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How Recom Blacksmith Landed Among the Most Desired CGI Studios Delivering Top Quality Architectural Visualizations for World-known Clients

RECOM BLACKSMITH is a CGI post-production studio offering creative retouching in fine art, fashion, and still life to full CGI architecture and automotive visualization.  The creative team works in Bulgaria but barely speaks its native language. The reason? They have an impressive list of clients from all over the world and continue to impress us all with the achieved success and uncompromisingly work quality.  Today, the founder of RECOM BLACKSMITH, Ivoslav Stanev, is here to reveal more about the secrets of the perfect render, the tools, and the inspiration in his daily workflow.

The long and winding road

Eight years ago, Ivo decided that he wanted to work in one of the most boutique visualization companies. However, his first interview did not end well. “I played with open cards, and my dream was to return to Bulgaria – they did not like it.”- says Ivo. 

His skills helped him to make it to the second interview. “At the second interview I was more prepared – my return period could not be defined, and I had a great desire to be part of this team. They liked the persistence, and the workaholism did the rest – it turned out that we were involved in the same dough and we liked each other so much that we decided to make an office in the village of Trudovets.”- admits Ivo.

 

Created with V-Ray for Maya by RECOM BLACKSMITH

 

After wandering into other professions – Ivo wanted to become a programmer first, but since it didn’t work out, one fine day he opened Maya while on the train. “From there – with a bang and with a jump in the cold water I entered the industry quite quickly.”- says Ivo and continues: “My first project came in 2-3 months. Of course with the help of a friend who believed in me more than I did in myself. Thanks to him I was able to get in touch with BOSCH. I didn’t believe I would be able to sell my idea. After I came out of the presentation and it became clear that they liked my idea, I suddenly realized “hell, I don’t know how to do this thing”! It was a very fast slippery slope, if I hadn’t done it, it would have made a very bad name for me and maybe it was a great catalyst to bite to the end and deliver on time.”

The art of winning big clients

The devoted work and the natural talent for visualization come with big clients too. Here is what Ivoslav Stanev says about this journey:

“You need to have really good projects (and not just one photo, but also a great production) that prove that you can handle big clients, and you have to trust yourself. If the client feels insecure, it is possible to reverse the project. This is different, of course, from admitting that you don’t know something.”

 

Created with V-Ray for Maya by RECOM BLACKSMITH

 

Ivo says he doesn’t have a favorite project and shares:

“In most cases, I’m never completely happy with my projects – maybe it’s a bug in the system. They don’t look real to me, and that probably makes me always look for other programs and ways to improve my rendering. Let’s just say this bug helps.”

Another important issue when it comes to working with big clients is… yes, speed. Ivo admits that speed is probably the most important technical factor. “For example, for automotive visualization, we always use vRed, because the software is uncompromisingly fast and stable. Customers do not want to wait and their time is precious – real-time is the future.” – says the founder of RECOM BLACKSMITH. –

Also adjusting the light in real-time gives the opportunity to be very accurate and creative without losing the inspiration. Slow lighting is a creative killer.” – continues Ivo.

The master and his tools

Being good at your own work means that you know a lot of software programs in order to filter and stick to those that can help you deliver great results. Ivo’s list is quite long and includes Autodesk Maya, V-Ray, Arnold, Renderman, Clarisse ifx, SpeedTree, vRed, E-on Vue. He admits having his favorite software for different types of visualizations. It is V-Ray for Architecture, Clarisse Ifx for the environment, vRed for automobile visualizations. The few things Ivo admits he wanted to learn earlier are Houdini and Arnold. 

 

Created with V-Ray for Maya by RECOM BLACKSMITH

 

“V-Ray has potential for development. In the architectural visualization it has established itself quite solidly and the integration with Maya is successful, but for heavy productions, there is still room for development.” – states Ivoslav Stanev. “Of course, there is no perfect software and maybe there will not be, but one of the most important things for good development is: to clean the bugs quickly, not to interpolate at the expense of quality and cleaning of unnecessary features.

Programs need to be easier to maintain so that artists can be artists and not waste time on technical issues.”

So here comes the top 3 features of V-Ray for Maya, according to Ivo: “Quick preview and work with materials. I would like to enter a GPU, but unfortunately, it still does not give the same result as a CPU, and this is a dream of all of us.”

Additionally, every master is looking for the perfect visualization. For Ivo, basic knowledge of architecture is required as well as photography – it helps the eye to develop and gain a sense of good and real light.

 

Created with V-Ray for Maya by RECOM BLACKSMITH

 

Into the big game

RECOM BLACKSMITH has completed some great interior visualization projects with OTTO

However, there was a challenge. The company was very large and needed automation. Ivo steps in for such a project for the first time. For the year 2019, the rendering number was impressive –  27,000. To make the whole work possible, Recom Blacksmith used scripts to automate the process. “We were able to get our render engine to understand information from stacked .xml tables to determine the rendering of the correct configurations.” – admits Ivo.  

 

 

Something more, OTTO is an example of how such a large and old company is moving from analog to digital photography.

Ivo shares: “I don’t know if it will completely cancel the photo and to be honest, I don’t want to, but the advantages are great.” And we can see the trend in the eCommerce sector every single day.

 

 

How to do it right with copyright

Ivoslav Stanev – just like most of the creative artists – is sensitive about the copyright topic. “These are our salaries. I would not want anyone to steal my product and sell or distribute it for free.” – he admits. The topic is really serious and complex. “For example, Pixar gives Renderman for unlimited testing and this helped me a lot to look closely at their software. In commercial projects, it is already a matter of morality to buy. If a software does not withstand production and is not improved by the manufacturer, then I will want my money back.”- says Ivo.

 

Created with V-Ray for Maya by RECOM BLACKSMITH

 

The beginners in the architecture industry should be really aware of this problem too. Alongside the legal software programs usage, here is the main advice for the mastery of skills from the founder of RECOM BLACKSMITH:

You already have all the information on the Internet, years ago we didn’t have this luxury and we had to deal with it in many ways – which of course developed a different way of thinking and solving problems. Learn architecture and collect a lot of references to find your style. Go outside and observe the world around you. Shoot and watch movies. This will develop your most important weapon – the eye. The software is just a tool.”

 

FIND RECOM BLACKSMITH HERE:

https://recomblacksmith.com/

How ALL In Studio use SketchUp to Create Unique Personal Spaces Without Compromise

ALL In Studio, founded by Arch. Pavel Yanev in the 2011 year at Sofia is well known for its brave innovative ideas and specific trademark. The greatest studio’s passion is to create a personal space with a character without any quality compromise. For less than 10 years ALL In provided a rich portfolio and numerous awards –  an international prize from London for “Best single-family residence”, nomination for “Building of the Year” by ArchDaily, 3 times first place “Interior of the Year in Bulgaria” and many more.

