Setting the Stage for Sustainability

Sargent-Disc partner, BAFTA albert, hosted another inspiring evening that delved into all things sustainable set design. The event explored how set designers can juggle creativity with sustainability and still create amazing sets that are worthy of a BAFTA or Oscar.


The panel provided advice and invaluable insights into how set designers can build sets for their next productions incorporating sustainability measures.



Emma Fromberg – Circular Design Project Manager

Norman Austick – Production Design Lecturer

Lynn McFarlane – Dresd

Tom Bowyer – Production Designer

Aaron Matthews – Head of Industry Sustainability, BAFTA


Following an introduction from Aaron, Emma Fromberg took to the stage first to share Climate Change data collected on her recent expedition to the Artic. Providing satellite images as evidence, Emma explained how the levels of sea ice have been steadily declining each year, which could present dangerous consequences such as rising sea levels around the world. Emma stressed that there is a desperate need for all industries to develop a sustainable approach when going about their work, and went into detail about how the principals of the circular economy can be applied to the set design community. Emma suggested that individuals learn from nature to do more good, providing an example of a rice farmer who built a sustainable ecosystem involving rice, fish and ducks. She finished by encouraging members of the audience to ‘Do good, not just less bad‘.




Emma Fromberg, Circular Design Project Manager

Setting the Stage for Sustainability

Copyright: BAFTA


Next Norman Austick reiterated the need to work differently, but also discussed the growing interest in making production more eco-friendly. His students at the Northern School of Art, inspired to consider their project’s carbon footprint, worked to create an interior train carriage set as sustainably as they could. The students succeeded in this task by using recycled sets from Roughcut TV, organic stains (balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar) on all woodwork and even managed to offset their paper consumption.



Norman Austick, Production Design Lecturer, Northern Art School

Setting the Stage for Sustainability

Copyright: BAFTA

There is a common myth that it is more cost effective and efficient to break up sets to go in skips rather than repurpose them. Lynn McFarlane from albert supplier Dresd took to the stage after Norman to explain how productions can minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill by using Dresd. The company provides the broadcast industry with a cost-effective and sustainable method for dressing their sets. Lynn strives to encourage productions to reuse rather recycle, stating that if productions are made aware of the financial savings and have good planning, they can make a difference and reap the many benefits. She went on to describe the potential use for the multiple props and sets from productions such as Poldark, Early Man and The Darkest Hour that were in the room, telling the audience that even screws can be reused! Dresd reuse 99% of the sets that are delivered to them.



Lynn McFarlane, Dresd

Setting the Stage for Sustainability

Copyright: BAFTA



Tom Bowyer was the final speaker, a BAFTA winning set designer with credits ranging from Misfits to Harlots. Tom spoke in detail about how he built the set for Harlots, implementing a sustainable approach from start to finish. Passionate about sustainability, Tom commented that he believes more time and money for good design, discussion, research and coordinating would help the industry become more sustainable.


The panellists gathered on the stage after the final speaker to hold a brief Q & A with the audience. Questions from the audience focussed on the lack of a central database for productions to advertise sets they no longer need, or to search for props, raw materials and sets that could be used on their shoot.



The event was a part of albert’s quarterly events programme, which Sargent-Disc is proud to sponsor as an Official Partner alongside Green Tomato Cars and Good Energy.



Sargent-Disc Official Partnership with BAFTA albert

Sargent-Disc is proud to be an Official Partner of BAFTA albert, the organisation working to make the film and TV industries more environmentally friendly. The partnership enables albert to hold quarterly events each year – most recently the Greenzone at Focus: The Meeting Place for International Production – in order to promote sustainable production and encourage the industry to become more eco-friendly.

Sargent-Disc is working towards a sustainable future by investing in and promoting the use of low carbon production office technologies within the Digital Production Office®. These include Payroll, Payslip, Payscales, CrewStart™, Digital Purchase Order as well as the Production Card.


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