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Big Brother design is more than a set piece

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Is the AJ's piece on the set design of Big Brother (AJ 31.8.00) really challenging the right of a set designer to build a permanent set?

The function of any studio set is to perform to the limitations imposed by the programme content.

This one would have had to have been designed from the 'middleout', accommodating not only the necessary technical facilities but an additional volume of servicing space. The set is a major part of an overall production budget so, when problems such as effective sound insulation have to be overcome, the last thing a producer wants to pay for is structural virtuosity and high thermal performance.

How many practising architects have been trained to work with studio directors and engineers? How many could come up with an immediately working design, cobble up a sketch model, cost and finalise the plan, sign contract and dispatch working drawings within a matter of days? This is all in the job description of a set designer. An architect might deliberate for months, bitch like mad and then probably overspend.

To imply that Colin Pigott has designed little other than Rising Damp is both pompous and petty.

Many architects appear to spend more time pedantically protecting the status quo than actually designing anything at all.

Yet some set designers are also architects.

Janet Toner Budden, Somerset

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