March 26th 2011
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The set designer: Rhea Thierstein
Rhea Thierstein, aged 30, is responsible for putting a giant wasp in the hallowed vitrines of
“I love making things that don’t exist,” she says. “One day I’m designing a dinner at Claridge’s,
the next I’m making jellies with flowers in them, and then I’ll be making a shed look like it’s
been exploded on top of a building. It’s great!”
After working in three dimensions when she was at art college, Thierstein transferred to a
photography course and gravitated towards fashion imagery. Aiming high, she took an internship at
Nick Knight’s website, SHOWstudio.com and began working for set designer Shona Heath and then went
on to work with some of the industry’s greats, such as fashion photographer Tim Walker.
“I realised that Shona Heath was behind a lot of the images I already knew well,” she says.
“I realised this is what I wanted to do. It’s creatively so broad and fresh.”
Thierstein has gone on to build the set for Tim Walker’s Mulberry dinner at Claridges, as well as
the heavily stylised backdrop to popstar Jessie J’s video “Price Tag”.