 

Detail and idealism is the moto that actually describes their approach to architecture and interior design.

 

ALL in Studio uses SketchUp and LayOut to present the pre-initial projects and to help their client to immerse and sense the atmosphere of their new home. Achieving the best results is a complex task that requires many different skills to make every space unique. And SketchUp is the most appropriate and easy language for visual and verbal communication in every project.

 

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Let’s take a peek at one of ALL In’s pre-initial project and see the beauty at the beginning of a dream come true. The first step is choosing and combining materials that correspond with the spirit of the space and reveal the concept in the best way.

 

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

In this case, the architects choose a dark color pallet with dominant, rich on texture stone and copper accent.

 

The space is divided into day and night zone with visual difference between relax zone and kitchen.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

The first thing that catches an eye in this bright apartment with a contrast of darker materials for the floors and kitchen is the masterpiece kitchen island. The Interior links the imaginary lines between floor and celling as the lighting complements the spatial geometry. The client can choose between several elements and zones proposals.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

The natural materials creating a sophisticated luxurious space at the night zone

The decision about the relaxing zone is open master ensuite and minimal spatial separation. As the suspended ceilings add depth, the mirrors create the illusion of a bigger spatial volume.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

© ALL in Studio. All Rights Reserved.

 

Hope now you’re inspired to take your projects to the next level. Remember that attention to detail is not about perfection, it’s about constant improvement.

 

More about All In Studio:

https://www.allin.bg

https://www.instagram.com/allin.studio/

https://www.facebook.com/allin.bg/

Arch. Dimitar Tzanev (IXDesign): “Everything in life comes at the right time, you just have to be patient.”

IXDesign is a Sofia-based interior design studio, providing services for Bulgaria and the EU. If we are to sum up their creative approach in one word – it is innovation. The studio itself is a natural continuation of the work of Comet – a studio created back in 1992, whose main focus is the production of stainless steel products and afterward changes its activity to the design and implementation area. And that is when IXDesign is created. Let’s meet its manager – architect Dimitar Tzanev.

Architect Dimitar Tzanev | IXDesign

Welcome to our Space. If you have to describe your company – IXDesign in just one sentence, what would the exact words be?

The most innovative interior design studio which offers great quality projects and innovations for a reasonable price.

You’ve worked with some impressive International brands like Hyundai, McDonald’s, Nike, Adidas, etc. What is the key to winning a big client?

We believe that when you offer the best possible quality projects and you combine all your work with innovations like VR technology, the clients are more than happy because they have everything in one place. For us, the most important thing during the whole process is the trust and respect between our company and the clients. No matter how big or small a client is, he gets the best possible services with no compromise.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

What are your plans for future development?

We think that we can expand our work in the EU, the USA, and other countries around the world. What makes us so confident in our experience, knowledge to complete the whole project instead of just offering nice looking renders. 

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

How did your professional career start?

I started in our first company specialized in stainless steel production, where I was occupied in the lower levels of the production process. Later on, I had the chance to join the management board as a CEO. I inherited the place of my father, who taught me that the only way to be successful is to start from the bottom and learn and learn.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

How would you describe a typical working process?

We start from scratch and develop it to something real, special, and unique. All projects are just like our babies. We truly devote our time, attention, and passion for each one. Maybe that is the reason I don’t have a favorite one, honestly. 

Additionally, we have a whole list of partners from around the world who provide us with really interesting and unique materials, furniture, and basically anything we need to complete a project in a superb way.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

Tell me more about your interior design projects – is there something special during the work process?

I don’t think that there are any peculiarities. My personal design process can be summarized in one word – comfort. I work in the way I feel most comfortable. Maybe the most different thing in my workflow is that I start every time from 3D and sketching, and after that, I move to 2D and CAD. But that is just my way of doing things. The right method is the one that makes you most productive. 

My father taught me that the only way to be successful is to start from the bottom and learn and learn…

How important is the speed when you work with clients and how do you balance their usual rush and the quality you aim to deliver?

The speed for one project is a very important part of the whole process. We have state-of-the-art rendering farms that provide us with hundreds of CPU cores and power to render in ultra-high quality of our projects. And yes, all clients are usually in a rush. That is why we’ve built our computers’ brains to work as fast as possible. However, we have never made a single compromise with the quality of a project.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

What is the best way to present a project?

I think the key is to present in the most simple way of understanding. For example, we have 3D printers for modes, we make sketches, VR presentations, videos of the projects so that it is clear what we present. To be honest, most of the clients appreciate very much the 3D visualizations and VR presentations. So in one sentence – the best way to present our project is the one that says everything but with simplicity for better understanding.

Is there a secret for perfect visualization?

Everyone knows that the devil is in the detail. So the small details make the perfect visualization.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

Everything in life comes at the right time, you just have to be patient.

Let’s have a look behind the scenes. How do you make the magic happen, what software tools usually help you?

We use a lot of software programs. However, there is no day-off for SketchUp, V-Ray, Photoshop, Lightroom. For animations and VR presentations we use Twinmotion and Eyecad3D.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

What is the main advantage of SketchUp for you? 

It is intuitive, it also gives you the very best response of materials and textures, and speed – SketchUp is just faster than all the other 3D software programs.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

Select your TOP 3 SketchUp features that saved tones of work?

  1. Quick and easy way to import DWG files.
  2. A very good look of the project even before rendering.
  3. The ability to use Layout is just awesome.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

And what about V-Ray? 

I think V-Ray is still the perfect render on the market. It may look a bit complicated but once you become a master of V-Ray, you can achieve amazing results.

Select your TOP 3 V-Ray features that saved tones of work?

  1. You can create real-looking materials and textures.
  2. The ability to have render elements and use them in Photoshop.
  3. Very good and accurate auto functions. 

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

Why is it important to use legal software?

From the position of a creator, I am very sensitive to the copyright topic. There are a lot of people who can simply steal your work – software, design, product…

Above all, using legal software is a kind of appreciation for the hard work of the people who’ve created it. Plus, you don’t violate the law that way. Everyone should use legal software. Currently, there are a lot of options for paying over time and it’s totally worth it.

Created with V-Ray for SketchUp by IXDesign studio

What would be your advice for all the beginners in your industry who want to master their skills?

Everything in life comes at the right time, you just have to be patient.

Do not rush. Learn as much as you can because the interior design is a combination of so many things – aesthetic, nature, materials, light and etc. And most importantly – never quit. Work hard, study harder and if you are dedicated to that career, no one can stop your success.

