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Case Studies & Process

The design process is frequently seen as a costly "add-on" when a product is manufactured or being sold. This viewpoint is sadly flawed, because good design work changes the product or service and adds value throughout the entire business.

Hopefully some of the examples below will show this in action.

Brilliant Media

As an employee of Komfort Workspace, in early 2008, I worked with the managers of the Manchester team at Brilliant Media to design their new offices. Brilliant were taking the ground floor of the prestigious Bauhaus building (Rossetti Place) in the city centre and had some concerns about how to best use the space.

The large, full-height glazed exterior, facing Quay Street, was perceived as a potential obstacle - providing a distraction for staff and a temptation to would-be burglars. After some discussion I put it to the team that, with the application of frosted film, the natural light could be retained, whilst eliminating the other negative issues.

University of Sheffield

The Information Commons is a learning centre designed by RMJM Architects and represents a 23 million investment by The University of Sheffield.

During my employment with Broadstock Office Furniture Ltd I was responsible for developing RMJM's interior vision into a realistic furniture layout incorporating power and data management concerns through the raised access floor. The Broadstock team developed the cool workstations you see in the photography, with a different colour for each of the 6 floors.


Interior Design concepts are frequently difficult to explain to the client and a picture truly can be worth a thousand words.

For this reason I've always been keen to maintain my hand-sketching skills and to keep up to date with the latest 3D graphics software in the industry.

On the left are a number of visuals I produced using different techniques.

From the top:

  • A rendering produced entirely in 3D Studio Max.
  • A hand drawn image traced from a photo and coloured up in Adobe Photoshop.
  • A basic SketchUp visual extruded from an AutoCAD plan. (SketchUp gets a big thumbs-up vote from me 'cos its FREE!)

There are no hard-and-fast rules for visualising design concepts, and it helps greatly to have an arsenal of skills from which to draw, allowing you to pick the most appropriate technique based on the information provided in the brief, the time allowed and the resources available.


A large percentage of my working life is spent space-planning office interiors. The planning process is primarily carried out using AutoCAD software.

You can get AutoCAD to automatically output a table showing the products planned into a drawing - if the drawing and library of products has been set up correctly. This "data extraction" process is something I've specialise in, since it makes quoting furniture schemes relatively easy, and requires no proprietary software.

Click on the thumbnail image to view a larger PDF file of the example plan. (Note: you will need to have Adobe Reader installed in order to view this file.)

Stage Scenery

Scenery on a budget for the Dean Row School of Dancing's annual theatre production, in aid of the N.S.P.C.C.

Wood-framed panels upholstered with canvas were painted with emulsion to create a Chinese-style pagoda scene.

City Graphics Montage

The Manchester skyline montage above was a proposal for the Komfort Workspace showroom in Manchester. You may recognise the huge Beetham Tower, circular Library building and Piccadilly station amongst other landmarks. Most of the images were royalty free stock on the web but some images I snapped myself.

The process of blending the shots together in Photoshop was really enjoyable and I'd love to do more work of this kind in the future.

Partition Sections

These visuals were extremely quick to produce in 3D Studio Max, since the sections already existed as technical AutoCAD drawings. It was easy to import the sections into MAX, extrude them and assign pre-set materials.

I used default lighting settings too, so the two visuals (originally rendered as hi-res .jpg files) took about a half-hour to produce.