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BILTasia wrap up & look beyond

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Apparently you just have to take this picture, so I did.

I know, I know, it’s been a while and I should have wrote something about BILT asia way before but when I was back we had the Design Week and then there was Easter and then we had this Dynamo workshop to prepare and then a cat ate my article and… well, you got the picture.

Anyway, all I needed was a little time and here we are.

Now the RT… oooops, I mean BILTasia was wonderful and I was so happy my BIM manager convinced me to go there. Singapore is a wonderful city and I can’t even begin to list all the amazing people we met there. If you want to have a hint on all the crazy stuff that was going on these days, just check the #BILTasia here and knock yourself out. Although I am a little disappointed that Joe Banks got towel animals and we didn’t.

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Anyway, the conference was great. If I have to summarize its main trends, they would be:

1) Implementation of BIM in your office and training of your staff. Yes. Again. It’s a thing. Don’t reverse-Dunning-Kruger yourself: just because you did it, it doesn’t mean everybody did. The topic is still interesting for lots and lots of people and the topic of training will always be relevant, so let’s try to never forget that. The main classes I would mention regarding these topics were: – Implementing BIM In Your Organisation – How Hard Can It Be? by Dave Willard; – Start Your Engines: Keys to Implementing a Smooth Transition to BIM by Joel Martineau; – YOU DID WHAT!!??!! | Bat-Shit Crazy Revit by Jay Zallan (probably my favourite class of the whole three days). And then of course there was us. We did a second take of the implementation class some of you saw in Vegas, with a couple of twists and some additional material in the third phase.  

2) Virtual Reality and real-time Renderings
It’s the next best thing and it totally makes sense: once we’ve learned how to deliver better documented buildings (or at least we should have learned by now… se point above), now we need to communicate them in a better and more efficient way. Exit traditional renderings, enters interactive, video-game inspired real-time stuff where you can roam around and shoot zombies while you’re evaluating the project. Who wouldn’t like that? We talked about it in our interior design class but there were amazing classes just focused on the subject and among those I just have to mention:
– BIM To VR Via FREE Gaming Engine by Dominic Martens;
– Virtual Reality for AEC: As Real as It Gets by David Weinstein of NVIDIA;
– Real Time Rendering And VR For Revit by Joe Banks;
– Stop Rendering and Start Exploring: Getting Started with Revit and Enscape by Phil Read (this guy is so amazing he managed to deliver a touching presentation even when talking about textures and maps).

.Dominc Martens - VR Dominic Martens - Origins of VR.

Talking about Enscape, below you find a sum-up video those guys did. They are wonderful, we’re crazy about their product and I urge you to support them, if you have the chance.

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3) Data-based Collaboration
We’ve had the golden age of file-based collaboration (IFC) and I kind of think it was like a really shining copper. Time to try something else.
If you’ve been following us around, you know we are really fond of the concept behind Flux and we were really happy to see that this conference had lots of spots for those guys. It’s another product we try to support whenever we can because, just like it happens with Enscape, it’s a workflow improvement and has a huge concept behind it. Lots of classes about this kind of collaboration, and collaboration in general.
– 25 Flux/Dynamo Scripts for Everyday Use by Dominic Martens;
– Flux.io – User Success Stories and the Google Doc-ification of BIM Data by Anthony Buckley-Thorp of Flux itself.

Together with Buro Happold, Flux presented the Smart Space Analyzer: try it out here.

4) Generative Design
Lots of labs and talks about Dynamo, still a golden boy of these kind of conferences, and adaptive components. Our favourites were:
– the MTR Disneyland Resort Line Sunny Bay Station offered as a case study by Arthur Gunawan;
– Dynamise Your Facade with Operations and Optimisation by Ritesh Chandawar and Adriel Sim.
Amazing material provided by both of them!

5) BIM for Interior Design
Well, this was a surprise. I didn’t think we were the only ones to do that, but sometimes it does feel a little lonely although the advantages are so obvious it drives me crazy. Therefore we were happy to see other classes talking about the same topic and lots of people in the audience being interested and active in the field. Let’s stick together, guys: it gets cold at night.