 

Find IXDesign here:

https://www.ixdesignstudio.com/  

https://www.facebook.com/ixstudiodesign/

https://www.instagram.com/ixstudiodesign/

https://www.pinterest.com/ixdesignstudio0093/_created/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ixdesignstudio/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-fWerTtBf7HVFHGspWgXw?view_as=subscriber

 

Real-time archviz helps Scenario Architecture win clients and speed up sign-offs

Scenario Architecture is a dynamic studio of experienced architects, based in London, delivering ambitious living spaces that combine functionality and sustainability with elegance.

Creativity is their trademark resulting in extraordinary home design projects with a personality that no one can mistake. During the years of their existence, they manage to execute exceptional visual concepts, to share a bold approach, and one of a kind mastery.

Additionally, Scenario Architecture is shortlisted for several prestigious architecture prizes, including the 2018 RIBA London Awards.

Here is what stands behind a standard process of building for the London studio:

We begin by asking our clients to imagine their lives in the completed house and to describe their desired interaction with it. We then analyze these descriptions in detail to give us a highly defined brief.

Then a 3-dimensional simulation is created from the detailed brief.

One of the great tools that Scenario Architecture is using is Unreal Engine’s software for real-time architectural visualization is Twinmotion. “Twinmotion has become an integral, organic part of our process and we can no longer imagine working without it,” says Ran Ankory, Founder and Managing Director at the firm.

Enjoy the results of Scenario Architecture in the gallery below.

 

Image courtesy of Scenario Architecture and Hobs 3D

 

Image courtesy of Scenario Architecture

 

Image courtesy of Scenario Architecture

 

Image courtesy of Scenario Architecture and Hobs 3D

 

Image courtesy of Scenario Architecture and Hobs 3D

 

Want to TRY Twinmotion yourself? Go ahead. Make something Unreal.

Feel free to join our Facebook groups too: Twinmotion Romania & Twinmotion Slovakia

 

Welcome to our Twinmotion community! Let’s make a difference together.

 

To be a successful architect – first, start with yourself

Many young architects start their career journey with the idea to become highly successful artists. Others – just feel comfortable taking their own place in an architectural studio and enjoy implementing what they have learned in a daily routine. Whatever your personality, one thing is sure – to make big or small steps forward and to develop your skills – you’d better start with yourself.

Have you ever wondered what the successful architects do? And what particular actions have led them to the top?

Sketch

Drawing by hand is a skill that you have to keep. It’s like writing with a pen sometimes instead of using the computer keyboard. Using your hands in your daily architectural work has many benefits. It develops different areas in your brain and gives unexpected perspectives sometimes. Get used to sketching when you have a discussion with a client. He will understand you better. Additionally, he is more likely to remember what you have shown him. 

 

Find your style

Not everyone in architecture will end up being the next Zaha Hadid, for example. However, it is crucial to know yourself and to show the world your special weapon. Every interior designer has a different approach to his work. Sometimes the too-loud voice will scare some clients. However, those who stay will be your best ambassadors. So dive into knowing yourself – develop your unique skills and abilities. Design isn’t about copying someone’s great ideas. Have the courage to raise your own voice and to show the world how you do it. Be honest and tell your own story. The right clients will follow. 

Accept criticism

Walking on your own path and working with people will make you face certain criticism. However, don’t be upset, and don’t stick to your ego. People are different. Try to walk in their shoes and remember – whatever the critic, it is rarely something personal. Try to understand others and don’t get offended. Whenever a criticism steps in the way, try to find a piece of advice in it that will help you to get better. It is not about being right or wrong. It is about doing your best while working on a project and find the tiny balance between your expertise and your clients’ expectations – especially when they are not into architecture at all. Yes, you are the architect. But may you be the professionalist that is kind and polite whatever the obstacles.

 

Evolve

You cannot enter the same river twice. The world and technology evolve. Therefore, try to be one step ahead. Be the change yourself. Read articles, magazines, seek inspiration, contact with other architects and designers, share knowledge, be part of professional groups in social media, be proactive. To widen your horizon, read other things too – maybe you enjoy Forbs or prefer National Geographic. Your different interests will only be of help in your everyday work. Education Doesn’t End in School. Don’t let the world pass you by.

Be a team player

People are social animals. No matter how great you are, learn to be part of a community. Or build one yourself. Networking is a crucial skill when it comes to the architectural profession. Be a useful part of that community – add value, give advice, offer help. It is more likely to find more new clients if you are a member of a local architect group than to be a single isolated master-mind. Give and you’ll be given too.

 

Stay humble

Whenever your success finds you, make sure you are prepared and stay the same humble and polite professional as you were before that. What matters is the personality behind the business. Be inspired by the next generations and don’t grow up grumpy. Be a positive and optimistic human being, ready to help, and be open for discussions. Professionals are not meant to be passive.  

Don’t live to work

Go out. If you ever feel stuck in a working issue – go change your perspective. Don’t just hang out with architects. Broaden your horizons and learn from other professionals, businesses, and people. Additionally, move away from your desk to keep your work vital and inspirational – make site visits, talk with clients in the field, observe your construction team. You are not just the person drawing – it’s worth seeing your ideas go to live. How else are we supposed to be of value to society if we are not part of it? 

 

Don’t burn bridges

Sometimes it just happens – you get divorced with clients, partners, even ideas. And there is nothing bad. This means you move forward. However, just make sure you get out of a toxic professional relationship with dignity and kindness. The architectural world is small. Your actions will be surely remembered and it’s likely to meet your old friends in a new working situation. Whatever the issue, make sure you listen to your partners and clients. If there is no way to save this project or a relationship, don’t burn the bridge – just use it to pass by. 

Stay curious

Technology will lead the way. So should you. Stay curious about new opportunities, software updates, ideas, people. Try that new tool. Read that new article. Join the latest webinar. Don’t let the inertia work on your behalf. 

 

Love what you do

Whenever you feel exhausted and lost the direction, try remembering why you first started – maybe it runs in the family or your father has taught to draw. Or your mother was a great interior designer without even knowing it… You have the right reason to start your career in architecture or design. When tough times come, remember what made you do it. Love what you do and do it with all your heart. Once in the architectural profession, do your best to save it. Leave a decent mark after yourself. 

 

Pay it forward

Teach, share, show to others how architects improve the world. Additionally, you will discover something new for yourself during the process. Don’t forget where you started from. Now is the time when you can be someone’s mentor. Help the next generation and share your expertise. There is no need to worry that someone will steal the craft from you. Architecture is a two-way street. So make sure the people you meet leave with a smile.  

