The Dreaded Design Cycle - Does it have to be that way?

July 1, 2020

Every office designer is familiar with the hitches and hold-ups that follow the excitement of getting a brief. The joy of finding creative solutions is too often dampened by technical hassle and supposedly inevitable delays – even on a relatively smooth project. But does it have to be that way?

How the usual design cycle goes

“Dear designer, 
Congratulations! We would like to hire you to redesign our office. Here are some photographs of our office and the floor plan, and here are our requirements. Can we review proposals next week? We can’t wait to see what you come up with!”

Day 1

With excitement, the designer opens the floor plan, and sees it’s an image file. So she launches Revit, imports the image, and starts tracing it so she can have a 3D model to work with. A day later, she finally finishes modeling the existing structure so she can start her design. 

Day 2

Now she can work on a few layout options in Revit, exporting views and floor plans in order to put a presentation together in InDesign.

Day 3

She realizes she’s missing renderings that demonstrate the look and feel of the space (colors, materials and so on), so she jumps back into Revit and using her rendering plugin, spends the next few days setting up materials and lighting – and waiting for the rendering to complete. 

Day 5

It’s finally presentation day. She triple checks her work and prints it all out on letter size paper. She saves her presentation on her iPad, and meets her client on-site. During the meeting, the client wants to rearrange the layout and change the color of the furniture. The designer takes notes and promises to email the modified design in a few days. 

Day 6

Back at her office, the designer launches Revit and realizes that her file was not saved properly and some of her work was lost. Frustrated, she repeats her previous work and implements the new design based on the notes from the meeting – reminding herself to save her work every 15 minutes. 

Day 8

After a few more days of work, she’s able to deliver an updated presentation to her client with a new floor plan and renderings. She emails her client the presentation and waits for feedback. 

Day 9

The designer receives a response from her client with a long list of redlines on the presentation, driving her back to Revit to update the design and re-render the presentation.

Day 23

Two weeks later – after a number of rounds of back-and-forth – the design is approved by the client. The designer then goes back into Revit, cleans up all the furniture families, and generates a furniture schedule.  She sends the schedule to her vendors for a quote. 

Day 26

The designer receives the quote from her vendors. She finds that she has exceeded the project budget and that the lead time for some of the furniture will not meet the project deadline. She starts the process over, coming up with a new design that better meets her client’s requirements.

So much for “the way we do things”.

What’s wrong with the current design process?

A time-consuming, repetitive, manual process
Lack of transparency on inventory, lead time and cost
Difficult to maintain the source of truth once a client has moved into the space

Imagine if all that changed!

How the design cycle could be

Day 1

With excitement, the designer opens the floor plan, and sees an image file. She visits, logs in, and uploads the floor plan, ordering an Essential model conversion. She starts to sketch out her ideas, and begins putting together design options in her Archilogic materials library. By the end of her work day, she has a handle on a few design possibilities.

Day 2

The Essential model of the floor plan is waiting in the designer’s Archilogic dashboard. She opens the model from a browser, and uses the Editor to separate the floor area into zones. Once she assigns each zone a function, a layout of the space is automatically generated, which she reviews and adjusts as necessary, replacing generic furniture with furniture that matches her design. Since lead time and cost information are tracked within her furniture library in Archilogic, she sees that she can’t use some of the specified furniture for this project and quickly finds alternatives. Satisfied with her design, she saves a copy of the model as “Option 1” and continues to generate more design options.

Day 3

It’s presentation day! She triple checks her work and uses the Print app in Archilogic to print out the floor plan and some screenshots of the 3D model, along with an analytical overview of space utilization that includes seat count, inventory count, and budget. She meets her client on site, iPad in hand. During the meeting, the client wants to rearrange the layout and change the color of the furniture. The designer opens the model on her iPad and makes the changes in real time. Impressed with the updated proposal, the client is ready to sign off on the preliminary design. 

The designer exports the furniture inventory list and shares the URL of the model with her vendors for a final quote, confirming budget and lead time.

Day 4 

One of her vendors has left comments on the model – certain furniture choices won’t be available within the timeline, so they have recommended alternative products. The designer forwards the Archilogic link to her client immediately for their review, and within a few hours, she receives feedback in the model.

Day 5

After a few iterations within Archilogic, the client approves the alternatives and signs off the final design. The designer sends the model link to her architect to generate construction documents. The model is imported in Revit and implementation can begin.

So many problems are solved.

Using Archilogic’s smart, streamlined platform doesn’t just speed up the design process – it enables better working at every step. Instead of wasting time patching together information and outputs from a handful of different programs, designers can work within a single tool, and consolidate input from all stakeholders in the same place. The model is always up to date, always adaptable, and fully responsive to changes in requirements or preference. And with practical inventory details built in, the friction between creative ideas and budget limits is dramatically reduced – it’s so much easier to keep costs down if you can see what they actually are! 

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