Fast ideating and concepting

Patrick Jouin is one of France’s most acclaimed designers, and he is one of the earliest Shapr3D customers. He has shared with us how he uses Shapr3D in his workflow, and how it enabled him to communicate concepts more effectively to his team of designers and to his clients.

Some background

I am a designer from the old times. I started with pen, pencil, and paper and I still enjoy that kind of workflow.

patrick jouin

I studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris. It is an interdisciplinary industrial design graduate school. Just after graduation I started working with Philippe Starck and spent five years as his right hand. That’s one of the reasons why people still assume I’m his protégé. The truth is: he introduced me to furniture design and taught me the essentials of curiosity in design. But I have stopped working for him 20 years ago, so it’s safe to assume I have my own style and design concepts.

chairs 3d model

Back in the ’90s, everything was done by hands. In fact, Philippe Starck didn’t allow us to have computers at all. We literally had to hide them when he was around. But after a while, he realized the power of AutoCAD and later allowed computers in the design process. I used 3DS and AutoCAD but learned all of these on my own.

Partly due to this heritage, I am still better at free-hand sketching. I have never been good with 3D, I am just much faster with sketching. This is why I have a full team who helps me develop my ideas.

Patrick’s workflow

There are about 45 people in my design agency. A third of them are industrial designers, another third are architects and the other are interior designers. The industrial designers mostly use SolidWorks, the architects use Rhino. But we also use AutoCAD and 3ds Max.

church 3d model

church 3d model

Our workflow was pretty straightforward and standard: I would start sketching by hand in my sketchbook and pass the concept to the team. Then they would try to understand it and see if it was actually doable in 3D. So many times it turned out that the drawing and the sketch didn’t make sense in 3D. I was always looking for solutions that combined natural sketching and 3D (to overcome this ineffectiveness in the workflow).

Later when I saw the Shapr3D demo video, I got really excited. It required the newly released Apple Pencil, so I  knew right away that it would be much more precise than fingers. I had really high hopes. I downloaded the app and signed up for a PRO in less than a minute. Haven’t regretted it ever since.
3d design room

Of course, in the beginning, the software had a few problems, bugs, but it has been improving and getting more stable. Shapr3D was actually what I was looking for.

When I am designing new furniture or building I need to make precise sketches for the team. The more precise sketches they get, the faster our design process will be. Shapr3D helped a lot in that sense.

For example, I am designing the new furniture for the Paris subway.

  1. At first, I pick up my sketchpad and use a pencil to put down some ideas.
  2. Then I use Adobe Photo Sketch to create a mix of drawings on my iPad Pro.
  3. Then I go to Shapr3D to have my sketches in 3D to verify that the concept is right and is potentially working.
  4. If the concept seems right, I hand it over to my team to refine it.

Shapr3D helps a lot throughout the entire process, here’s why:

First off, I can make sure that paper-based design will work and can be efficiently recreated in 3D. I can quickly check if the proportions are right or not.  It’s like a quick step before a mockup.

Also, the iPad Pro has a flat surface, just like a piece of paper right in my hands. I can concentrate better, and my vision is more focused. It feels more natural than having a computer screen in front of me.

3d model lamps

In our client and agency workflow, Shapr3D helped a lot in speeding up various processes. My goal has always been to make clients and the team understand my intention, so that they know where I want to go with the design. Now I can send them my ideas in 3D, which means I give them something more precise that can be further refined in SolidWorks, Rhino or other tools.

Using the image import function, I have designed an architectural concept for Paris. I imported the plan of the area and quickly sketched the base of the buildings.

Showing concepts to clients

The other day I was in Macau, designing a restaurant. It will be a 1600 m2 restaurant. It’s just too big to imagine. Even the client had problems visualizing it, especially because the room is only 3,5 meters high. So the proportions were just not good for a paper sketch.

reception prototype 3d

I imported the plan of the space in Shapr3D and extruded the pillars. It took me less than a minute to visualize the entire space. I was able to navigate the space in front of the client, and it was immediately clear to everyone how I imagined the place to look like. I could also showcase the chair concepts I had for the restaurant.

Concepting in the 21st century

I can also take screenshots of my designs and use Pixelmator to draw on it. It takes approximately an hour. Before it took me the whole day to do it.

So I can do complex things more precisely and much faster. That is a rare combination. Many tools that are fast, are usually not precise enough. Or if you want to be more precise, it slows you down. Shapr3D combined these two advantages together.

This also changed some other elements of my work, because I can verify designs faster and can trash them easily. This might be strange at first but think about it. When you spend too much time on something, you don’t want to destroy it. You fall in love with it with time passing by. When it becomes too advanced, you just don’t want to go back and trash the bad stuff.

3d model building

Designing is choosing.

We all have lots of ideas. But which one is the right one? The tool and the faster design workflow helps me choose which idea is right.

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