Where are all the set design companies hiding?
February 14, 2017 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to create as complete a list as possible of a specific type of company in the US: one that designs and builds sets and props for film and television, as well as large installations for events and festivals. Fabrication in-house is preferred but not required.

Say you were a big tech company, who needed a huge installation for an event, or a set built for a commercial. How would you go about finding a company to do the work?

An example of this type of company would be One Hat One Hand. Are there others like them? My Google-Fu is failing me. I've tried 'set design' and 'design-build' as search terms, but it's not really turning up what I'm looking for. Where can I find this information?

Search term suggestions, links to industry-specific sites or groups, or direct links to similar companies would all be helpful.
posted by ananci to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
here is http://variety411.com/
you can browse categories including "set design"...
source: Librarians "in the know" once used its predecessor print titles "LA 411" and "NY 411" as standard reference books.
posted by calgirl at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2017

Maybe also look at Industrial Design companies or Experiential Design/Marketing firms.

For example, Set Creative or Figure Plant
posted by hydra77 at 1:35 PM on February 14, 2017

For a commercial, the agency and their art director hire a production designer who designs the set, then the company rents the studio to shoot the commercial, and the set is built in that space by a set constriction company.
Set construction company
Production design
posted by Ideefixe at 3:51 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Look also for "scene shop" and "theatrical design and builders."
posted by gateau at 4:35 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

A lot (most) of the time, the designer and the scene shop are not the same company, though they may work together regularly.
Hudson Scenic Studio builds a lot of Broadway shows, as well as installations for various events.
posted by Adridne at 5:53 PM on February 14, 2017

My sister does this! She wasn't sure what to call herself either. I believe she now introduces herself as an industrial designer for a custom fabrication and design shop. It strikes me as an industry with a zillion weird niches and specialties, and it seems like there are a lot of different ways to slice and dice between conceptual design, industrial design and fabrication across and within firms.
posted by potrzebie at 8:47 PM on February 14, 2017

George P Johnson - GPJ - does Experience Marketing that includes stuff like auto show booths ("booth" really undersells the scale and scope of these things), displays and engagements. They own (sort of? I'm not really sure) Spinifex Group, which specializes in the content/projection mapping/interactive electronics components for GPJ. Spinifix also have their own clients and projects.

I've done a little data wrangling for the Spinifex Group but I'm not really clear on where Spinifex ends and GPJ begins, despite having directly asked numerous employees about it.

They fabricate in-house and have facilities in several locations. There's a big one in Torrance, CA.

Try searching on "Experience Marketing" for more of that type of scenic.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2017

You guys are amazing, this is exactly what I needed! Calgirl, that Variety411 site is really useful.

Thanks everyone!!
posted by ananci at 10:55 AM on February 15, 2017

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