Chris Veness

3D Practice

Chris Veness

Trainer and Assessor at Open Colleges

“Interior designers will need to be at the forefront of what’s happening with the latest trends.”

Trainer and assessor Chris runs his own interior design and 3D practice. “While I maintain my position here at Open Colleges,” the trainer says, “I like to keep my industry currency high and that’s my ongoing work with clients to produce home residential designs, interior design fit outs for their homes.”

Chris says this pursuit focuses on residential design, “so that I can focus on commercial design which is a little bit more in-depth with lengthier projects.”

“Using residential design and my experience, I can quickly generate outcomes for my clientele and so it doesn’t really conflict with my work at Open Colleges. I think that’s beneficial to my current role here and obviously my students in giving them that practical knowledge.”

1 What are some of the recent interior design jobs you’ve done?

Being from the ACT originally, I mainly focus on single to two-storey residential complexes and these can be four – three, four to five bedroom homes. Given the scope of work from my clients, I’ve maintained their designs requirements and generate, I suppose, from concept level through to sketch plan design, to final document stage where I produce their residential design in CAD design software and then building information, 3D modelling software, a design solution.

I’m doing a lot of work within Gungahlin which is a very popular suburb. The main work that am I doing is for the new suburbs of Canberra called Moncrieff. There’s a suburb in Woden called Bright, a suburb called Crace, and there’s a lot of new homes and establishments issued by Lend Lease and sold off plan. So I’m working with a lot of developers to generate design solutions.

2 What are some of the big interior design computer programs in use at the moment?

BIM refers to Building Information Modelling and BIM will essentially replace CAD. I suppose if I were to break it down with Microsoft Office as an example, you got Word, you got Excel made from two different applications for a set of processes.

In my line of work, I would refer to BIM because essentially, the focus of BIM is to generate a 3D form. For instance, create a house that has a 3D model and then generate from that house 3D model, your plan views, your elevation views, cross-sectional views and these will then become 2D documents generated from 3D model. And so, it’s a fast practical application to generate design documentation more so than what CAD can provide.

3 Can students still get away with not being really proficient with the technology?

No. It’s something that you must follow and be up with. It’s increasingly becoming more popular. Many employees recommend you have good BIM software knowledge. The BIM application I’m using is Revit Architecture, but then you’ve got other BIM platforms such as VectorWorks or ArchiCAD.

It’s (I suppose) the competitor to Revit. You’d use one or the other. I mean it’s up to the designer as well. There is VectorWorks which is, I think, a more affordable application and can produce the same outcome and they are all different to a degree, but they do fall under the category of BIM and I suppose, achieve a similar outcome.

But without BIM knowledge, I think you’re behind. What we’re aiming for within our courses is good, sound CAD knowledge and I’m hoping that in the future, we’ll incorporate BIM training. So what we’ve found and the statistics show and all the blogging that I’ve read in the past and what I promote to my students is without sound CAD knowledge, you’re going find additional hurdles when you’re leading down the path of BIM, for instance, AutoCAD, being the largest CAD application globally.

Without AutoCAD experience leading to Revit Architecture, it could be a much slower process and I’ve seen this within a classroom environment when I received my commercial training in 2008 and then back in 2009. The class was divided with non-CAD users and then experienced CAD users and – yeah. The CAD users took off where the non-CAD users found it very difficult. So I think from a student’s perspective, having those essential skills in CAD will only benefit you later with BIM. It’s basically a stage process.

4 Take me through your career path. How have you developed your career?

Essentially, I exited university. I was put up as a manager of an office creating – building residential designs - but the main focus of this company was to create 3D walkthroughs and 3D visualisations for new developments.

That led into me purchasing the business and getting a business partner and we progressed through 2007. At that time, we’d work on “the concept.” The business name was Concept Three, but in that time, we would work in other offices to gain insight into larger, more complex projects that we would take back to Concept Three. We’d apply those skills to our smaller projects.

With work experience, I started with the larger firms during my studies. Every holiday I had, I worked free of charge to gain that experience. And I “chopped and changed” between teaching, and then went back into design. Because of this, I have offered a better service to my students ultimately.

5 hat are some of the design related websites, blogs and magazines that you’ve read in the past month?

I follow Houzz - a very good website, with the latest commercial and residential design solutions. I’ve also got Pinterest and Tumblr. So I can just login to see what people are doing worldwide for inspiration and the Design Institute of Australia website.

6 When you find a good blog or magazine or design piece, what are some of the things you find appealing about it?

I suppose the engagement factor. If I gain inspiration from a new piece or I see something clever in a commercial space or in a residential space, it will resonate if it relates to a project that I’m working on.

It could be something as simple as a clever idea for a study nook or a joinery piece - or even a clever idea for storage.

7 Why is it important to keep developing?

Interior designers will need to be at the forefront of what’s happening with the latest trends. I suppose this helps promote certain aspects of design for the knowledge that we pass on to our students.

If I find something that combines all design elements and principles, I think it adds value to a particular assessment piece for a student and helps them identify what they’re looking at.

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