Workplace furniture design: the Danish way

Ten years ago, Icons of Denmark established itself as a distributor of Danish furniture for the U.K. market. Since then, they’ve been hard at work evolving from representatives of Danish design to creators of it. Through their unique market-led approach, they’re bringing Danish design to the modern office…one sleek sofa at a time.

 

Tell us about Icons of Denmark’s background.

Icons of Denmark started as quite a traditional furniture agency, representing Danish furniture brands for the U.K. market. We’ve always had a hands-on approach to representing furniture and pride ourselves on being very knowledgeable about our products. We have a high level of technical know-how for how the furniture can be used, what sorts of applications the furniture has, and certain activities in an office where the furniture has relevance. 

That approach led us into product design and manufacturing. We’ve taken what we’ve learned in the market and now work with Danish designers to come up with new furniture  for the modern office. 

We engage with an international client base who we keep up-to-date with Danish design and furniture through products we produce. Our projects are primarily large-scale commercial projects.

 

How did you transition from representatives of Danish design to creators of it? 

When the furniture designers we represented decided to launch new products, we were required to go out to the market and sell. This work didn’t always reflect what we thought of the product and it’s usability in the marketplace…which got a bit old for us. 

In 2016, we took the first steps to create our first product. We were able to brief a Danish designer and manufacturer on how we wanted a sofa to be made, which became the first example of how we create furniture today.

How is your approach to creating new products unique?

The way we design furniture today is extremely market led. When we got started, there was a lot of residential products being brought to the workplace environment. Contrastingly, we consider specific workplace needs and create designs based around those.

Our process starts with identifying gaps in the market: we notice a certain need or an area of a project that we repeatedly don’t have the right products for. We bring that brief back and collaborate with designers and manufacturers to come up with the new product. That’s what sets us apart from many other firms. We are in no way led by product designers. We are led by the needs of interior designers and clients.

 The Private High Back addresses privacy for commercial interiors, providing a space to focus and host informal meetings – without the need for partitioning or room division.

 

For example, the most recent area we identified is banquet seating. Banquet seating is something that is often designed bespoke for each project. We identified this as an area for a new product. Since we have become very experienced in sofa making and upholstery work, we decided to dip into this category. 

To create this new type of sofa, we started drafting in 2D first, agreeing on certain dimensions and concepts. This was then further developed as a 3D model that was eventually built at our workshop in Denmark. 
After we create a prototype, we go back to the drawing board to refine the 3D model and finalize the piece—working out the final details such as stitching and leg position. This is the process we used for our new product, BANK, which we debuted at Clerkenwell Design Week this year.

 

What was your first experience using SketchUp?

My first encounter with the product was in 2007 selling furniture for a Danish manufacturer. I came across the software through an architect. I was quite excited about it so I started promoting the tool among furniture dealers as a potential tool they could configure our products in. 

When I moved to London in 2009, one of the first things I did was to upload our models to 3D Warehouse and start using the platform as an integral part of our selling process. The user friendly aspect of 3D Warehouse and SketchUp Pro itself enabled me to convert all of our DWGs into SKP files and make them more publicly available. 

We quickly found that we were gaining a huge following and considerable number of downloads on these products. Ten years later we are still using the platform to upload and share our models.  

SketchUp is a tool that we use in three different categories of our business: product design, configuration, and interior design.

Can you talk about your showroom and the products in it. Were any of these designed in SketchUp?

We work with many product designers. At the moment, we are working with one designer who develops his designs in SketchUp, Peter Barreth. Trained as an upholsterer and sofa builder, he is a self-taught user of the product. of SketchUp is a tool that he has found convenient and fast to work with. 

The Private Sofa was one of the first solutions created under the Icons of Denmark brand by Peter. That product was based on a few very basic principles about comfort, seat height and flexibility of sizing. The process started with 2D drafting. 3D models were created in SketchUp from those initial ideas. Once the first prototype was built in Denmark, we sent it to our showroom in London.

We used that prototype to get market feedback and understand what else needed to be done to refine the function and form before we brought it to market. It was almost a year later that The Private Sofa was actually born as a complete product from our research and development with London’s commercial interior design community.

Where do you see the most value from SketchUp?

Most of our product designs are available in various sizes and finishes that can be configured to a client’s specific project. 

When we started selling meeting tables for example, we realised it’s an advantage to allow clients to choose their own size. We can visualize and configure the tables from our existing design to match the clients’ needs exactly. This is where we use SketchUp everyday. Our ten-person sales team all use the product.

The Forum Table series comes in a variety of table top sizes and colours for the frame and edge.

 

Since our products can be made to size, we communicate details such as positioning of the legs, the split of tops in a table and the integration of power. If the client wants a specific edge detail, we can visualize that. That has to be visualized quickly for us to get the commitment from our clients and so that we’re all in sync. Our table Forum, for example,  has a fairly simple geometry which lends itself to fast customisation in the product. We can redraw these tabletops very easily to fit the customer’s sizing.

We send those drawings back to our producers in Denmark when we are placing the orders. This allows us to sync very quickly with the producers and manufacturers before an order gets placed. That’s actually where we find the biggest value of SketchUp for our business. 

You mentioned that Icons of Denmark contributes to the interior design piece of a project. What does that workflow look like?

We’re very often being invited to pitch our products in cooperation with an architect. Similarly, sometimes we collaborate when the architect needs some inspiration for a certain setup and that often requires a fast turnaround time. 

Here, SketchUp allows us to play a part in the designer’s work by not just pitching a sofa, but actually pitching a full configuration of our furniture and visualizing it together with our collaborators’ proposals. 

In this instance, we would be taking a brief from an interior designer or architect, suggesting some ideas for the space with our products, and preparing a proposal for the space’s layout. This doesn’t just show our individual products but shows how the products will work in situ on a larger scale.  

When it comes to interior design, I think that’s where some of our products really come into their own. For example the EC1 sofa is a modular sofa. You can play with the different pieces of this product, changing them around based on the space that you’re in. 

And this is just as important to us as the previous two ways I’ve mentioned we use the product. You want the product in a certain size but you also want it in a certain shape and positioning. I think that’s why the EC1 has proven to be one of our most popular products on 3D Warehouse.

 

How do you collaborate between different design tools on your team?

Aside from our sofa line, our other product designers work in SolidWorks. Regardless of the product designers’ workflow, this all feeds into DWG files, which makes it possible for us to work off of a format that we can read and make sense of quickly. 

That’s again where SketchUp becomes the common ground. We always ask our product designers who are working in SolidWorks to give us a DWG model. We can then work to create SketchUp models for sharing via 3D Warehouse or use ourselves when we configure or use the products in situ. 

