Jim Henson: A Master of Set Design

Dressing the studio for lifestyle shoots or merchandising the shop floor gives you a whole new take on the importance of surrounding design, which leads us on to note our admiration for the jaw-dropping beauty, detail and creativity which Jim Henson installed into his set design. It might be a touch more than a stone’s throw away from interiors, but we thought his stunning dressings, craftsmanship and masterful aesthetics were absolutely deserving of a blog post. Naturally, Henson had an incredible team collaborating with him on all of these projects, but as he was the leading genius, we are building this story around him.  From ‘The Muppet Show’ to ‘Labyrinth’, ‘The Dark Crystal ‘and Jim’s son Brian’s ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, we can’t help but fall in love with the unreal layouts and pure imagination captured in these sets.



The Dark Crystal (1982)

The Dark Crystal had a more menacing tone than Labyrinth and this can be seen in the puppetry of the Skeksis and the surroundings they inhabited. One minute we’re shown an ornate, but revolting, dining space with Gothic and other-worldly leanings and the next transported to mythical forests and even a steampunk-lovers observatory. Incredible. The fantasy genre owes a lot to this movie.


Labyrinth (1986)

Anyone who decides to physically build a room inspired by M.C. Escher’s Relativity deserves serious respect. However, Henson didn’t stop there, creating a real-life bubble ballroom, a goblin-infested throne room and a far-reaching junkyard full to the brim with the most amazing trinkets. And don’t forget this was before the power of CGI took over completely – all of these places and spaces were built by hand and physically existed for a time.


The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppet Christmas Carol wasn’t actually fronted by Jim Henson, as he had passed away two years previous. However, his son Brian took on the family legacy with gusto and created this timeless favourite. Though it’s not wise to mention Christmas before November, you’ll have to forgive this one instance. We love how stark Scrooge’s office is, contrasted with ornate books, brass gas lamps and dark wooden furnishings. Bonus points must go to the gingham-covered table, wooden chairs and tiny blue bowl to be found in the home of the family of mice featured in the film.


The Muppet Show (1976-1981)

An iconic scene in the world of Jim Henson, the Muppet Theatre was the home of every performance the gang created between 1976 and 1981 (original run). From the heavy red velvet drapes to the Corinthian columned arches, palm leaf plants, ornate walls and seating booths, this is a real display of 70s/80s  show business royalty.



This stained glass window of Bert and Ernie from the still beloved Sesame Street could be found in Jim Henson’s actual office. Featuring himself and Frank Oz mid-performance, how gorgeous is this glass visual.



*All visual imagery featured in this article is the property of The Jim Henson Company and any affiliates involved in production.