the stations and consoles of the NX-01 bridge

Here are more from the bridge series.  Doug’s beautiful exterior designs really made for exciting interior sets and compartments.  Doug and Mike pushed for the Jefferies Tube set only to both get big fat punches in the face!!!  NO Jefferies Tube on this ship!!!!  They got their way when we had to recreate the TOS sets a few years down the line!!! 

To follow up yesterday’s navigational station post, here are the drawings and concepts that led to the floating and side stations on the bridge set.  Herman Zimmerman was quite the giddy one on this show, and he had the time of his life designing these sets.  Having the history and experience of creating so many other bridges, he pulled all of his knowledge together to make his ST masterpiece sets.  By applying the old philosophy of “If I had the chance to do it over again I would incorporate what I’ve learned from the past,”  he designed this set in such a way that it was a very easy set to film in.  Making the set full of wild walls and pull out panels and viewscreens, you could get the camera anywhere.  In addition to that, he worked the filming lights into the set, so set-up time would be greatly reduced!!!  He is truly a genius at this and he is one heck of a nice guy to boot.

Herman’s first order of business was to get the shapes and details of the consoles worked out.  The bridge was going to be compact and circular based with two levels to work on.  As you saw yesterday, there was the thought of a cylindrical base that the stations would be incorporated onto.  At one point, the entire bridge was drawn up this way, and in the big picture of things looked awful.  Seeing these drawings again, they seem very dated aesthetically.  So from there we went with more angular ideas, and then finally a faceted version came about with a subtle wrap-around feel to the stations.  The sliding chair idea really worked awesomely on the bridge so the crew could work on the wall stations, then swival and slide to the inward rail stations!!!  Mike Okuda, Jim Van Over, Anthony Fredrickson, and the lovely Denise Okuda went to town on the graphics and animations.  Mike’s eye for detail had no bounds here.  Anthony filled all the holes with his greeblie mechanics, and Jim went berserk creating some incredible screens and animations!! Denise held everything together with a smile on her face and was always reciting some fun lines from Babe the Pig!!!  With all that said, here are the art and images from the pilot sets of Enterprise…

angular and tubular don't mix!

getting better

getting better

almost there!

almost there!

and the final designs!

and the final designs!













rough wall station

rough wall station

rough 2

rough 2

and a final sketch

and a final sketch

Mike and I had talked about how cool it was to see the operations manual on board the Space shuttle and at the stations of the Navy ships we had been on and thought it would be cool to have one at all the stations on the bridge. this is the spiral flip book version that later became Mike's hard bound text manual.

Mike and I had talked about how cool it was to see the operations manual on board the Space shuttle and at the stations of the Navy ships we had been on, and thought it would be cool to have one at all the stations on the bridge of the Enterprise as well. This is the spiral flip book version that later became Mike's hard bound text manual.



b, operations manual

b, operations manual

a right hand station, (Hoshi's )

a right hand station, (Hoshi's )

Hoshi's station new view

Hoshi's station new view

left handed station (Reed's)

forward left handed station



right handed

right handed

40 Responses to “the stations and consoles of the NX-01 bridge”

  1. June 16, 2009 at 6:28 am

    The shots of the crew putting everything together are interesting. I don’t tend to consider all the skilled labourers involved, from electricians to carpenters and so on. I just think about the designers sketching it all out and then the actors standing on the completed sets. A nice insight there.

  2. 2 DeanneM
    June 16, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I really like the open feel and, as I mentioned before, the ability of the cast to interact. The swiveling and sliding chairs allow them to easily face whatever direction is necessary quickly, either as part of the story or for the cameras.

    Adding the information about Herman and the fact that he designed the sets for such ease of setup and film makes me appreciate it all even more. I really like the Operating Manual and think that would be just awesome to have…a pretty, gold Ops Manual for the NX-01! Man, that would be sweet!!

