Meeting the challenge of "visualisation"

People often talk about difficulties in visualising things that are still at the planning stage. At PipSqueak, like many other design companies, we use 3D printed models to show clients how items will look.
However, the heart of the problem with visualisation is that we are not simply visual creatures: we interpret our surroundings using all our senses.
Medieval masons chalked out full-size drawings on their planning-room floors. At PipSqueak we go further, often creating full working prototypes such as this one. What's happening here? An active discussion between architect, structural engineer and designer (including actually drawing on the prototype!)

Prototype stairs being assessed and anno


Putting the world in your hands

Textures, sounds, smells - even temperatures - are vital elements affecting how we respond to our world. That mug you love? It's the thickness of the rim and the texture of the glaze, the handle's size and shape - even the weight of the mug itself - which make it perfect for you.
For safety's sake, stair rails need to feel comfortable and welcoming to the touch - they are no use if people don't use them. Full-size samples let clients try the shape and diameter of a stair rail in their hand; particularly helpful if the design appears narrow or delicate.

3D printed handrail sample


Loving the challenge

Emotions have a lot to answer for - they power our "gut response" to the things around us. They can also, however, limit a designer who is unfamiliar with a material or technique. At PipSqueak, we work in so many different specialist fields that combining materials and processes in remarkable new ways is second nature to us.
At Lotus, they glue together their cars' aluminium sub-frames. Have you ever seen a bonded aluminium staircase? Or a carbon fibre front door? Or a roof that opens to the sky? We know how to make adventurous design achievable.

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Skyhut partial open (1 of 1).JPG