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So here we are and there we were: we had fun, it was really interesting and if I failed to mention something just come back to me: you know where to find me (and unluckily enough I’m not by the swimming pool anymore).

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But enough about Singapore, time to think about Vegas ’cause yes (hell yes) proposals submission is open for Autodesk University.

Now, unsurprisingly enough the trending topics  are all about those next things I was talking about:
– smart manufacturing;
– augmented reality;
– business management;
– infrastructure design and engineering;
– virtual reality.

You’ve designed and documented that damn building: time to start thinking about how to communicate it (on one hand) and manufacture its components on the other hand.

BIM @ PoliTO – 26.04.2017

In thanking prof. Anna Osello and Massimiliano Lo Turco for their very kind invitation, and the brave students for their attention, as I promised you can find at this link the presentation I used for my lecture today. It’s the same one but I swear that slides are in focus so you probably won’t need my gesuring in order to figure out what’s in them. The presentation, as usual, can be copied, shared, reused, referenced and recycled for any legal and polite use you might think of. Knock yourselves out.

As you don’t have many texts in the slides, following you find a list of the projects that are referenced in the presentation.

  1. Le Corbusier, Houses for artisans (it’s the project in the cover page);
  2. Antoni Gaudì, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo. If you want to check out the work of the digital master who is trying to finish Gaudi’s job on the Sagrada Familia, you might want to look for Mark Burry;
  3. Eero Saarinen, Gateway Arch;
  4. Sergio Musmeci, Ponte sul Basento;
  5. Luigi Moretti: study for a stadium, Casa Balilla and a most hated building in c.so Italia, Milano;
  6. Frank Gehry: Guggenheim in Bilbao and the New York Beekman Tower (nr.8 Spruce Street);
  7. Zaha Hadid and Design to Producion, Hungeburg Funicular Station in Innsbruck;
  8. SHoP, Porter House;
  9. Adam Modesitt, Cenotaph for Richard Feynman;
  10. Arthur Harsuvanakit and Brittany Presten, Elbo chair;
  11. Bastian Schaefer (under the supervision of —), new Airbus cabin partition (see, that was the word I was looking for!);
  12. Flux Metro (the platform is down, but you can find lots of tutorial videos about the project);
  13. Google Sunroof;
  14. Buro Happold, Smart Space Analyzer.

 

Dynamo @ PoliMI Lecco (21-22.04.2017)

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Well, it was a wondrous two days in Lecco at Politecnico with the students of the Information Modelling Management course and we were very glad to come over and show some Dynamo in action. Although in two days you are merely able to scratch the surface of the complex and marvelous things you can accomplish with this kind of tool, we hope that those present could benefit from what we had to offer. As a follow-up, and for everybody who could not attend, below you find a collection of resources and a summary of what we showed. There were lots of questions and things we weren’t able to discuss (mostly because at 1.30 pm I get so hungry I could eat a rhino with all of his grasshoppers) so let’s keep an open channel: you find us on LinkedIn (me here and Claudio here) and on twitter (me here and Claudio here) or you can drop me a comment here or you can harass prof. Villa until she gives you our contacts. Your choice.


 

– Resources –

1) Bibliographic Resources: how to get started
As I said, the best way to get started with Dynamo is definitely to check out the training program they provide on their website. Over there you’ve got:
– the Dynamo Primer a comprehensive guide for beginners that approaches basic subjects like how to deal with geometry, how to work with lists and code blocks, and so on;
– the Dictionary, which is a searchable database for Dynamo nodes and functionalities;
– a set of Video Tutorials, each one with their dataset, if you are less of a reading type and more of a “let’s just do this” kind of type.
As a beginner’s resource you might also want to check the Essential Training provided by Ian Siegel on Lynda.com (here) alongside with the handouts from the class he held this year at Autodesk University (here).

