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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

 

SketchUp Licensing from Zero to Hero: All the questions that you want to ask but you didn’t

So you know what SketchUp is. However, after the many updates, changes, and policies users often get confused regarding the possible SketchUp versions and licenses. Why do I have to pay annually? What do I get from a licensed SketchUp software? Does SketchUp have a web version? Do I have to install SketchUp only on my local computer? Well, we’ve gathered all your questions and prepared a structured answer that you can check below.

One of the most popular 3D modeling software – SketchUp, has different types of licensing. However, let’s begin from the beginning.

There are two types of software.

  1. Web (online, runs through a browser) 

The available SketchUp web versions are SketchUp Free, SketchUp Shop, and SketchUp Pro.

  1. Desktop (installation file for Windows or MAC, runs by starting the program)

There is only one available SketchUp desktop version: SketchUp Pro.

 

Before we take a closer look at each one of them, it is important to remember: First of all, you need to create your own Trimble account to start working. Second, remember your email and password for your personal account. 

How to create your Trimble account

You’ll need a Trimble ID to log into any of the SketchUp online resources including, 3D Warehouse, Extension Warehouse, and SketchUp Web and Shop. You’ll also need this login within SketchUp Pro for your subscription, or in the SketchUp Pro classic to use any of the previously mentioned resources within the software

Once you’ve arrived at a Sign-in page, just follow the steps to create your account.

You can access the Sign-in page HERE.

Or watch our tutorial video HERE.

SketchUp Versions

Your favorite SketchUp comes with several versions that you can use depending on your personal needs and proficiency level.  

SketchUp Free version – only Web

The free version is entirely web-based called SketchUp Free. To use it you only need an internet browser and internet access. Go to the official SketchUp Free page and log in with your Trimble account to start modeling. You do not need to install the software. Its‘ interface is different from that of the Pro version. Here you have the opportunity to model and texture your projects.

 

SketchUp Free Interface 

 

SketchUp Shop – only Web

SketchUp Shop is an improved version of SketchUp Free. To use it you need a subscription (connection) for one year. This version runs via an Internet browser. Again, you need a Trimble account to log in. The differences in SketchUp Shop are several – you can model and texture, and additionally, you have at your disposal the entire 3D warehouse library. Also, you have unlimited Cloud Storage for projects to keep and support. 

SketchUp Shop Interface

 

SketchUp PRO – Desktop

This is the most popular version of SketchUp. You need a Trimble account to log in. There are two types of licenses – annual and classic. Both of those licenses do not require an internet connection and you can start your modeling process directly on the desktop.

  1. The annual license is a subscription (connection) for one year. This license can run for 28 days a month without using the internet. You need to log in to the license server periodically.
  2. The perpetual license is permanent. After the installation you have a perpetual license, you do not need an internet connection. However, have in mind that this type of license will be available only to the end of October 2020.

 

Both license types are Desktop, you need to download and install it from the SketchUp site after logging in to your Trimble account. You do not need a browser after installation. 

The differences with the Web version are huge. After installation, you get two more software programs that work perfectly with SketchUp. The first is LayOut, with which you can easily make the technical documentation of your project. The second software is Style builder. With it, you can easily create your own style of your project. You can upgrade the software by installing your preferred extensions.

 

SketchUp Pro Interface

 

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Be healthy & happy Sketching!

A fresh, new update for SketchUp 2020

After introducing SketchUp 2020 in January and sharpening it in April, we’re pleased to announce an August update as well. These enhancements focus in on a few long-standing user requests. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Linear inference toggles for the Line tool in SketchUp

SketchUp inferencing comes in all shapes and sizes. One of the most distinct is the linear inferencing that allows you to snap or lock to the red, green, and blue axes. Linear inferencing makes SketchUp work, but it can also get in the way. For instance, if you are working with very small spaces or tracing images, we’ve heard from you that it would be helpful for inferencing to get out of the way.

