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Victoria Thomas-Wood

9th April 2024

Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Victoria Thomas-Wood is a set designer who has created so many gorgeous sets for big clients such as Amazon and Adidas. Thomas-Wood talks to us about falling in love with her job, designers she looks up to and dreams protects she would like to happen.

Hello Victoria! Thank you for talking to us today. We’re here to talk about your gorgeous set designs. What made you want to go down this path?

Hey, ah, thank you.So initially I went and studied fashion design after school at Bentley School of Fashion (which unfortunately is no longer there), mainly because I loved looking through fashion magazines since I was a child and assumed that because I was fascinated by the adverts and editorials that this must mean I loved the clothes and pursue this career path. Coming from a small northern working class town in Yorkshire I had no comprehension of what a broad spectrum of careers there were in the creative industries. As I progressed on my fashion course I was spending more and more time creating editorials and look books for my clothing designs than I actually was on the garments themselves and luckily this was picked up by my tutors who encouraged me to research and develop this further.

Was there a particular film that inspired you?

Film wise, I discovered director Peter Greenaway’s films when working with photographer Diogo Duarte and have definitely been inspired by his strong aesthetic and his insanely meticulous composition of every shot in all his films (that I’ve seen so far).And I couldn’t not mention almost all of Kubrick’s films. I’ve been aware of his work since I was younger than maybe I should have been to be watching his films. However after watching Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes I rewatched his films with a different perspective. That level of attention to detail, almost, if not actually, obsessive in his need to find and create the perfect shot just blows my mind!

What would you say is your style when it comes to set design?

That’s difficult really because every project is different. Every production company/ photographer or brand will come at you with a different brief. And also there is a vast different between my narrative production design work for commercial than most of my editorial and stills commercial work - which to be honest I love. However I would definitely say maximalist if I had total free reign; however certain briefs and projects I have worked on have called for a more minimal or natural set, which I also really enjoyed creating. 

You’ve created so many gorgeous sets. Was there a set that challenged you?

Thank you, that’s really sweet of you to say. In terms of challenging, maybe the commercials I did for Amazon. To watch them they look like the simplest jobs out of all my work - however they required me to recreate famous moments from films in domestic settings. The Jurassic Park one involved me making the ripples in a glass, as in the famous scene with the T-Rex and the car. I used the exact method they used in the film; which, was a bass guitar string attached into the glass and then has to be tightened to a very specific tension, then when the string is plucked it creates the circular ripples. Actually even speaking about this now makes me so happy as I adored the process of this, and that moment when I finally got the tension just right. But yes, this was a challenging process to say the least.

Which set designers do you look up to?

Oh, where do I begin…..Daughter Of Lama for sure! Simon Costin, who is an absolute legend in the industry. And also, designer aside, his Museum of British Folklore and all his work and research around this topic, whilst still sustaining his set design career is so inspirational - and a topic which is of massive interest and importance to me.Then I must mention Isabel and Helen and Gary Card. Both have achieved so much in their careers, but their exploration and movement from set designers into artists is super cool and its always been something I’ve discuss with peers and friends - what constitutes set design in comparison to say installation art. And how and why are they categorised as such...

What would be your dream project?

I haven’t done any large scale floral installations recently, and these are one of my favourite things to create, flowers are one of my favourite materials.Then also I love the immersive worlds come exhibitions that fashion brands do. One of the best exhibitions I saw was Wanderland by Hermes at The Saatchi Gallery back in 2015. Set Designer Hubert le Gall worked with the brand and 11 artists to create different worlds. To be trusted and given such scope for collaboration and exploration would be an absolute dream project! 

Lastly, if you had the opportunity to ReVamp anything in the world. What would it be?

Wow there's so many avenues I could go down with this one. But honestly right now, I'm not going to get to get on my political soapbox and sad to say but I think the whole world needs a revamp.

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