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As a film school, it is our concern to introduce our production design students to creative, environmentally conscious and "green" production.
- We look for new possibilities for resource-saving (e.g. through "upcycling") and low-emission production.
- We explore new fields of research.
- We push experiments.
- We develop solutions for a "Green Art Department" and implement them.
Working "green" in scenic design determines the future of our scenic design work and at the same time presents us with new challenges. This is because the demands of film production are not designed for long production processes, time-consuming solutions and lengthy experimentation. The use of toxic solvents, tropical woods, and petroleum-based plastics, as well as a throwaway mentality, has been common practice for years because their handling is easy, supposedly fast, and also cheap.
So what to do?
First, we rolled up our sleeves, formed a student sustainability group, questioned the use of materials and supplies, raided the scenery workshop, turned over cans and jars, banned toxic, solvent-based liquids, collected green addresses, purchased an e-load bike, expanded the fundus, and filled the materials warehouse to the brim with reusable materials.
Not exhausted by this, we looked to the past, reflected on old ways of manufacturing and synchronized them with the requirements of the future. Here - as the most resource-intensive and largest financial item in set design - set construction quickly became our focus.
As a result, we rediscovered and "reanimated" for ourselves the so-called "aperture system" that was used in earlier decades in the studio and theater context: Scenery walls made of individual elements for "longer periods of use". A basic prerequisite for this revival was that ifs provided sufficient new storage space.
"Green" set construction at ifs.
Our reusable wooden set walls are created according to a metric system with fixed widths and a uniform height (widths of 30 cm, 50 cm as well as 100 cm and an overall height of 330 cm): A frame construction made of theater slats, planked with 6mm thick multiplex boards from sustainable FCS certified forestry, results in a metric basic framework, the durable and reusable basis for all further set constructions at the ifs. The walls are assembled in the desired widths, the joints are closed with solvent-free joint compound, and then covered with nettle. The nettle fabric is fastened with staples. The nettle surface can then be designed accordingly, depending on the design.
In our current set construction, "WarteRaum", plaster surfaces, wood paneling as well as paper wallpaper can be seen. These surface imitations - some in natural color, certified with the Blue Angel or from remnants - are so deceptively real that they make set designers' hearts beat faster. When dismantling the "WarteRaum", the nettle fabric can be easily removed from the walls and the walls dismantled. The use of screws is minimized and the loosened screws can be reused. The "skin" (the painted hessian) and the reused carpeting are disposed of. Windows and doors are returned to the used goods cycle. The bare backdrop walls, after being sanded, are returned in their original state to the storage room, where they await their next use (e.g., as a rough stone barn wall, an Art Nouveau mural, or a science fiction spaceship). The creation of the "WarteRaum" was not only a pleasure from a design point of view, we especially succeeded in approaching a "green scenery". And we look forward to continuing on this path and becoming even "greener"!
Petra Maria Wirth - Head of the Production Design Department
Andreas Müller - Studio and Workshop Manager