by Janet Irwin
What is the maquette (or set model)?
The maquette is a three-dimensional scale model of the set for an upcoming production, built by the scenic designer. It is based on the designer’s vision in consultation with the director, and reflects many hours of reading, thinking, research and discussion about the play and its requirements, the technical specifications of the theatre and budget.
What does it show?
Maquettes can be simple: unpainted paper or card cut and pasted to show how onstage space and structures will look; or they can be detailed and highly indicative of what we will eventually see on stage: for example, with beautifully painted and textured surfaces, precise colours, wall-paper patterns, wood-working detail and miniature renderings of furniture. Usefully, one or more figures built to scale and usually indicating a six foot person, will appear on the maquette to represent the characters intended to inhabit this room or space.
Who uses it and why?
Many people will use the maquette at different times. It provides everyone involved with a production a first impression of it. No matter how minimal, the maquette conveys the look and feel of the show simply through shape, size, degree of complexity, colour, texture, mood and atmosphere.