2) Other Bibliographic Resources: how to stay updated
Dynamo is community-driven, so you’re not really into it if you don’t follow the community. Below are some of our favourite blogs you might want to regularly check out in order to stay on top of things:
– Paolo Serra – http://puntorevit.blogspot.it/
– John Pierson – http://sixtysecondrevit.com/
– Zack Kron – http://buildz.blogspot.it/
– Marcello Sgambelluri – http://therevitcomplex.blogspot.it/
– Havard Vassaug – https://vasshaug.net/
– Konrad K Sobon – http://archi-lab.net/
– Paul Wintour – https://parametricmonkey.com/

3) More Bibliographic Resources: things we mentioned
I talked about Ian Keough and his giving birth do Dynamo: you find his blog here and if you take a stroll down memory lane you can track down the posts I showed you.
Also, the Revit cow is here and you can download a bunch of Star Wars starships in Revit from this page. Yes, they’re parametric.
The article Frank Gehry for the Rest of Us can be found here.
The website of the studio we currently work for is this one.

Taichung


 

– What we Showed –

The reference of twisted bricks you saw in the first part of my lesson was first shown to me by Claudio and it’s the work of Gramazio & Kohler Architects, two crazy guys based in Switzerland. Specifically, I showed you the facade of a Vineyard establishment in Gantenbein. You can see it on their website here.

GKA Picture

. GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture GKA Picture.

 

The project I used as inspiration for the very first exercise is an installation called Loopcamp, built by Stéphane Malka in 2012 at the annual “desert extravaganza” called The Burning Man in Black Rock City. If you don’t know it, I urge you to check it out.

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.Loopcamp-by-Malka-Architecture-01 Loopcamp-by-Malka-Architecture-02 Loopcamp-by-Malka-Architecture-03 Loopcamp-by-Malka-Architecture-04.

You can achieve it exactly as it is if you put your mind to it and you play with different lists as input for the circle radius and heights. Go and make me proud. Meanwhile, I’m satisfied with the result we achieved.

Screenshot

 

On the other hand, the project Claudio used as inspiration for his first exercise were the screens designer by SHoP Architects for a project called San Li Tun North. The digital design was carried out by Will Corcoran and you find information and pictures here. He also carried out some of the other projects Claudio showed you.

.  SANLITUN+04 SANLITUN+05 .

If you put your mind to it, you can also achieve the exact result of superposition at the centre, with offsets and translations of the points you are using to place the adaptive components. Meanwhile, we are happy with the result.

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Capture

Result

Out third and last inspiration was a project by Marble Fairbanks, also digitally developed by Will Corcoran who can be defined the muse of this two days of Dynamo. It was the design of panels for the cafè in the Columbia School of Journalism. The exercise is an old classic and maybe you already saw it if you are following us around.

.CSOJCAFE+03 Binder2.pdf Binder2.pdf CSOJCAFE+08.

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03 Result

 


 

– A Summary in Few Words –

If there’s a thing we’d like you to take away from our class, it’s this: Dynamo and computational design in general is not a set of instruments and skills that aim at generating unnecessary complexity: they are tools to manage the complexity that it’s already a part of our practice. They are tools to deal with complex projects in order to make them simple, manageable, buildable and affordable. Do not misuse them and remember that optimization has a very noble task: to make everyone’s work (and life) easier, so that you can go out and have a drink with friends instead of staying in the office overnight.

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– Other things we briefly showed –

1) Project Fractal. We tried it with my honeycomb script and you can see the result below. I also wrote about it here.

Fractal Honeycomb GIF

2) Flux. We didn’t have time to dig deeply into it. I wrote about it a lot, if you browse this blog, and we also used it in our class at Autodesk University last year. You can find it here.

BIM for Hotels (10)

3) Frank Gehry‘s project for the Beekman Tower, nr 8 Spruce Street. The project is also featured on the website of Permasteelisa, the Companty who manufactured that facade.

. GHERY NEW YORK 4 GHERY NEW YORK 5 GHERY NEW YORK 6 GHERY NEW YORK 7 GHERY NEW YORK.

4) Randomization of panels, another old classic (you might have seen this GIF on twitter few weeks ago).

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– Attendees –

I don’t have the names of all those who attended but I do wish to mention the tweet of these guys.

Thanks for the attention and the enthusiasm: it’s always invigorating. Have fun with what we showed you, have a better go at what you’re doing and see you next time!

