General English


  • noun a person who has the idea for, and makes plans to produce, something

Cars & Driving

  • noun a person responsible for the concept of a new car, etc.


  • A creative artist responsible for designing costumes, makeup,and scenery for stage productions; he or she often handles the lighting,sound, and other technical aspects as well. The designer needs towork closely with the director, and to have a thorough understandingof his or her idea of the text; for this reason some directors inthe modern theater assume the designer's role themselves.

    The role of the designer developed principally in the courtsof France and Italy. In the late 16th century Antoine Caron createdfestivals for Catherine de Medici in France, while Tomaso Francini(1571 - 1648) was later brought to Paris to recreate the Italianscenic innovations at the French court. Georges Buffequin was theleading scenic designer of the first half of the 17th century in France.

    Giacomo Torelli became Italy's most celebrated scenedesigner with his productions at the Teatro Novissimo in Venice from 1645onwards. In Paris the designer Gaspare Vigarani (1586 - 1663) built thelargest theater in Europe, the Salle des Machines, to display his work. Forthe opening production, the opera Hercules in Love (1662), he designedmachines to suspend the entire royal family and their attendants above the stage.Jean Berain père (1637 - 1711) produced ornate designsfor the court and opera in the last 20 years of his life, a role inwhich he was succeeded by his son. The artist and stage designer PhilippeJames de Loutherbourg (1740 - 1812) became the scenicdirector at Drury Lane in 1773 under David Garrick, for whom he creatednaturalistic details and invented new machines for sound effects.

    Designers in the early 20th century sought unity of effect.The Swiss-born Adolph Appia (1862 - 1928) attempted this witha combination of simple three-dimensional units, such as steps, ramps,platforms, and skilfully deployed lighting. The most influential Britishdesigner of this period, E. Gordon Craig (see Craig family),worked on the Continent and made a great impression on German, Austrian,and Russian designers. Craig advocated the creation of a positionof 'stage director', an all-powerful figure who would design the sceneryand costumes before fitting in the actors and action.

    The 20th century has seen a general movement towards moreabstract stage designs. For his Moscow production of The Life ofMan, a symbolistic drama by Leonid Andreyev (1871 - 1919),Stanislavsky used an arrangement of black curtains and whiterope to represent walls, windows, and doors. Vsevolod Meyerholdexperimented with non-naturalistic costumes and plain white furniturein a pioneering production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Later PeterBrook used a plain white set for his famous 1970 productionof A Midsummer Night's Dream, employing coiled metal springsattached to fishing rods to suggest the forest and putting the actorson trapezes to represent flying. One of the most celebrated contemporarydesigners is the Czech Josef Svoboda, who has experimentedwith flexible staging, screens, mirrors, and cinematic projection.