To address this, the Line tool now features a modifier key [(ALT) on Win and (CMD) on Mac] to toggle linear inferencing on and off, so you can draw edges without being snapped to an inference. You can turn off all inferences, or leave only parallel and perpendicular inferencing on. Of course, you can still jump to a specific inference — red, green, blue, or magenta — using the arrow keys.  

 

 

Weld Edges in SketchUp

We added ‘Weld Edges’ to SketchUp’s native tools. This means you can join edges and arcs into a single polyline without installing an extension. If you haven’t used a weld extension, we recommend starting to weld edges for any face where you’d like a smooth push/pull extrusion. Select the edges you want to join, right-click and select Weld Edges.

 

 

Control line width, colour, and pattern by tag in LayOut

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how LayOut users stacked viewports to create incredible 2D drawings. The biggest lesson: it would be great if you didn’t have to stack performance-impacting viewports to get drawings to look the way you want.

We’re happy to share that you can now control the line style of SketchUp tags in LayOut. Before this update, rendering a plan view with different line weights meant hiding a bunch of geometry, creating different scenes, and stacking viewports. Now, you can adjust the edge width, colour, dash pattern, and dash scale in one viewport by assigning and styling tags.

 

 

Whether you need control of line styles for architectural drawings, production drawings, and details, or general illustration, we’d love to hear your impressions… or better yet, see your work. Share some examples of the drawings you create (or would like to make) in SketchUp and LayOut using the hashtag #LearnLayOut 

 

Smoother operations in larger LayOut documents 

Good LayOut documents are an arrangement of viewports, images, vector graphics, and labels. As pages get complex and documents get longer, operating on selections gets slower. To help speed up larger files, we’re excited to share changes to how the move, copy, and scale operations work. Now, LayOut previews these transformations instead of drawing them in real-time as you work with a selection. When you complete a move, copy, or scale operation, LayOut then redraws your action. This is a subtle change, but it brings a new feel and a lot more efficiency to LayOut.

 

Get access to SketchUp Pro and LayOut here and explore these updates today! 

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

How to Showcase Interior Design Projects with SketchUp

In part 1 of this series, we revealed how to create winning interior design options in SketchUp. Now that you’re finished modeling, what’s next? 

We show you how to present your vision to customers and blow them away with your designs. Pssst…sign up to watch a live demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar.

A SketchUp Pro subscription includes a powerful ecosystem of products to help you communicate your creations. Let’s explore!

Add custom Styles to your design

Adding your personal style is an important part of showcasing designs. StyleBuilder allows you to create customised line styles using imported digital or hand drawn strokes. Think crisp pen lines, wavy pencil marks or marks from a fat stick of graphite. Combine line styles with unique textures, colours and watermarks to inject your creative flair into models, renders and animations. 

In SketchUp, you can create and edit styles. Apply your preferred style settings with a single click.

Create stunning 2D drawings and branded presentation documents

Now that you’ve added a style, it’s time to insert the model into LayOut. When you import a 3D model, a viewport is placed on the page. Good news, the scenes you set up in your SketchUp file are ready to use in LayOut. 

Combine model views with text and 2D vector illustration to present design details, materials and design options. Many of the tools in LayOut work as they do in SketchUp. That means you can quickly get to drawing, resizing, adding details, making copies and changing styles and scale. 

Present your ideas with SketchUp Viewer 

Are printed drawings or a pdf the only way to showcase your work? Of course not! SketchUp Viewer for Mobile gives you the power to view and share your portfolio on iOS and Android devices. Take advantage of Augmented Reality to evaluate design options in a real-world scale. Switch between scenes to showcase designs on the go while retaining your model’s style.

 

Model on the go with SketchUp for Web

Not all CAD tools are fully editable on the web, SketchUp is! Handy if you need to make on-the-fly changes when you’re away from your desktop computer. Let’s say you’re in a meeting at a client’s office and they want to see a project with a revised furniture layout. Open a model to SketchUp for Web directly from Trimble Connect on any web device to make the changes in real-time. Save the file to Trimble Connect for easy access back at the office. 