Surprising

It wasn’t quite the curse of Tutankhamen
Or the kiss of death from Judas in the night
And it felt so far beyond the blue horizon
Tempting me with transports of delight
And when the devil took my hand and said
Come along with me

There I was, wide awake and dreaming
Reaching out for something in the sky
But I could not control that trembling feeling
Everything I want is slipping by
And when the devil took my hand and said
Something you should see

I never knew what happened to my nightmare
Everything went dark that August day
And the eclipse was on the other side of somewhere
But I was on the upside of afraid
And then an angel took my hand and said
Come along with me

Milan Design Week 2017 – Let’s Wrap it Up

You are probably tired of hearing this but… I haven’t seen much this year either.
Just like last year.

With my job rapidly shifting from design to process and technology, I have less and less time to stop and stare at chairs, but I try to find some.

Dezeen made a list of eight trends you should have watched out for during this design week. Did you? They were:
– Designers get political;
– Invisible tech;
– Recycled materials;
– Modular furniture;
– Traditional regional crafts, rediscovered;
– The festivalisation of Milan;
– Bamboo furniture;
– The future of food.

I honestly didn’t. But they weren’t the only thing to watch out for. So, here you find some of the best (and oddest) things I’ve seen this year in a practical top 7.

1. Statale.
Always engaging and interesting, the topic “Material-Immaterial” explored (guess what?) materials and featured:
– the huge wooden staircase by Michele De Lucchi;
– the big neon “Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog” by BIG (big neon… did you get it?);
– the corten “Spyre” by Ron Arad (I guess he still has some leftovers from that museum in Israel);
– the “Augmented Surface” by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel where I currently work;
– the playful “Pergola” by Alessandro e Francesco Mendini;
– the Wave Cave by ShoP (in collaboration with Arup), my absolute favourite.

You find more information here. Pictures below are ugly as hell because they are mine.

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2. Orto Botanico
Not as charming as last year, but still entertaining. Expecially interesting, of the four “Design Islands”, “MyIsle” by  Alfredo Tasca and Alberto Mattiello: an outdoor fitness island with different configurations. If you were lucky enough to see it in the sun, it was really an amazing space. You see them talking about it in the video below. More information can be found here.

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3. Audi City Lab
After last year, when they pull down quite a show at the Velasca, Audi came back with this set of installations in a beautiful palace in corso Venezia 11. Their two installations involved light and sound and were:
– “Sonic Pendulum”, an interactive installation by Yuri Suzuki;
– “The Door to Artificial Intelligence” by  Ingo Maurer and Axel Schmid, painting red the very entrance of the historical and extremely well-known palace.
You see them talking about it in the video below.

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4. Rossana Orlandi’s and Dimore Studio
I am growing more and more distant from this kind of exhibitions but Rossana Orlandi still stand her ground within my good graces. The four-rooms apartment set up at her studio by Sé was a breeze of old flavours from when this seemed to be my job. I am not getting nostalgic but still it was nice seeing it. Alongside with that, the same flavour and feeling had Dimore Studio. They felt both like cabinets of curiosities coming from an old distant world.

Pictures from dezeen (here and here).

.2017-04-18 10_57_54-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_58_34-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_11-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_39-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_58-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_13-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_34-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_57-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_01_19-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_01_39-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan.

.2017-04-18 11_15_03-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_15_55-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_12-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_29-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_46-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_17_52-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions.

5. Bubbles for COS
The “Blossoming Sculpture” by Studio Swine, in the former movie theatre Arti, follows the equally charming installation “The Forest of Light” by Sou Fujimoto last year and it’s becoming a sort of tradition.
The beautiful weeping willow of white plastic was slowly spitting out bubbles filled with smoke and you could play with them, provided you wore black woolen gloves given to you by nice girls and guys at the entrance. A playful interlude of quite and magic within those hectic days.

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Below you see it in motion: pictures couldn’t capture it well enough.

