What can you build with BricsCAD? I spoke to Pascal Labillois, a freelance set designer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to learn how he uses  BricsCAD to design stages and sets for theater. He’s been using BricsCAD for just 6 months.

How did you get into stage design?

It all started at a dinner party in 2009 when a friend said they were looking for a set designer for their current production. Without thinking and as a bit of a joke I said: “I can do that, I’d love to”. I had never done it but I’m creative and love theatre and movies. I had done some construction with my Dad and have been drawing and painting on canvas my whole life. I trusted I could do it. Then I got books about set design and the rest is history.

I have met amazing people along the way who have helped me improve my art and skills as a set designer.

sketch set design idea first stage drawing
Sketch of the set used for the header image.

What’s the design process like?

It starts with reading the script, making notes, drafting/drawing ideas as I go, breaking down the scenes, creating drawings for each scene and how they will transition from one to another. I research place, location, period, colours, styles etc. I collaborate with the director and discuss the vision and feel of the show.

I have only been using it for about 6-7 months or so and love it.

It’s about place, time, location, space amongst a few. Once this is all complete and we have the OK, that’s when BricsCAD kicks in. It’s still new to me. I have only been using it for about 6-7 months or so and love it. However, I continue to improve and pick up speed as I learn new things and tricks. As I work with different companies, the process also changes to adjust to different situations, timeline, budget, etc.

set stage design CAD product
Design for theater set created in BricsCAD.

What’s the process like after you’ve finished the design?

The process takes a few weeks to a few months depending on the show. At times, set pieces are removed, added or tweaked. Everything is specific to each theatre and what’s available to us. Once this is all done and approved and we have the ok, I create the design in CAD and plan elevations for the carpenters. Then the carpenters start to build the set. It’s always amazing to see it come to life.

Putting together the finishing touches on set.

What are some of the challenges you face when designing a set?

Since I work freelance and I am not an architect, I have to ensure the vision is clear and drawings and elevations are accurate. It may be challenging at times when the set is very complex. I always work closely with the carpenters. I read and read and research constantly, books about set design, construction, architecture, lighting design, etc. Building the model is also very helpful. It allows you to see at times what may or may not work.

BricsCAD set design CAD stage theater titanic
Set design made in BricsCAD for the Titanic.

Why BricsCAD?

I did a lot of research after taking my AutoCAD® class. I needed an affordable software that I could own and not have excessive monthly fees. I tried a bunch of other “professional software” which were not that great, not user-friendly or would crash.

titanic stage design CAD set theature
Completed stage for Titanic production.

What’s your favorite thing about BricsCAD?

It is super-fast, precise and doesn’t create large files that become slower as you add more to the drawings. At least, that’s what it feels like so far. I had designed a set in Sketchup® and recreated the same in BricsCAD. The BricsCAD file opens immediately and never slows down as I work. The other file crashes and I have to wait sometimes 10s-20s of seconds before I can continue.

The BricsCAD file opens immediately and never slows down as I work. The other file crashes and I have to wait sometimes 10s-20s of seconds before I can continue.

BricsCAD has all the tools that I need without having to download a bunch of extensions. I also like BricsCAD Shape when I need to draw walls and windows and doors quickly. It also has a few different pieces of furniture so I can get an idea of the space I have. Again, they are not large items that slow things down.

Where can I see more of your work?

I can be found on Instagram @pascallabillois.

Fancy creating your own Set Design?

It’s easy with BricsCAD Shape. Download free for life at www.bricsys.com. Then make the effortless move to BricsCAD BIM. Freedom of choice, plus perpetual (permanent) product licenses that work with all languages, in all places. You’ll love what we’ve built for you with the BricsCAD® product family.

What have you Built With BricsCAD?

If you’d like your work featured on the Bricsys blog or you have a great CAD story, then get in touch. Email: rose.barfield@bricsys.com.


This interview has been edited for flow and grammar.