 

Create rendered images with Trimble Connect visualizer

We’ll wrap this up with something that we are very excited about. Rendering! With a SketchUp Pro Subscription, you can create simplified renders using Trimble Connect for Desktop and the brand new Trimble Connect Visualizer. Note: this feature is currently available for Windows only.

Step into AR/VR to experience designs before they’re built

Do you have access to a VR or Mixed Reality device? If your answer is yes, you can bring 3D models to life in mixed or virtual reality. Step into a powerful new way to explore, understand, and share your work. The best part? It’s part of a SketchUp Pro Subscription.

Remember to sign up to watch a step-by-step demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar on December 11th, 4pm UTC.

How to Win Interior Design Projects with SketchUp

Pitching for a new project is one of the most exciting parts of the design process. Creativity needs to flow but deadlines are around the corner. You want to get ideas out of your head quickly and turn them into winning results that will wow your client, boss or team. 

Leverage the full power of a SketchUp Pro subscription at every stage of your creative process to deliver impactful concepts, quickly. Watch us do it live by signing up for our upcoming webinar (and keep reading for a sneak peak!) 

In Part 1 of this series, we’ll teach you how to start from scratch and create design options with ease. In Part 2, you’ll learn how to showcase those designs in their best light, leaving your audience mesmerized. The examples used are interior design focused but don’t worry, these concepts can be applied to almost any industry!

 


Get started with a 2D sketch, floorplan or photo in SketchUp Pro

There are a few different ways to bring your project into SketchUp right from the start. Don’t be afraid to use what you have depending on the project, whether a sketch, photograph (check out how to use Match Photo) or a 2D plan:

  1. Working from a hand-drawn sketch? Import the hand drawing as an image and start tracing with the Line tool to create a floorplan. This is an easy (and thus popular) way to bring a floorplan into SketchUp.
  2. Have a set of plans? Import a floor plan in CAD, image or PDF. Draw the outline of your project by scaling and drawing from the plan as a reference.

 


Bring the outline into 3D 

Once you have an outline, you’re ready to draw exterior walls. This workflow highlights how to use imported CAD geometry as your starting point


Create multiple design options using 3D Warehouse

It’s time to bring your space to life. Apply colors and textures with materials to add detail and realism to your models. Visualize your design ideas fast by importing real products from 3D Warehouse

SketchUp lets you quickly work through configurations and build upon the ones you like. Show off options for furnishings or add in various types of greenery to brighten the space and give your design some personality.

The key to showcasing and organising design options for your projects in SketchUp is use of Layers and Scenes. Layers help you organise your model, and Scenes help you present designs easily by adjusting layers, objects, styles and more! 


Save your project to Trimble Connect 

Now that you have your design options in hand, it’s time to save your project to the cloud. Trimble Connect offers you unlimited cloud storage with full version control. The best part? It’s included in a SketchUp Pro subscription

Part of a design team? 

Working together just got a little easier with Trimble Connect. Let’s say you’re working on the interior design at the same time another team member is working on the MEP design. 

You can import a reference model into SketchUp from Trimble Connect. You won’t be able to modify the model, but you can use it as context to more easily coordinate the project. This is useful when you have a team of designers working on different areas. 

Invite other people to your project, create groups with different permissions to control which files members can access. You can also utilize version control to track project history and progress.

 

Flying solo? 

Each time you upload a copy of your design file, Trimble Connect will keep track of the versions. Use version control to manage different iterations of your model and share those as design options with your client. Assign to-dos and quickly work through client feedback, all within Trimble Connect.

 


Sign up to watch a step-by-step demo of this workflow in our upcoming webinar on December 11th, 4pm UTC.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article to learn best practices for showcasing your design.