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6. Mix it Up
I don’t know if there were lots and lots of multisensorial installation this year, or if I’m just getting more and more impressed by them, but here’s another one.
Thanks to all the other design districts popping out around the city, you can now walk in Zona Tortona without a flamethrower or a bulldozer.
One of the things I saw was this pavillion at Superstudio Più, and you can read about it here.
I guess I like the fact that a design week should not be about watching furniture, but experiencing the spaces designed by somebody really inspired (and this should be the definition of what design stands for). That said, it was nothing exciting and sometimes really nice spots got tangled up with other spaces with less charm (and they had no beer). It might be nice to try that again next year with more inclusive spaces.

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7. The periodic table of materials for smart cities
The installation was nothing special, but the idea was nice. Sponsored by 3m, the Materials Village features a selection of projects that involved innovative materials, connective set-ups and digital fabrication.

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8. The usual bunch of Random Stuff
There you have it. A bunch of random stuff. Bicycles resembling motorbikes (or was it the other way around?), japanese flowerstands, a set of projects to reuse Milan railyards, art installations and all that jazz.

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How we interact with stuff (and cool tools to do it)

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Ok, I know, I have to stop your imagination running wild: this article is not going to be about new electric prods to poke your sleeping colleagues.
Sorry.

CattleProd

Not talking about this one

If you’re familiar with the work of Gabriele Meldaikyte, or if you ever stopped a minute to think about the different gestures you can make with your fingers in order to interact with a touchscreen, you’ll know they are a lot: scroll, pan, zoom, rotate and so on. In his work Multi-Touch Gestures, Gabriele highlighted what she defined to be the «five multi-touch gestures forming the language we use between our fingers and smartphone screens»:
– tap;
– scroll;
– flick;
– swipe;
– pinch.
I’ve always found her work to be extraordinarily witty and graceful: I urge to check it out if you haven’t already.

Gabriele Meldaikyte: Five multi-touch Gestures

Gabriele Meldaikyte: Five multi-touch Gestures

.2.pinch+to+zoom-gabriele+meldaikyte 3.tap-gabriele+meldaikyte 4.scroll-gabriele+meldaikyte.
.5.flick-gabriele+meldaikyte 6.swipe-gabriele+meldaikyte.

Depending on your preferred interface you might think that these gestures are universal but in fact they are not (think about zooming: double tap for some and slide with two fingers for others). A complete set of gestures across different user interfaces is yet to be compiled, although different developer’s toolkit and user interface designer’s resources provide insight and guidance (here and here, for instance).

Maurizio-Cattelan-Middle-Finger-Statue-0

No, this one never works…

The majority of those gestures are, however, for the end-user everyday tasks. Mostly they allow you to interact with stuff in a passive way: you can flick through a magazine, scroll down a page (I’ll get to the difference in a minute), zoom and pan on a map.

Lots of tools have been developed to simulate hand-sketch drawings: from the different Bamboo stylus to the iPad Pro Apple Pencil for technical drawing.
Professionals working in the CAD business always needed more, and here I mean CAD in the broader of senses: Computer Aided Drawing and Modelling. Because if it was convenient to use a pencil, hey, we would be still using a pencil, right?

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Nice, but not what I need…

In 2015, a student at the Royal College of Art in London tried to have our voices heard: he developed what they called a “tactile interface to navigate CAD environments”. You can read the whole story on DeZeen, here, and this time it doesn’t features dildos.
I steal some pictures from them, for the laziest among you.

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Interfacet project by Ming Kong

.Interfacet_Ming-Kong_Royal-College-of-Art_dezeen_468_3 Interfacet_Ming-Kong_Royal-College-of-Art_dezeen_468_6 Interfacet_Ming-Kong_Royal-College-of-Art_dezeen_468_7 Interfacet_Ming-Kong_Royal-College-of-Art_dezeen_sq.

The main idea here is that in order to effectively operate within a virtual environment you need a set of movements and actions that the traditional interfaces are unable to provide. And while the world moves fast towards an era of immersive environments (or not) the issue still stands. We need advanced tools to be more proficient in our work.

Enters the idea of a 3d mouse.

I know, I know… all mouses are 3d, aren’t they? Well, it’s not meant in that way, you silly.

