giant circular hard lights pointing directly at those windows, glowing them. That's the push of daylight.”

And in the end, what’s created is a space on the timeline that feels strikingly similar, but also new and exciting.

“The hope is that you'll get this uncanny thing that happens for the audience where they walk in, and they can tell— like a match cut in their mind,” Farahani adds. “They can tell that this is the same space, and yet, it's completely different.”

For all time, always! Loki Season 2 is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. New episodes arrive on the timeline Thursdays at 6:00 PM PT. 

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