Welcome to the World of Set Design…….


Hello I’m so pleased to be back…

I thought it only fitting to do a post about where I have been hiding and why there has been no blog posts in the last 6 weeks!! Well out of the blue I was asked if I could do a 6 week job on an ITV production (a return to my working roots in the art department). A four part drama series called Little Boy Blue, based on a true story about Rhys Jones, set in and filmed in Liverpool. The film industry and especially the art department is intense, long hours, very demanding and goes at the speed of 200 mph.  No time for anything, no blog, no Instagram, I just about manage to snatch tiny snippets with the family.  In this production we worked at a variety of locations and sets ranging from a police station, a ballistic lab, a cab office and a hospital to name only a few. This is where the art department as a team bring empty spaces to life. We need the viewer to believe the location is the real deal. You would not believe the level of detail and research that goes into making and creating these amazing locations and sets. (sorry I can’t show you any photographs of the sets because I’m not allowed….booooo!!!, so here below are two that I think are fab)

nanny mcphee 2
Nanny Mcphee
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby

So bear with me as I lead you into the world of film/ television and explain the visual impact of the stunning world of set design. A lot of people will watch a production, a film and will enjoy the show without paying much attention to the sets. Which is what you want in some respect. But then you get the film that captures your inspiration and is a feast for the eyes. Some films have amazing sets and the level of detail, time and dedication is spectacular. This is evident across all genres from science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, futuristic to the avant garde and they deserve to be applauded.  These films impact our style and can filter through to our home decors in many ways.  Inspired by the 70’s, bold colours, tweed period dramas to modern furturistic sets they can all ignite a spark. Sometimes you take symbols of what inspired you but sometimes ones that capture your imagination…like turning your home into a real spaceship, from Star Trek.

star trek home
The unique flat in Leicestershire Star Trek Voyager.

That I must admit is very extreme but what a great example. When a film /television production gets the combo right with all elements working together, acting, lighting, costumes, camera, directing and design the results can be breathtaking.  But mainly down to the art department of course, well I would say that! Just to add a little note, not many people know what the art department is responsible for so here is a little list….Cars, Computer Graphics, Screen Action, Visual Effects, Special Effects, Animals, Buying, Dressing, Action Props, Onscreen Food, Signage, Prop Making, Set Building, Photo-shoots, Dressing Locations along with many other job roles that can be thrown at us. Magic wand not included.

Here are 2 films that inspired me recently in set design. The first one weirdly enough is the children’s movie, Paddington Bear. The use of colour in the film is wonderful, all the characters are given a colour which is translated in their clothes and the sets. My second is Grand Hotel Budapest.  A marvel of colour, detail and imagination, this film has bundles of charm on an epic scale.

paddington bear
Paddington Bear
grand hotel
Grand Hotel Budapest

So to end this blog post, I will leave you with this….watch a film or get the paint tin out? 🙂




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