Mouse

I know, I know, this is 3d too…

A 3d mouse is an input device that allows you to interact more easily with 3d objects on your screen.
Right now, interaction is made by combination of a series of keyboard and mouse inputs and lots of interfaces use different inputs to do the same thing. You know this if you’ve been switching often from one software to the other: what orbits in Revit pans in other softwares.
In order to help us with navigation of 3d views, at a certain point in history Autodesk introduced the steering wheel which comes in three options:
– Full Navigation;
– View Object;
– Tour Building.

AutodeskRevit-SteeringWheel

It’s a useful tool for design review: you create a 3d view and then you navigate through it, a feature some users erroneously point out to be missing in Revit while present in other more intuitive and less precise software.

– What do you Move –

The main difference here between the two options is a major difference in approach.
1) you pretend to be moving while the building stands still;
2) you stand still, and pretend to move the object.
The first solution is viable for explorative interfaces, for immersive environments (though oddly enough most visors nowadays use the second approach due to phisical limitations).
The second solution is for an isometric approach: you are not playing in a first-person shooter anymore, it’s more suitable for a tactical view from above.
If you’re designing a building, you are going to need both.
If you’re designing objects, I guess you’ll be fine with the second one.
Mind that this main difference stays the same also when it comes to a 3d mouse.

– How do you move –

The improvement of a 3d mouse acts mainly in this field. While a traditional mouse requires an interaction with static buttons, a 3d mouse allows you with a tool more similar to a joystick, providing you with different degrees of flexibility and freedom depending on the product. I recently tried the 3dconnexion SpaceMouse (the one you see in the picture at the top of the article) and it’s really great. Instead of messing around with your mouse, you operate it just as a joystick and it has 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF, a patented system): you can push it, pull it, twist it and you will find yourself swirling around your model with much less effort then before.

It works with lots of software and you can find a complete list here. Among them you’ll find our favourite BIM-enabling software (Revit, ArchiCad and AllPlan), but also modelling software like Rhino, Inventor, Catia, Solidworks, 3dsMax and Maya, Cinema 4d and Blender. You can also use it to navigate our beautiful planet with GoogleEarth and NASA WorldWind.

How does it work you ask?
All you need to do is installing the plug-in and it will pair up with the software you are using. Revit, in my case. You go to their website, you download the drivers for your OS: it’s an .exe of about 200 Mb and the website is rather slow, so you might want to listen to some music of watch a movie. Here’s what I picked.

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When it’s done, you do the usual stuff: pick your language, accept condition, pick your setup and so on. If you have your 3d mouse connected, you can pour yourself a beer and watch it light up from time to time, happily recognizing what’s going on in your computer. This may take several minutes, they say. And it does. Therefore you might want to watch something else. Here’s what I picked.

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At the end it will ask you to register and light up like a Christmas Tree, but you can skip this and it won’t switch off. Not that I know of, at least.

When it’s done, you can start using it and I tell you it’s amazing. You can do the usual stuff in both ways (moving the object or move yourself in navigation mode), just with a smooth device that allows you 6 degrees of freedom in order to go back and forth, turn left and right, fly or sink.

These are all features you can find also in the SpaceNavigator: this little guy below.

3Dconnexion _ SpaceNavigatorIn addition, the SpaceMouse has a series of customizable buttons, the most useful of them being the Escape one (if you ever get lost wandering inside your model and you can’t find your way out of that void in the ceiling).

Below you see a demonstration they did for the product. Trust me when I tell you that your regular mouse is medieval.

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Assassin’s Creed & the Others (a.k.a. when you just can’t sleep on the plane)

I’ve been to Singapore, recently, and that amounts to several and several hours on the airplane. Now, my travel mate kind of sleeps in 3… 2… 1… and I totally envy him ’cause no matter how tired I am, no matter how long the journey can be, for some reason I don’t seem to be able to sleep on the plane. I close my eyes and rest, sure, and maybe I dooze off for a couple of minutes or so, but no proper sleeping.
This means that I’m able to watch what I would call a shitload of movies, if you’ll pardon my French. Now the Emirates selection was particularly good, this time, and I was able to see few things I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time. With… well… controversial results.

