Raimund Schucht realizes spaces and stage designs for the Berlin agency TRIAD and the Movimentos Festwochen Wolfsburg, among others. After training as an interior decorator and then studying architecture, he studied for a master’s degree in stage design/scenic space at the TU Berlin from 2013 to 2015.
You previously studied architecture – did you already have your current profession in mind when you began your studies at the TU?
Even while studying architecture, I realized that classical architecture would not be my path. That’s why I was looking for an alternative that would combine my experience as an interior designer with my studies. There was a strong desire to combine media and architecture – so even as a student I worked in agencies that specialized in virtual and interactive spaces. After a few years of agency life, I felt the need to fill spaces with content and life, to bring spaces to life, to charge them with spirit and emotion. That’s how the subject of scenography came into play.
What were your expectations when you began your studies?
I actually went into the master’s program without any great expectations, though don’t take that the wrong way! For me it was a privilege to study again. My goal was therefore simply to take away as many impulses as possible. The artistic approach to space came more and more to the fore. At the end of my studies, I had the feeling for the first time that all my previous training was now coming together in one profession – my many professional detours finally made sense! That’s a very good feeling, which continues to this day.
What was your focus during your studies? Was your interest more in stage design or in scenic space?
I initially focused on the area of “scenic space”, although my interest was still very much in digital interaction at the beginning. In the course of my master’s studies, I developed a curiosity for how to merge content and interaction. Whereby the approaches could also be analog. For me, it was initially important to question old thought patterns and allow for new ideas. My goal was to let go of the more structural planning architecture, to break down the boundaries of the strongly digital architectural processes, and to let artistic aspects, such as painting or model making, flow into my creative work. I received new impulses for thought from fellow students or lecturers, who all came from the most diverse fields, and from the field of stage design, which I had previously ignored. Especially the examination of the stages of Hans Dieter Schaal and the Bauhaus under Oskar Schlemmer led me to new ways of thinking. Especially their transformation of architectural means into stage designs or costume designs and scenographies I found inspiring. These strong inspirations from stage design still flow into my design processes today – be it for an exhibition, a trade fair stand or a brand world.
What was special about studying at the TU Berlin?
For me, what was special above all was the people behind the master’s program: the diversity of the cultural and professional backgrounds of fellow students and lecturers made for a lively and inspiring student life. The practice-based education helped me to establish international contacts. The artistic approach and the analogous handicraft-artistic presentation of contents inspired me to new ideas.
Were you already able to establish contacts in practice during your practice-oriented studies at the TU? How did it continue after graduation, what did your entry into practice look like?
Early on in my studies, I used the existing contacts to cooperation partners or made new ones. My entry into agency life began during my studies at the TU. In the third semester, thanks to the help of two of my lecturers, I was able to establish contact with TRIAD, a Berlin agency for communication in the space. I then completed my study-related internship there. Since then, I’ve been freelancing mostly for TRIAD. The first steps in the field of stage design also came about through the study program management. Together with two fellow students, I was able to realize a stage design for the award ceremony of the KAIROS Prize at the Hamburg State Theater. The contact to the Movimentos Academy also came about through the course of study. Since then, as an alumni team, we have realized several stage designs for the Movimentos Festival at the Theater Wolfsburg.
What do you like most about your job?
I particularly like the versatility of this profession. In order to be able to experience all facets properly, I decided to become self-employed as a freelancer. Today I work not only in creative agencies for communication in space but also for cultural institutions. That’s really where two different worlds come together! The mixture of stage and scenography helps me to always have a different view of the task at hand. Compared to classical architecture, working on scenographic projects is much more fast-paced. I like that very much, because you always get to deal with new content and exciting topics. And somehow I also like being constantly on the move. The restlessness spurs me on.
Is there anything you would do differently today?
Today, I would make even more use of the international opportunities offered by the program and the network of international students. In addition to the regular teaching with lectures and practical projects, the study program offers many additional opportunities for further education. For example, there is the Interdisciplinary Spatial Laboratory, founded by Prof. Albert Lang, which enables versatile development opportunities beyond the regular timetable. In interdisciplinary and cross-thematic free projects, you can take another look at things there. When I was a student, I didn’t realize the value of such opportunities. Today, I would make much more use of such opportunities and integrate them more into my studies. Basically, though, I’m very satisfied. To study again in an advanced master’s program was a great luxury and a tremendous enrichment.
What tips would you give to someone who wants to become successful in an agency?
The term scenography offers a lot of room for interpretation. To assert yourself in the agency world, it helps to position yourself clearly with your profile: What are your strengths? What previous training do I bring to the table? As a future scenographer, you can work in a variety of ways, for example in the areas of conception, narration in space, or as a designer of staged spaces.
The degree program offers many starting points that must first be reflected upon and explored. I can understand fresh graduates going into professional life a bit unsettled. In my opinion, it helps to remain persistent and always believe in one’s strengths – every dream and every strength finds its place!
I was helped by the realization that my entire career path so far makes a symbiotic relationship with the master’s degree. In the end, I realized that somehow everything belongs together and has its justification. I don’t want to decide whether I want to work as a scenographer in an agency or as a stage designer in a theater. Both help me for the other job. I take this versatility with me on my way, and it helps me to take new steps. It sounds a bit dreamlike, but nothing is wrong – it just takes the right circumstances and goals to develop for yourself. And sometimes it helps not to listen to social conventions or even lecturers and to go a completely different way.