Designing the set for The Art of Living (as with any show!) is a collaborative process that involves both creative and technical considerations.
The design should support the narrative and help communicate place and time to the audience. If it can help set the mood, even better! But it also needs to be functional. There need to be places for actors to enter and exit. There need to be different zones that create blocking opportunities. Depending on the setting for the play and the theater space, you might be able to expand the performance space vertically with stairs and platforms.
There is also some overlap with lighting design. You want the set to be lit, of course, but there could additionally be opportunities to have lights as part of the scenic design, such as lamps or wall sconces that would be part of the world of the play. (These part-of-the-world lights are known as “practicals.”)
Below are a few early sketches from The Art of Living set designer Tim Palkovic, showing different architectural and design options (Scottish Baronial vs. Second Empire).
And here’s a reminder from Tim: “It is hard to preview the effect of cloth in either a rendering or in a model. It takes an act of faith, as does all of the theater process.”