For exporting, it’s extremely handy for us that we can instantly create DWGs either as 2D or 3D files of the products that we design from scratch. SketchUp provides us with a compatibility advantage across all of the stakeholders we work with.

Where can we find more examples of your work?

About Icons of Denmark
Since their foundation in 2009, Icons of Denmark have become known as the London home of Danish Design for commercial interiors. Committed to bringing the very best of Danish design to the commercial interiors market in the UK and beyond, Jesper and the Icons of Denmark team work closely with a circle of talented designers and craftsmen who hold a deep fascination for refined beauty, natural materials and functional design that the Danes pride themselves upon.

Design at Starbucks: Brewing the right stuff

David Daniels heads up Starbucks’ America East design teams, overseeing over a hundred designers across New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and Latin America. David and his team have executed over 1,400 major Starbucks renovations and new builds in 2016 alone. As well as being a passionate (and productive) designer, David is also a SketchUp aficionado, so I was thrilled to talk with him about his approach to design and decision-making at Starbucks.

 

Hello David… Care to introduce yourself and your team to the SketchUp community?

Sure. I’m an architect and the Managing Director of Design at Starbucks and I look after our teams and projects in the America East region. I learned SketchUp years ago from a guy from Kathmandu and I’ve been using it on projects ever since. As time’s gone on, I’ve moved more into leadership, but I’ll still play around in SketchUp developing concepts and carrying out massing studies.

The Starbucks design studios are cooking with SketchUp. If you walked through, you’d see about thirty designers working on different projects that look completely unique. We’re the biggest SketchUp fans; seeing my teams tweak SketchUp’s style palette to infuse their own flavor into the renderings has become a really fun part of the design process for me.

 

How did your team get going with SketchUp?

At one point I was working out of the Miami office and there were a handful of designers, including myself, who worked on high profile flagship stores. We used SketchUp for design and rendering, but not everyone did.

As a design leader, part of my job is to review and approve designs. I’m looking at a lot: this year alone my team has executed over 1,400 designs, and I have to review them quickly.

Some folks brought me black and white wireframes or two-dimensional visuals. This made me uncomfortable because it meant I would be putting my stamp of approval on a store, palette, or look that I had to try to construct in my head with no visual proof of how it would really go together. At that point we started to insist that everyone use SketchUp to model and paint in textures and surfaces so that I could approve designs with more confidence and authority.

 

The shift to SketchUp kicked off in the Miami studio where one of my senior designers led the effort. Since then, the Miami studio now designs more collaboratively, hosting a design charrette every week where they get together with their computers and a big monitor. They co-author five or six core stores in a day, figuring out the spatial design, palette and flavor, all within SketchUp. In the days where everyone was using different software, it was impossible to do this.

After testing the workflow out in this office, we got the entire Latin America studio using SketchUp, and then New York and Dallas shortly after. Over the past year and a half, we’ve been able to roll this out across the four offices I oversee. I’ve found that once my designers learn SketchUp, they genuinely have a lot of fun using it over other software. SketchUp has unlocked latent talent in our up-and-coming designers.

How does this get you closer to the finished product?

Our architects carry out site surveys and create the building shell in Revit. We export this model into SketchUp and carry out all of the interior architecture design in SketchUp. This includes refining the colors, materials, furniture, fixtures and fittings. We create a beautiful three-dimensional schematic design which we then hand over to our Architects of Record (AoRs). That’s what we give them to create the construction packages.

 

Every store is extremely special to our brand and to our customers: it’s their ‘third place,’ a space where people can sit and stay, or shop and learn. We aim to find the sweet spot between being brand-appropriate and being locally relevant so that the store feels right for that neighborhood, or the building that it sits in, or that part of the city.

And because the parameters are different every time, it means that each store has to be unique, right?

Exactly that. Within the stores, we have some simple principles that are really important for us. When we find a building, I think it’s really important to work with the bones of the space. So if the space has brick walls, or some surfaces that are distressed, or it has some great exposed trusses in the roof, then we want to celebrate the envelope, not cover up a bunch of stuff. This shell provides an envelope that hosts the hero of the space: the coffee bar.

“Where the bar sits, what it looks and feels like, the sight lines to and from it, how it’s lit, are all very important. We invest a lot of time into ensuring it’s like a finely crafted piece of furniture because it is the grand stage where we create “coffee theatre.”

Where the bar sits, what it looks and feels like, the sight lines to and from it, how it’s lit, are all very important. We invest a lot of time into ensuring it’s like a finely crafted piece of furniture because it is the grand stage where we create “coffee theatre.”

Your new store at 10 Waverly Place would be a case in point. What’s your favorite bit in this design?

10 Waverly Place is a reserve bar which means it’s a special store with an elevated coffee experience. The way that we prepare and brew coffee in there is pretty special. We have a Black Eagle machine, a Siphon — which is a Harry-Potter-like brew, — a Nitro brew, which means we can offer our customers cold brews on tap. The building itself was an existing building with a beautiful white terrazzo floor which happened to be in the same color range as our flagship store, The Roastery, in Seattle. So we preserved and resurfaced that, kept the existing brick walls and also commissioned some hand-drawn custom maps and artwork from a great artist called Tommy Tailor that I’ve collaborated with over the years.

 

What does the Starbucks design workflow look like?

Once we’ve found a building that can functionally hold a Starbucks store, we create a functional layout, that then develops into the first detailed floor plan. If this proposal gets the green light from our operations team, then we kick off the interior design work in SketchUp. Here we test out ideas for the bar, the lighting, and store palette. Doing this in SketchUp makes it feel like we’re working with clay: a lot of ideas can be tried out very quickly. The speed this affords us means we can rapidly visualize ideas, identify the ones we like and build on them as the design progresses.

What’s the one functionality you’re glad SketchUp has?

Without a doubt, it would be Style Builder. The way that we can tweak the default style to achieve a hand-drawn, warm, and not-too-perfect finish helps us to aptly portray a range of design aesthetics across our stores.

 

Rapid fire tech Q&A with Eduardo Meza, LEED AP and Senior Designer at Starbucks’ Miami Studio

1. We noticed that your team uses an impressive selection of materials. Where do you find and curate materials? 

The most commonly used materials had been created from photos and scans of our standard catalog.

2. Do all teams have a separate materials library? Or do you share your materials between offices? 

The Miami studio created a library with our standard materials and this is a library that we shared with other Starbucks Studios. Materials outside of our Standard palette are custom made per project.

3. Do you or anyone on your team use any SketchUp extensions within your workflow? If yes, could you tell us your top three? 