  3. 5 Freak
    June 16, 2009 at 6:59 am

    These look great I love the verison with the console not just on the rail but also on the stand, where the cable would go into the deck. (The Picture under “upright tubular part 2”)

    You know the one thing that bugged me aobut Enterprise was that, there no sign of a normal keyboard, with all those knobs and buttons. unless it was on a touch screen moniter which would be very uncortabile to write a report on, and give you not much left of the screen to see what you where typing. Crerating a report with picture much be a right pain. 😉

  4. 6 Richard Knapp
    June 16, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Beautiful work John – I really liked the “practical” look and feel of the NX-01. It always amazes me how much behind the scene effort is involved bringing these types of shows to life. Thank you!

  5. 7 Jonathan Burke
    June 16, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I have always loved the bridge stations on the NX. I like how everyone could turn around from the wall and then back to the rail stations and would face the captain. It made it seem almost like each person had to do more than the crew on TOS did, which made sense given that it was an older ship with less people. 🙂

    (*gasp* Is that why no navigator? :()

  6. June 16, 2009 at 7:51 am

    One of the best features of all the NX interiors was the sense that it was a real, functional, practical (albeit futuristic) design. The bridge is certainly the most sensible and “real-world” work oriented of all the various designs over the years.

    Switches, monitors, keyboards, displays…right down to the padded wrist rests on the consoles, the operator’s manual, and the grips on the vertical surfaces. I’ve necver thought the NX looked “more advanced” than TNG-era ships for this and other reasons.

    Keep ’em coming, Johnny!

    • 11 johneaves
      June 16, 2009 at 7:59 am

      thanks Tim, Pulling back from the inset monitors and using the flat screens mounted off the wall really pulled the look back and away from the tng and Tos look. Flat screens were still pretty much on the very $$$$$ expensive and the cutting edge of new gadgets in 01 and it was really a wild treat to see that bridge when everything was fired up!!!

  7. 12 Simon Matthew Coles
    June 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

    The NX interiors are beautifully designed, though I was never keen on the bronze colour scheme. Didn’t like it then, still don’t like it in retrospect. Combined with those purple overalls it made the series singularly unpleasant visually. I do love the design work however, the physical buttons, the levers – it could easily have been cheesy, but in the execution it worked. Just a pity about the colour scheme.

    • 13 johneaves
      June 16, 2009 at 8:18 am

      I didn’t mind it but it doesn’t matter to me because i don’t see those colors,,, not in my color blindness scale!!!

  8. 14 the bluesman
    June 16, 2009 at 8:19 am


    I’ve got mixed feeling on the NX bridge…I love the pilots station with the control yoke and the sliders a pushy thingies.

    I also love the fact that there is a fligth manual at one of the stations. I am sure there is a manual online in the ships computer, but the reason for a old paper manual would be for back up…computers can fail. And again it’s a nice touch to pilots and astronauts today.

    As far as the stations I guess it’s just hard to top Matt Jefferies clean functional and ergonomic bridge layout of the original ship. There’s parts I like of the NX bridge and others not so much, but you and the crew did do a great job on it!

    • 15 johneaves
      June 16, 2009 at 8:32 am

      Hard to top or even equal anything Matt did!!! he set the bar very high and it still stands perfectly fine even though it was over 40 years ago. can’t really fix perfection, you can only try to honor it!

  9. 17 Ryan T. Riddle
    June 16, 2009 at 9:48 am

    As I said over at Doug’s blog, the NX-01 sets were had the most verisimilitude of all the ModTrek sets. I felt like I was on a starship that could really be built in the here and now, as if it could take off at any moment from Paramount Studios.

  10. 18 Ben
    June 16, 2009 at 10:01 am

    best bridge ever. thanks a lot for sharing these precious pics, especially with the little known details as the ships manual book for example

  11. June 16, 2009 at 10:05 am

    These explorations are a lot of fun to see, John, thank you for sharing. I’m loving some of the concepts that you proposed for these stations.

