A creative director and set designer, he is David Korins the set designer behind Hamilton and many other popular sets such as Beetle Juice and the 91st Academy Awards (the Oscars). It’s time to meet David and how he became one of the most popular set designers in the show business, going from Hollywood to Broadway, David is everywhere.
David Korin grew up in Texas from where he moved to Massachusetts in 1999 to attend university there. However, it was in 1997 that he started his road to success. In this year and the next ones, he was an intern, a design assistant, a director of the design program, a resident designer and a guest designer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. This was where he found his passion to design, especially in theatre events and learned a lot, he says “It was the place I learned to build, paint, prop, and design.”.
In 2003 he was invited to do the production design of Winter Passing, “I had never designed a film. It was a huge vote of confidence on behalf of the studio, Focus Features, to hire me”. In the next year he founded the David Korins Design with some big clients like McDonald’s, Target, Google and even Kanye West’s 2011 tour.
In 2015 to present, he is the set designer for “Hamilton” and in 2016 the production designer for “Grease: Live!” that gave him his first Emmy Award.
Turning a Movie to a Stage Play
Beetlejuice is a famous movie from the renown director, Tim Burton, where the scenery is constantly changing. To turn this into a play, David Korin had to reinvent the same stage multiple times during the show. He said that this was “the most technically challenging thing I have ever done, and it’s by far the most technically challenging show I’ve ever seen“.
He created a wall system that we would be able to sub out, the changing of the furniture, the mantles, the window frames and the light fixtures were mainly possible with a lot of manpower creating a perfectly choreographed ballet movie backstage.
To create this set design that would later award him with Tony Award for the best scenic design of a musical, David had to exceed himself, “That show, every single piece of scenery has a light in it, a special effect, a magic trick, a puppet pole, a speaker. Some crazy thing going on inside of it. Beetlejuice the musical is very different than Beetlejuice the movie. The thing about it is we have a whole bunch of different physical parameters, so we have to take those into consideration as opposed to making a movie. First of all, the play runs eight times a week and we can’t cut away, we can’t dissolve, we can’t have a puppeteer just out of frame or anything like that. We have to make this thing work seamlessly for a bunch of live people in a room“.
Korins says that in order to become inspired, he must let his mind wander to the brink of boredom. Creativity, he says, “is all about shutting up and letting your brain take over“.
Boredom is the moment before inspiration,” David Korin explains. “And I have tried really hard to just shut up. Just shut up. People don’t do it. People don’t trust silence, they don’t trust boredom, they are so self-conscious…and if you just shut up, you’ll have an idea.” Technology, he adds, makes it hard to sit in a contemplative state, alone with your thoughts. But Korins urges that it’s time to change that paradigm.
While he hustled, the path to success also included some serious self- examination. To grow, he explains it’s important to ask yourself what your true strengths and true weaknesses are, and then find people to work with who can cover your weaknesses and accentuate your strengths.
“Your imagination is like a fountain. Any time you travel anywhere or read a book or see something, you fill up that water level a little bit so that the fountain can work beautifully. And then you work, and you use those ideas and the fountain depletes. And you’ve got to fill that fountain up. Your 20’s is that decade when you should fill it and fill it and fill it, so that when you really get the opportunity to use your ideas, they’re full.”
It’s time to show you how you can bring a litlle of David’s work to your own home. Broadway and Hollywood right in your living room. You can get these lighting pieces and others at our Lighting Stores Shop.
The first piece on our list will bring the show business and every jazz concert to your living room, Botti 150 Suspension is a mid-century lighting design was inspired by the American trumpet player as a tribute to jazz music. With a structure handmade in brass and boasting a sophisticated gold-plated finish. Its unique shape and design make it the perfect hanging lamp to display on a mid-century modern living room, or a sophisticated hotel lobby.
Inspired by one of the greatest entertainers of all time, Amy Winehouse, Amy Floor has a vintage retro style that embodies the soul of the British artist and the 50’s interior design style. With a glossy black lamp shade that bear a resemblance to Amy’s legendary hair and a small gold powder paint detail that recall us of her golden earring, the brass floor light suits the most demanding mid-century modern setting.
With a round shape that was inspired by a golden vinyl player. Hendrix is a wall light fixture that will bring a smooth lighting effect to your room. Handmade in brass, Hendrix showcases a high quality craftsmanship. With a gold plated finish, this wall light has an avant-garde design perfect for modern and contemporary environments.
If you loved our article where you got to Meet David Korins The Set Designer Behind Hamilton, you can visit our Pinterest boards in order to get more inspirations for your project! Get more ideas for your projects and find functional, stylish and sizable lighting and furniture choices. Make sure to download our ‘Interior Design Tips for a Well-Lit Home‘ eBook.