We caught up with Alessia Crescentini to learn all about her award winning project design for the Bank of Scotland flagship store in Glasgow and her foray into the new field of set design for performance.
View the Bank of Scotland case study
Find out more about this year's Forbo Escapes Competition
We were absolutely delighted to have won the competition, as we truly enjoyed designing the Bank of Scotland flagship in Glasgow. It was a unique project and Forbo was very supportive throughout, from the initial design concept to completion; they always listened carefully to our requests and met our needs fully. In fact, Forbo made several bespoke items for the project, including a beautiful colourway for Tessera In-Touch carpet tiles, which embraced the Bank of Scotland’s brand colours, while adding a little twist of colour from shades of heather.
I opted for the ‘Set Design for Performance’ course for various reasons. First of all, I have always been attracted to very well-designed theatre sets. There is so much magic and intelligence behind it, and the way a good theatre set can make you feel part of the play is just fantastic! Secondly, I love to learn new skills to help open up new opportunities for me and to broaden my social network. On this course, I met some fabulous people!
I would have loved to have completed the course in the classroom, especially because Central Saint Martins College is such an amazing and inspiring place when it comes to design and innovation, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the courses were only held online for the time being. I still had a great time though.
The eight weeks flew by actually. It was only one day a week, but we were assigned set work to complete between classes. During the pandemic, I enrolled on a few online courses, so this wasn’t my first foray into the world of online learning.
The course was well structured, and the aim was to teach us all the steps of putting together an initial design for a given play. In this case, ‘The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny’ by Bertolt Brecht. The group wasn’t big, with only about ten other students on the course, and we worked on a platform where we could see each other, talk directly to the tutors and upload our progress/work on a communal Padlet page. This was a valuable collaboration tool, which allowed us to share ideas and suggestions.
The aspect I enjoyed most was probably the way the course pushed me to think differently and taught me how to work creatively on my ideas. Set design for performances isn’t as rigid as retail design; in fact, I felt a kind of freedom from certain rules. The design isn’t meant to last but the key point is to capture the audience and uniquely translate the script.
I think it has helped me to look at any design brief differently and it has educated me on how to translate my initial ideas into a full concept. As part of the course, we also had to build a Set Model Box on a 1:20 scale. Building our final design was pretty challenging but definitely worthwhile, as it gave us a chance to see our initial ideas coming to life. I enjoyed getting to know this sector immensely, and it has really inspired me to potentially explore it further, either through more studying or in the form of a part-time internship.
Definitely. I’m now committed to ensuring I have more time for myself and to use this time to improve my skills and broaden my design knowledge. Since the pandemic started, I became a freelancer working from home, while still working in retail design. I also now offer an interior styling service, after completing a styling course at the beginning of the pandemic, and residential design consultations. These last two years have been an eye-opening period, showing me that there are more opportunities out there and that we all have hidden skills that only need to be discovered!
I am always open to new challenges! At the moment I have various projects that I’m working on, but I’m always happy to consider new design ventures and opportunities to broaden my knowledge in the design sector.