From food poverty to homelessness, Andreas Tjeldflaat is tackling humanity's biggest urban crises. Find out how V-Ray for Rhino helps him envision solutions.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
AT: Design inspiration comes from a wide range of places. As a curious person, I have always enjoyed learning new things and exploring different branches of knowledge – natural science, history, psychology, humanities – enabling me to pull from and cross-reference disparate ideas during the design process. This curiosity also propels me to ask questions and seek to understand the perspectives of others.
When it comes to communicating projects, I find inspiration from other creative fields: painting, photography, illustration, film. A few that come to mind are Mir, Fernando Guerra and Cruschiform — they’re all masters of composition, light and storytelling.
Could you talk us through the process of creating one of your designs, from initial concept to final render?
AT: My design process varies depending on the nature of the project. To generalize, I typically start by identifying the principal issue of the project. This is often not defined clearly enough in the design brief and is dependent on the initial phase of research to be investigated further. Through reading, observing, talking to experts, etc., I try to immerse myself in the layers of context around the project (environmental, technological, social, infrastructural, economical, etc.) to clearly understand the significant touchpoints and stakeholders of the project.
As project objectives crystallize, I will then start to test preliminary, crude ideas through diagramming, hand sketching, digital modeling in Rhino and quick renderings with V-Ray, with as low design resolution as possible. This initial synthesis phase primarily focuses on quantity to exhaust the ‘solution room’ of ideas.
Next, two to five concepts will be developed further and studied at a higher design resolution. I will test these against the design objectives and through feedback from client and stakeholders. At this stage, as a final concept comes into focus and I develop the various details of the project, renderings are one of the most important tools for driving the design development and helping communicate ideas.
Shelter with Dignity
How does visualization with V-Ray for Rhino help breathe life into your ideas?
AT: V-Ray serves several critical roles in the process. For me, it is primarily a design tool for visualizing and testing ideas contextually. Through ‘digital mockups,’ renderings offer immediate feedback on lighting, textures, materiality, etc., allowing me to calibrate the project in relation to use scenarios, site and context. Secondly, V-Ray empowers the process by enabling effective communication of the project to the client and stakeholders.
. . . V-Ray strikes the perfect balance between level of control and ease of use. It minimizes the distance from idea to feedback, while allowing for high degrees of customization of the scene.”
Andreas Tjeldflaat, Framlab
Can you think of any challenges that V-Ray is particularly good at solving?
To me, V-Ray strikes the perfect balance between level-of-control and ease-of-use. It minimizes the distance from idea to feedback, while allowing for high degrees of customization of the scene.
How do you ensure that your models seamlessly integrate with background plates?
This is achieved by studying the background image's visual attributes – perspective, color tone, light direction, shadows, etc., and matching these as best as possible in the CGI scene. I also typically try to situate the project in the middle-ground of the scene.
Plug & Dwell
Do you have any tips or tricks for V-Ray users?
AT: My advice would be to recognize that there are fundamental components to an image – composition, depth, lighting, and visual economy – which carry the bulk of its effectiveness as a storytelling tool. In my experience, it has been productive to frontload the work of dialing in these primary elements before investing time into developing the finer-grain details of the scene.
How do you think the COVID-19 situation will affect the industry?
AT: In the immediate term, because transmission of the virus is linked directly to how we organize ourselves spatially, architectural designers will be tasked with reimagining spaces by accounting for this new set of design constraints. I am worried that this will be a relatively short-lived adjustment and we will quickly forget (as we have a tendency to do) and revert to business as usual when a vaccine is widely available.
But there are invaluable lessons to be learned during this time – both for the AEC industry and society as a whole – to challenge our notions of an equitable, just, and healthy built environment, particularly given the high risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks.
What are you working on next?
AT: I always have (a few too) many projects on the drawing board at any given time. In addition to the ongoing development work of some of the concept proposals, new projects include an off-grid cabin, a bee hotel and a Manhattan restaurant.