What design method or tool do you use today that you didn’t ten years ago?
In terms of process, we now do a lot more designing and presenting, using physical modelling and full-size test-rigs in the studio, rather than just computer modelling. That’s partly to do with simply having a larger studio, but also because it leads to more interesting and suitable designs. If a client can see past the rough materials of a lash-up model and gets the narrative and possibilities, then things go smoothly. It’s a good filter.
What is relevant now compared to the past, is the opportunity to design with new tools and materials. The materials used to make objects are not only functional, they now need space for narration so design becomes the medium to make it happen. The second interesting tool is computer technology which allows people to design in one place and make the final object in the opposite part of the world.
I would like to highlight the use of the web for telling a design story to customers. Carpet is very difficult to project from a small swatch in a book. The web allows us to tell the product story, create a mood and a style, educate the user and put forward an aesthetic point of view.
Millitron digital patterning technology was something that was new to me when I started working for Milliken two years ago. It’s a technology that takes time to master but its capabilities allow us to create innovative printed design in line with design and colour trends. Working on a variety of different substrates was also new to me so this, together with the design and colour flexibility Millitron offers, was a refreshing change.
When I trained, there were no computers – we drew everything by hand. In the last 10 years this process has changed drastically and computers are now the basis of every design we produce; using programmes like AutoCAD. Similarly, the advances in manufacturing have been significant too. The development of things like laser cutting means that we can now design concepts and furniture pieces that wouldn’t have been conceivable 10 years ago.
My biggest design tool when generating initial concepts is my notepad and a pen. I don’t think this will ever change regardless of the evolution of software around me. I have however, noticed that my interaction with 3D design software has increased considerably. The ability to quickly draft up a concept and then shift smoothly through to the technical and visual elements enables me to be a more efficient designer.