the Process
by morag cook on July 6th, 2012

After presenting the concept and the 'frame-work' for the design, we now work through the different materials available to us 

The Materials are dictated by
-structural integrity with out having many hours of labour to build
-thickness with out weight (for easy lifting)
-how long the show will run
-fire retardant qualities
-how easy it is to fix any breaks or scratches
- how neat and 'sharp' the finish will be.
-the least amount of labour or treatments (i.e. fire retarding and painting)
-the least amount of waste
-the quality of projected light on the material surface

After much researching, the Production Manager has suggested Polystyrene. The product offers a dilemma, it does meet all of the guidelines required but as a petroleum-derived material, comes at an environmental cost. 
The big plus is it can be cut into the cylinder shapes we need at the lengths we need with hardly any waste. It lasts a long time, is produced with fire retardant and it has excellent structural properties. This begs the question, can you balance out the negatives with its positives?

The designer in theatre has just the same responsibilities as the rest of the creative industries. I feel in this case, the plusses outweigh the negatives.

This now feeds back into the design. I resize the cylinders so they are cut from the polystyrene block with minimal waste. This also helps create a better and more efficient truck pack.

The polystyrene will need a coating, and this leads me to the beautiful and flexible core-flute which in a test with a data projector, proves to be an amazing surface. (pictures to come). I love this product. Its architectural, industrial, commercial and readily available. It has a graphic and plastic quality which is strongly in line with the design concept.
We now finalise the details of the cylinders to be used by the performers as props by storyboarding the work as it stands so far. This will help to reduce any waste with good planning and excellent concept work. 

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