Yes; LSS Matrix, Section Cutface and Smart Drop.

4. What keyboard shortcut could you not live without? 

Shortcuts are a must for my workflow. Here my favorite and most frequently used custom shortcuts: M = Materials, C = Components, L= Layers.

10 Waverly Place, Brookfield Place and Broadway & 9th reserve bars have just opened across Manhattan. Pop by to see how these SketchUp visuals became a reality.

From furniture and fixtures to tech-savvy workspaces: See the Grammarly office in Kyiv

Leading architecture and interior design firm, balbek bureau, was chosen to design an entirely new space for one of Grammarly’s largest offices. This large, forward-thinking corporate space is located in Kyiv, Ukraine and hosts 150 employees. We connected with the lead designer, Andrii to discuss the details, challenges, and why they chose SketchUp for this project.

Give us some background on you, your team, and the types of projects you work on.

I graduated from the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture where I earned my architecture degree. After that, I started working at balbek bureau as an architect. balbek bureau works on various types of projects. However, we prefer the corporate and commercial sector; though, we are not limited to a particular type of building or a specific style. In line with this scope of work, we recently completed the new Grammarly office in Kyiv.

Our design team consists of 40 people, including architects, designers, visualizers, and project managers. We work in creative teams where there is a team lead architect, architects, designers, and a project manager. In general, each team consists of three to ten people. Because balbek bureau provides interior design services for a wide range of industries, the creative teams are formed according to the specific type or style of the project. For example hotels, large office spaces, medium-sized offices, cinemas, gas stations, beauty salons, showrooms, “adaptive reuse”, and restoration projects. 

For those who are not familiar with Grammarly, who are they and what do they do?

Grammarly is a global company with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Kyiv. They operate 24/7 and are used as a digital writing assistant by millions of people across the world. Grammarly uses a plethora of  IT devices and utilizes a high volume of communication and data exchange, both within individual and group settings.

What was the reasoning behind building a new Grammarly office? And did they have any requirements?

The Grammarly Kyiv team has grown significantly over the years and in 2016, they had outgrown their space. They needed to move to a larger space to accommodate all of their employees and operations. With that, Grammarly required a variety of spaces for different activities, including: 

  • A large conference hall with a seating capacity for 150 people
  • Multiple, smaller meeting rooms equipped with quality audio and video technology for conferences across the globe
  • Reception zone
  • Soundproof recreation room
  • Canteen for employees
  • Nap room
  • Several lounge zones
  • Restroom areas

Other requirements included eco-friendly materials, a warm color palette with a homely feel for the interiors, and adaptability and flexibility of the space. Our team was responsible for the location of the office, office layout, interior concept, and all of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Did you have to create different iterations of the design? If so,  how did you do this with such a large number of requirements?

Above all, designers are artists. For this reason, we developed only one design proposal, taking into account all of the above requirements. After that, the clients provided feedback on the design and requested changes. We made the requested changes, where it was needed, but in general, we didn’t create a range of design solutions, only some layout variations.

What was your design process for the Grammarly office?

We started by choosing a location for the new office. We had to choose between five different locations with seemingly different layouts. The winner was Gulliver business center in the city center. Since we didn’t have much time for the design project, the decision was to do all visualizations using SketchUp only, not using 3DS Max, as we normally do. We saved about three to four weeks using 3D models to get approval on the design with the Grammarly team.

 

After that, the design project was delivered in short terms for all engineering work. While choosing furniture and decorative materials, we were also checking all engineers’ layouts and drawings with accordance to our design project. The construction phase lasted for about one year.

Did you run into any challenges? If so, what were they?

Yes, the design was very unique to the space, so we encountered many challenges that we worked through including creating an open working environment with two levels, a suspension bridge, a nap room, and incorporating natural light and other elements to create a work-friendly environment.

The original office area consisted of only one level and a mezzanine of 300 sq. m. To use the space at its maximum, we divided the office area into levels with a suspension bridge and connected it to an open staircase. We also expanded the mezzanine area up to 450 sq. m. This created a siloed work environment for employees. After meeting with the Grammarly team and understanding their needs, our layout idea was to have a meet-up zone on the ground floor where everything would be centered around and would make employee interaction a focal point. The meet-up zone was essentially the “heart” of the office and had six open-plan working zones surrounding it with soundproofing for privacy. We had to make sure this separated the working spaces but also allowed for a sense of “openness”. To do that we developed a radial curve to separate the working areas, and connected the first and second floor with an open staircase. 

 

The nap room was another new design element for the building. This room had to be quiet and comfortable so employees could rest, relax, and recharge. We designed a space for three napping blocks. Each block had dark curtains to block out any light and a sensor under the mattress that would alert people if the room was occupied so people would not interrupt. 

 

Another tricky area was incorporating the suspension bridge. The length of the bridge is ninety meters, it loops around the office in a gentle curve, overlooking the entire office and expands slightly to accommodate rooms in its path. The bridge has no ground support, it is merely suspended from the ceiling. In order to keep the thickness of the bridge to a minimum, we passed the sprinkler system pipes under the main floor, and incorporated their fragments into the body of the bridge, blending them with the bridge’s structural elements.

 

Other challenges included the use of eco-friendly materials. We had to creatively think of ways to reuse these materials throughout the office space. This also included a natural light requirement to help create a positive work-life balance for the employees and contribute to a higher level of comfort and efficiency. 

For the natural light requirement, how did you know how much natural light would help with comfort? Did you analyze this?

Guided by the knowledge of the environmental design code of urban commercial buildings, a perimeter depth of 6m, or twice the floor-to-ceiling height, can be potentially daylit. Thus, the buildings deeper than 12m require more artificial light. The Grammarly office in Kyiv is 8.8 m, respectively; therefore, we placed the working areas closer to the source of natural light and the auxiliary rooms deeper into the office where they were supplemented with additional lighting.

 

Why did you choose SketchUp to design the Grammarly office?

We chose SketchUp due to the ease of use and speed. This project was under tight deadlines and we needed a tool that would allow us to work fast. Normally we would incorporate 3DS Max, but there was no time to do that. So we created everything in SketchUp—from the original design to the nitty-gritty details including textures.

 

What was your workflow in SketchUp?

First, we started designing the 3D models using measurements on site. After some work on the design construction, we moved onto smaller things like incorporating furniture, lighting, and textures. To save time, we used models from 3D Warehouse or from manufacturers’ websites. Our favorite part was the presentation of the model. We used cameras and scenes to showcase funny things, like a birthday cake in a table drawer. Also, we did not use any extensions. This was all native in SketchUp.

What are some benefits of using SketchUp in a corporate architectural project like Grammarly?

