Building furniture model in 3D layout. Challenge no. 2
In the previous part, we have discussed the difference between mass production furniture design and bespoke furniture design. We defined what challenges a constructor face and discussed the problems of importing premises layout in his CAD system.
In this section, we will discuss how to design furniture based on premises layout or model provided by a planner or architect.
The structure of the furniture is dictated by the space allocated to it. Even when designing series furniture that does not apply to a particular space, the designers determine the main volumes and, based on them, design furniture. Meanwhile, when designing furniture for a particular room, its design inevitably has to refer to that space – the volume allocated to that furniture.
How to design in such conditions?
The designer can use two different design ways:
- Top – Down;
- Bottom – Up.
Building furniture model inside building layout
More popular is „Bottom – Up“ design way when first the parts of the model are designed and then it is assembled to part bodies. The other way „Top – Down“ means that the volume of furniture is designed first and then it is shredded to the parts. This technique is not very common in furniture design.
We can only guess why „Bottom – Up“ is a more popular method because „Top – Down“ is way more natural and intuitive. Probably it‘s because the parametric systems which allow using „Top – Down“ were developed later. Also, AutoCAD is still very popular design system – to date, it is still being promoted in most high schools as the main CAD design system.
Working in context, the preferred way is to maintain a logic of division – the largest unit is the room where the volume of furniture is emitted. Then this volume is split into smaller pieces of furniture, and these in turn into parts.
For example, Kitchen (the premise) à in it the volume is dedicated for kitchen furniture and kitchen equipment à the volume is divided in cabinets à cabinets are divided into tabletops, shelves, drawer, etc.
„Top – Down“ approach allows the constructor to create and explore a few furniture concepts without much effort. This helps to find the solution that best suits the space and requirements you have.
„Bottom – Up“ way means that initially, lower-level components are designed – the parts from which you need to “assemble” the furniture which, in turn, needs to be placed into the space reserved. The result can be seen only at the end of the process when there is an “assembled” furniture. If it doesn‘t fit into the reserved frame, the designer has to go back to the lower level and rebuild everything again. Replacing one part causes changes in other parts that affect the entire assembly and may again cause discrepancies in the space. For example: To reduce the simple kitchen cabinet, 2-3 pieces need to be replaced, and in the case of more complex furniture, this way of design becomes a „debugging“ of the furniture. The whole cycle has to be repeated several times until the “lower” level parts meet the “upper” level requirements. This repetition of the cycles takes a lot of time and limits the possibilities of creating and exploring alternative furniture concepts.
The “Top-down” design method maintains the above-mentioned logic of decomposition-the constructor consistently, level after level, shreds the room to the parts. Then lower-level derivatives are designed in accordance with the higher level boundaries. And finally, the furniture and their parts are designed to meet the requirements of the plan. All this is called parametric design, when a higher-level derivative is changed, the lower geometry automatically changes. “Top-down“ is a much more effective way to of furniture design in context.
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