Rethink Team Spotlight: Diane Buchwalder

Show Set Designer

Diane joined the team at Rethink in 2015 as one of our Show Set Designers, shortly after graduating from SCAD’s Themed Entertainment Design MFA Program in Georgia. She holds a Bachelors of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Dayton in Ohio, where she also studied art history, and architecture. Currently, Diane is part of the Themed Entertainment Association’s NextGen Initiative, which assists students and recent graduates working their way into the attractions industry.

Prior to coming to Rethink, Diane worked at Herschend Family Entertainment, where she had a hand in creating multiple attractions, including Firechaser Express for Dollywood, and Fireman’s Landing for Silver Dollar City.

“Part of my interest in seeking out this industry is its innate and unique mix of technology and creativity, and their interdependency,” explains Diane. “Between engineering and fine arts, I have had the opportunity to develop two very different tool sets that present a lot of compelling challenges together. Show set documentation and digital modeling have been my focus so far, but being involved in such large projects is a constant education in all the places the two intersect.”

A Show Set Designer’s skills allow them to take artists’ renderings, and create detailed, spatially-accurate digital models using industry standard programs such as SketchUp, and AutoCAD. These 3-D models are then used for presentations, advanced concept renderings, client presentations, and video fly-through simulations. In addition to 3-D modeling, Diane also creates – and is a firm believer in the use of –  “white models”, which are practical 3-D models made of varying materials that are used for better understanding layout and general massing at any given scale.

“Both digital and physical modeling offer opportunities to the creative process in ways that the other can’t,” says Diane. “Digital design offers almost countless options for previewing and reworking with little waste, while physical models allow us to experience the presence and dimension of a space and engage more of our senses, producing a richer outcome. My own pursuit of themed entertainment started with a very personal environmental experience, which still influences my aspirations and design goals to this day.”

A resident of Pasadena, Diane designs costumes and props for Halloween in her spare time, and enjoys traveling. She’s also an avid Indiana Jones fan, with Raiders of the Lost Ark being her favorite film of all time!