SketchUp allows you to work with a big, complicated model in one file, not dividing it to smaller ones. I also like SketchUp Viewer because we can easily present our designs to clients on their laptops. 

How did you manage the SketchUp model size and performance with such a large file?

Actually, it wasn’t a big deal. We kept everything in one model because the office had an open-plan layout. Based on this spatial concept, there were a minimum number of polygons, and all the interior details were in the separate files. The invisible elements weren’t included in the general SketchUp model.

How did team members collaborate on the same model? Were there challenges?

I worked on the general SketchUp model and assisting team members helped with the detailed objects in the separate files. It made our workflow easy and very efficient which helped with the tight deadlines we were under. 

Have you used SketchUp in any other projects? If so, what were they?

Yes, we use Sketch Up in most of our projects. The latest include:

Bursa hotel

4CITY

What’s your favorite SketchUp command?

“Flip”

 

Credits:

  • Architecture and interior design firm, balbek bureau
  • Architects: Slava Balbek, Andrii Berezynskyi, Anastasiia Marchenko
  • Project manager: Borys Dorogov
  • Client: Grammarly Kyiv
  • Photography: Andrey Bezuglov, Yevhenii Avramenko

What is NEW in SketchUp Pro 2020

The waiting is over as new SketchUp Pro 2020 is already here. The new version is all functioning and officially available since January 28th. So let us dive deep and see what software improvements are hidden there.

Over the years, each SketchUp version has become more convenient to work with. Innovations are the result of numerous surveys conducted among a large number of users – interior designers, architects and landscape architects. Compared to last year’s versions, the number of improvements may at first seem small, however, their performance is high and will benefit enourmously your workflow. So let’s start exploring.

The layers have a new name. Tags

We start with the first big change – the naming convention.
No matter how hard you try, you won’t find the Layers tab on the Default tray. That is because they have a brand new name – Tags. By creating a new Tag, we can hide objects during work. You already know that heavy geometry is advisable to be hidden while modeling another object.

Improved Outliner

The improvements come with the addition of an extra button to hide grouped objects. This allows us to hide heavy models without even tagging them one by one. In this case, if we use a SketchUp rendering scene, it would be much easier to adjust the light, for example. After all our settings, we find easily the models and save a lot of time. Just tagging a grouped object creates a preview as hidden geometry is another enhancement to the Outliner.

Grips on Bounding Boxes

The most significant improvement is in the new facilities for moving objects. It has taken a long time to get to the point where our 3D model will stick. From now on we will do it smoothly and easier than ever. Thanks to the bonding points of the bounding boxes, when you press the down arrow, all points appear without approaching them. Even if we select a point on the back of the model, it automatically enters X-ray mode. This allows us to move it without turning the camera. Smart, right?

Hidden Geometry & Hidden Objects

The new version of SketchUp Pro 2020 already has a way of seeing hidden geometry only on objects in a scene. So far, each of the hidden objects has only appeared in the scene when you hide the geometry. This innovation takes SketchUp to the next level.

LayOut Improvements

LayOut is one of the best ways to make technical drawings on your project since it loads your SketchUp file. Choosing a template will add an interesting presentation. As we know, by now we had to manually hide objects from the work window. Well, this is over. Here comes the improvement that we already called Tags and easily hide tagged objects here.

Ready to explore even more? Now you get your FREE trial and unleash your creativity.

Happy Sketching!

Designing Innovative Workplace Interiors with 3DEA Bulgaria

Ivan Borov got the 3D bug at fourteen when he collaborated with a friend on a project using SketchUp and Google Earth. He was fascinated by SketchUp’s accessibility and technology as a whole. Whilst studying interior design in Milan, a short film submission that combined his love for graphic design, video, and photo editing won him a scholarship.

During an internship at a large showroom in Milan, he realized colleagues were still drawing only in 2D. Keen to help transform the way they worked and improve efficiency, Borov introduced the team to the world of spatial 3D design in SketchUp.

He returned to Bulgaria in 2012 and worked at a furniture firm for four years before establishing 3DEA, a dynamic commercial interior design firm that delivers branding, and turnkey workplace interiors.

 

 

Tell us a little bit about 3DEA and the work you do.

I started 3DEA after several years of post-study work experience in Milan and Bulgaria. I had built up a network of professional contacts whilst working at a furniture company so I had a smooth transition into serving them as an interior designer. We typically work on large and small scale companies, helping to express their ethos, brand and visual identity within their interiors. We also create expo and stand design and signage. SketchUp is our Swiss Army knife that equips us to do all these tasks at different scales consistently well.

SketchUp is our Swiss Army knife that equips us to do all these tasks at different scales consistently well.

A key theme that runs through our projects is the combination of good design and buildability.

We run a lean team, collaborating closely with other design professionals, particularly architectural studios, as required per project. We find that this multidisciplinary team offers greater expertise and gravitas for securing larger bids.

3DEA was a team of five for a long time until I became a father early this year. This major life event forced me to review my approach to work and to find a better balance. This meant switching from 12 – 15hr days at the office to being more selective about the projects we take on, and working healthier hours in a more flexible way. I believe that you produce better work when you have a balanced approach to life, work, and design.

 

SketchUp rendering of a workplace interior designed by 3DEA

 

What sets 3DEA apart from the competition?

Our key differentiator is that we try new things. We’re comfortable learning through trial and error because it means that we might forge new paths. Making mistakes beats repeating known solutions simply because ‘that’s the way it’s been done’ over many years. This was an issue at the showroom I worked at in Milan, some of the veteran architects were still using the same workflow they’d used since they left university. It can, of course, be hard to try something new and fail, but it’s worth it in the end because that’s how innovation is born and good work is done.

 

SketchUp renderings of a workplace interior designed by 3DEA

 

Where did you train?

I studied Interior Design at the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Milan. The first year focused on laying a foundation in traditional drafting, in-person surveys of existing spaces, and hand drawing. The curriculum then progressed from 2D to 3D where we were taught a range of 3D programs. I found that SketchUp combines all the key functionality of the separate programs which helped me to save a lot of time and struggle. To be honest, I found it hard to learn some of the more complex software and was more keen to design and deliver than be hindered by technology. I could very simply model my design in SketchUp and then using LayOut, create my 2D technical drawings. I struggled at times when my files got too heavy and suffered a few crashes just before deadlines, but I learned how to model in a more nimble way, and I graduated successfully!

 

How important is it to ensure a workplace functions as well as it looks?

Balancing function and design is a fundamental requirement of any design task. The current trend of ‘Instagramable’ spaces tilts the focus of many designers of my generation to trends and fashionable design. Time has proven though that the appropriateness, usability, and resilience of a design is what ensures that it stands the test of time.