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1. Assassin’s Creed

This one I’ve been wanting to see for a long time, I missed in the movie theatres and I was waiting for it to become available so great, I said to myself. I am a huge Jeremy Irons fan, I am kind of fond of both Marionne Cotillard and Fassbender. And even though I haven’t played all of the videogames I rather enjoyed the piratesque one, so I knew what the main concept was about: Templars trying to oppress mankind with their thirst for power and this group of assassin’s trying to fight them throughout the eras. Now if you think I spoilered you something, think again: this gets explained in the first five minutes of movie and I think this is their first big mistake: the videogames slowly build on this, giving you time to get adjusted to ghe whole genetic memory thing, both getting along with old players and easying the new players in, the movie slams the concepts right to your face and leaves the tension to… well, nothing, actually. Fassbender is good as Fassbender can be, Cotillard is beautiful as Cotillard can be, Irons is tired as Irons can be when he’s in no mood to be charming. Fights are both boring and uninteresting even in their allusion to the videogames combat style (something both Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia got right so much more). Special effects are nothing special. If you want one reason to watch this, just focus on photography and on how Granada was reconstructed. But if you’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed you are used to a much higher quality and a breathtaking level of historical accuracy. Well, let’s forget this. And I would recommend to let videogames be videogames and movies be movies if I wasn’t convinced that videogames auhors could have done such a better job at this movie than these tired and unmotivated crew.

Degree of disappointment (from 1 to 10): 9 1/2

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2. Girl on a Train

Let’s go with something a tad more intellectual, I was myself. So I hit this rather unusual movie, unusual at least for my tastes as there are no explosions. Not even a single one. I knew that, no worries. I knew the novel and I liked it a lot for his wasy of constructing the story. Besides I always like stories when different apparently unconnected people are presented through stories that at the end are revealed to be intertwined (I am thinking The Hours). Now this is a damn fine movie. Beautiful in many aspects, from acting to storytelling, with some beautiful performances from all three of the main female characters. Directing is refined and delicate, well accompanied by Danny Elfman in this unusual un-Burtonesque soundtrack. The main topics of psychological abuse, alcohol, unfulfilled or unfulfillable motherhood, and domestic violence are treated with a fair amount of cynism and the temptation of having a villain gets almost avoided. Almost. Towards the end, with the shifting of consciusness, in-depth psychology leaves pace to pure drama and doses of action but I didn’t find it to be wrong or disturbing.

Appreciacion (from 1 to 10): 8

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3. Hacksaw Ridge

Let’s go back to some explosions, I said myself. Now, I am one of those people who thought Mel Gibson was a funny and nice guy as an actor, before he made a smoothie of his own brain and drank it away. I am profoundly disturbed by rethorics in movies, expecially when they are religious in nature, so I kind of had to know what I was getting myself into. However, a collegue I rather trust(ed) told me that it was a fine movie, with rethorics about brave Americans fighting for freedom and ideals but that’s ok, that’s a rethoric I can handle. Oh my oh my was I wrong.

The movie, as you might have heard, is about this voluntarly enrolled conscience objector who doesn’t want to touch a weapon (even touch it) and fights to be accepted as a paremedic, eventually saving an impressive amount of fellow soldiers practically by himself during the battle of Okinawa.

The way Gibson tell the story, can be divided into four parts, as far as I can see it.

In the first, we make the acquaintance with the main character, his troubled family (with a huge performance by Hugo Weaving as the post-traumatic disordered violent alcoholic father), his meeting with the wife-to-be. This part is only slightly weird. Our hero comes across as a shy fellow, almost authistic. His fiancée comes across as religious. Ut only at a certain point, abruptly, when he leaves for the war and she gives him a Bible. Well, girls would be girls. Everything fine so far.

The second part is where the weird shit starts coming down fast. Our hero doesn’t want to train with weapons, doesn’t even want to touch one. And instead of pushing the lever of pride, which would be completely appropriated even from a religious point of view, Gibson backs him up. He givs us a whole set of monologues and sermons about staying true to what you believe, no matter how fucked up you seem to be to everybody else, and I kind of thing this is the authobiographical part.