    I have a question that you may have an answer to regarding the sets themselves – What’s going on with all the texture painting on the consoles? I even noticed it in the latest Star Trek movie (particularly the shots of the transporter console). It’s becoming more and more noticable with all the HD versions out there. Note your picture above (b, operations manual). I’m guessing it’s to cover up the fact that a lot of these components are made from MDF, plywood, etc. but I’m curious if perhaps it’s a mechanism to add a level of busy tones to what you see on the screen.


    • 21 johneaves
      June 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

      the texture hides a multitude of construction lines and fasteners, and it adds a lovely surface to light. If the texture is flat it reflects like a mirror regardless of what color it is, the texture diffuses this and allows the grips and DP to balance the light

  12. 23 Matt Wright
    June 16, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Awesome info John 🙂 And I love the flight manual touch. Something we never saw on screen.

  13. June 16, 2009 at 11:56 am

    John Thanks for the sketches and the photos!! Will you be showing off any of the graphics of the screens or on the controls. Its very hard to see them on tv and I can’t find a lot of photos of them.


  14. 29 Scott D
    June 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Love the attention to detail. Too bad we never really got close and personal. But I just love the Manual. And I never noticed the Ergonomic pads either. I bet those consoles were more comfortable than those poor souls who had to stand up all day in the future. 😛

    But I have to ask you, John. Why so many handrails?

    • 30 DeanneM
      June 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

      I imagine they thought that it would be good to have something to hold onto if they were getting fired upon or maybe went through a rough patch of debri or such. I remember seeing all the flying bodies in the saucer section of the “D” when it crashed! Handrails may have been a bad thing in that extreme case, but that’s the idea anyway.

      Just my 2 shavings of latinum, Scott! 🙂

    • 31 johneaves
      June 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

      just cause!!

    • 33 the bluesman
      June 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

      If you loose the artificial gravity, you might need something to hold on to.

      And not Hoshi or T’Pol!

  15. 35 Terry
    June 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the pics of the consoles, the one thing I always liked about the NX-01 sets were the black ID tags on everything, I spent 12 yrs in the Navy and we had the same thing, it is a small thing that you wouldn’t normally notice but it does help ground everything in reality, as if we could amost build it today.


  16. 36 Matt Boardman
    June 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve always loved the NX-01 bridge. There’s something about it that is just so real. I have to agree that the tubular didn’t quite work, but man, was the final result a beauty to behold! I always wanted to visit that set and it pains my heart to no end to know what it’s final fate was. 😦

    Back just before Nemesis came out, they were running a contest on the Nemesis website. There were two games you could play, a collectable virtual card game and a flash game where you were aboard the Enterprise-E and you had to try to destroy Shinzon’s ship. By participating you got x amount of entries and if you collected all the cards, it gave you like a bonus 100,000 entries. The tricky part was, the cards appeared at random through out the day. You could try to trade with people etc. The Grand Prize? An all expense paid trip to Paramount to visit the bridge of the NX-01 and I think you even got to be an extra. Sadly, even with the extra 100,000 bonus entries and playing that silly game until the wee hours of the morning, I was not the Grand Prize winner. LOL However, I did win 2nd place and got a PS2! 🙂

  17. 37 Lt. Washburn
    June 16, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Great production design.

    About the Jefferies Tubes…I loved the 60’s era design you guys did for the TOS sets, but I also really liked the whole complex of sets built for the catwalk stuff. You have that cool off-corridor set with the angled ladder well and then you come up in that really great catwalk set with the doors that let you suggest it ran the lenght of the nacelle. Really great set.

  18. 38 FSL
    June 16, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    The NX bridge is lovely. Love that everyone can look at the view screen or at each other. It seems very functional yet very complex.

  19. 39 Nevets
    June 18, 2009 at 2:10 am

    I have always been fasincated by the behind-the-scenes production of TREK ever since I read “Inside Star Trek”. It’s nice to see some DS9 & ENT production design sketches & BTS finally showing up. Paramount let us Trekno & TV production fans down by not releasing any BTS info on TREK since DS9’s season 1. Then ENT came along and it was truly a blackout of info. I would love several new TREK BTS coffee table books.

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June 2009

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