The appropriateness, usability, and resilience of design are what ensures that it stands the test of time.

 
Comparison of a SketchUp rendering and a post-construction photo of an interior elevation. Designed by 3DEA

 

How do you communicate the design decisions in your projects?

I’m inspired by Bjark Ingels’ approach to communication. Every project he creates has a clear story and a narrative that can be explained and understood by anyone. To achieve this same sort of clarity, we work to make our proposed solution visible to the client and end-users regardless of the project’s scale. We tend to incorporate a lot of pictures, sketches, real-life models, and 3D drawings, all of which we collate in LayOut. Each project poses different problems so we’ll leverage a different mix of media.

Annotated floor plan of the AECO Space project. Created using a SketchUp model and generated and annotated in LayOut.

 

You delivered an amazing workplace for AECO Space in Sofia, Bulgaria, tell us about this project?

Our brief for AECO Space was to design and deliver a functional and creative space for their staff and presentation and training areas that could stretch to fit a different number of software trainees. We had an airy space to work with; large windows, tall ceilings and lots of light. These lovely qualities posed a challenge. Whilst great for staff, these features proved problematic for their daily work, particularly training sessions and presentations hosted in-house.

 

Reflecting the AECO Space brand through color and material specification.

 

To create a more productive environment, we opted for blinds large enough to cover the expansive windows thereby addressing glare. This meant that we had to figure out how to securely hang the heavy blinds from the ceiling. The only catch was, we had suspended ceilings to counter the large floor-to-ceiling height! Using drawings and 3D models, we tested two visible and two hidden options. After consulting with the customer, we selected a hidden option that was then created and installed by a single contractor, saving us time and making the process much more efficient.

 

 

The original space was designed to house a bank so we inherited a formal granite floor that the client didn’t want. Fifteen to twenty percent of the budget had to be set aside to deliver the preferred flooring. Having a clear budget and roadmap for the entire project was essential to bringing in the project on time and within budget.

 

The as-built space is almost identical to your plans, how do you reach this level of accuracy during the design stage?

Delivering what we promised was easy because we employed a constructible workflow. By modeling the project with buildability in mind, we knew that we could deliver what we proposed, down to the electrical plan and the position of appliances.

 
Sectional elevation across the AECO Space office. Drawn using SketchUp Pro and compiled in LayOut.

 

It also meant that we could communicate the concept to the client with clarity, and deliver clear technical details to our contractors. Rendered, annotated and dimensioned drawings ensured that our tradesmen were able to install each element of the project easily. We did this with the bespoke floor tiles which had different colors and sizes, meaning that we could deliver clear drawings and ensure a smooth installation. We could also accurately calculate costs using takeoffs from our drawings and provide great guidance to our team.

Plan showing the floor grid, color, and positioning of AECO Space’s colored carpets.

 

Do you source real-world products to use in your proposals?

Yes, we source and specify real-world and bespoke items from a wide range of suppliers and contractors. On our project with AECO Space, we had about nineteen different contractors and subcontractors supplying fixtures, fittings, and electrics for a not-so-complex project! To get the best quality and price, and still meet deadlines, we’ve found that we need to work with the best.

Thankfully, we have a selection of companies that we work with and trust to deliver good quality work, on time and within budget. We curate and specify products from this pool.

In addition to this, we create bespoke pieces and import unique materials like Scandanavian moss from Finland which we used to create the six-meter-long lamp used in a project with AECO Space.

 

What is your current workflow in SketchUp?

During site analysis, we hand-draw a plotting survey that captures measurements that may become extremely important later in the design process.

 

Scaled and annotated 2D drawings created for the AECO Space project using SketchUp Pro & LayOut.

 

We also take lots of photographs. Back at the studio, we transcribe key details from the hand drawings and photos into 2D drawings in SketchUp. Once all amendments are done in 2D, we create our conceptual 3D models.

We generate images that the client can review, comment on and approve, and then we transition to technical 3D drawings and details, focusing on accuracy to ensure buildability. Our models are data-enriched because that helps us with estimation and specification.

Bespoke furniture details drawn by 3DEA for the AECO Space project.
 

Even without creating photorealistic renderings, SketchUp helps us to get the client excited about the concept. Then we focus on fascinating the client with the finished product.

 

When the client sets a tight budget, what tools do you use to estimate material and labor costs? 

We pull area and linear measurements from SketchUp’s Entity Info tab into Excel and use formulas to provide quick estimates for projects. Our models are data-enriched so that when the budget, specification or price changes, updated results can be generated very quickly.

 

What are your most used SketchUp extensions?

Make Faces saves me a lot of time. CleanUp³ helps us remove unnecessary elements and materials to make models lighter and easier to work with. We find Fredo Tools really useful and Round Corners is great for details because it eases the pain of manually rounding corners. I must also mention DropGC, Add Center Point (which is native to SketchUp), Fredo CornerMaterial Tools and Vray for rendering.

 

Photo of the AECO Space interior. Designed by 3DEA

 

Can you share the details of some of the projects that you are most proud of?

We designed a 3 x 1.4m all-in-one workstation with a metal structure for a 24/7 maritime surveillance tower which is in the Black Sea off the coast of Bulgaria. All the computers, equipment and wiring needed to be fully integrated within the metal structure. Solving the design problem was only a starting point. We needed to think through the delivery and installation logistics. Starting from a brief and one reference image shared by the client, we had six months to design, develop, and deliver the project.

 

Working drawings for a bespoke maritime workstation. Designed by 3DEA

 

SketchUp proved extremely important for figuring out if all the separate parts being made in Sofia would fit into the haulage truck before being assembled and then transported to Varna and Burgas. The desk’s home is similar to the leaning tower of Pisa and some of the pieces didn’t fit the elevator. This meant we had to simulate exactly how the desk would be positioned throughout the stairwell to eventually arrive in its final location at the top of the tower. This project was really tasking but satisfying to deliver and SketchUp was a great help from the beginning to the end of the project.

SketchUp was a great help from the beginning to the end of the project.

Another project highlight for me was designing and delivering our bespoke aluminum and oak veneer lamps across three floors of a new shopping mall in Bulgaria. We collaborated with a lighting manufacturer called Prisma to create three hundred of them with dimensions ranging from 50cm x 50cm, to 6 x 4m.

 

Photo showing 6m long bespoke lamps designed by 3DEA

 

Where can we find more examples of your work?

 

Text published on: August 15, 2019
Author: Sumele Aruofor
Sourcehttps://blog.sketchup.com/article/designing-innovative-workplace-interiors-3dea-bulgaria