The third part is the battle and this is amazing in every sense. The setting of the ridge is fantastic, directing is very good and might as well come down as one of the best battle scenes ever shooted. No merci is spared on realism and yet it’s not morbid nor focused on blood. As a war movie should do, this part is focused on people, on braveness and compassion, on brotherhood and desperation, on the futility of it all. As I expect it to be. And the rescuing sequence succeeds in being epic mainly because lots of things coming from the previous two parts get dropped. Still…

…the fourth lart comes along, in which we learn that the battle of Okinawa was won on the second attack because on the second attack Americans had private Whatsoever to pray for their success. And this is where I ran out of patience. Everything has a limit. Expecially because Gibson had all the tools to tell a story about how heroism can inspire to more heroism, about self-confidence (and about fucking knowing the terrain the second time, but let’s skip that).

Level of irritation (from 1 to 10): 9

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4. Morgan

Well, this one surprised me. First of all I was unsureto watch it, ’cause I thought it to be an horror, but it turns out that it’s not. It’s more of a slow-paced thriller where the tension is built upon contrasts: contrasts between the peaceful sylvan settings and the crude lab indoors, contrasts between the familiar atmospheres and the corporate tensions amongst the characters, contrasts between the angelic blonde hair of Morgan, the synthethic being of the title, and its/her dark eys. Contrasts between her and her anthagonist.

The movie builds well its narrative, up to the point that when it seems to start screwing it up in favour of action you kind of wondering if there isn’t something mor subtle going on. And there is. Really good.

Level of surprise (1 to 10): 8

I also tried to watch:
– La La Land (dropped it at the first song: although I’m fond of musicals that was really bad);
– the BFG (dropped it at the supersonic green fart);
– Genius (dropped it but will resume it);
– The Arrival (dropped it but will resume it).

La Sfida del BIM

La sfida del BIM orizzontale

Orbene, domani parto per Singapore e so che vi mancherò tantissimo, quindi vi lascio un regalo.
Come alcuni di voi già hanno visto sui social network, il libro che ho scritto quest’estate con Gabriele Gallo è finalmente in libreria.

Il libro è edito da Tecniche Nuove, sarà in libreria a partire dal 30, ma è già acquistabile sul sito dell’editore, dove potete scaricare anche l’indice. Potete leggerne anche sul sto di am4, dove trovate qualche informazione e qualche stralcio in più.

Come scoprirete leggendo l’introduzione di Emiliano Segatto, grande patrono del nostro progetto, si tratta di un libro in tre parti che ricalca il ciclo comunemente utilizzato per accompagnare gli adulti all’apprendimento: Lecture – Demo – Action.

Lecture - Demo - Action

La prima sezione quindi è un’introduzione per neofiti: cosa diamine è questo BIM di cui si continua a parlare? Da dove viene? Che caratteristiche ha? Perché lo si fa? In che modo si rapporta a Computational Design, Parametricismo e Generative Design?
La seconda sezione parla del perché e lo fa, com’è nostra abitudine, attraverso il concetto di uso del modello. A che cosa può servire il BIM e in che modo diversi scopi possono incidere sul modo di strutturare un modello?
La terza sezione… è la sezione “action”. Attraverso il sistema dei racconti a bivi (sì, proprio quelli di Topolino o di Lupo Solitario) ciascun lettore avrà la possibilità di provare in prima persona la primissima fase di ogni transizione al BIM: il progetto pilota. Avendo a disposizione una quantità limitata di biscotti da spendere e badando a non perdere il proprio buon nome nell’ambiente della progettazione, vengono proposte diverse situazioni. Come lavorare e con chi? Quanto investire e in cosa? Come gestire le situazioni difficili, dal renderista russo fino agli avvocati del cliente? Vi promettiamo: ci sono multipli modi di portare a casa la pelle.

How to Bake your Model, March 31st @ BILT Singapore

A sneak peek from our upcoming Model Management Class at BILTasia.
Check the full Schedule here.

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BIM for Interior Design, March 31st @ BILT Singapore

Check the full Schedule here, and see you in Singapore!

 

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