Hello! Welcome to the arena of Sketchup. Tell us a bit about yourself and your profession.
I have a unique international background that had impacted in many way my life and profession. I was born in Argentina, from a German mother, a father born in Spain and grandparents from France, and Germany. After I got my degrees in architecture and interior design in Argentina I completed doctorate courses in Barcelona and moved to Colombia where my three children were born. Seven year ago we moved to the United States where we reside now. I had the chance to visit half of the globe nurturing my passion for design and allowing me to embrace other people cultures and thinking. Diversity is the word that applies to my believes, my mind, my heart and my work. I am always thinking on new ways to do things. I guess that I am a design thinker blending always my skills as a designer, an entrepreneur, instructor, and my social responsibility feelings.
Writing is your passion. How did you get hooked on writing? Why did you choose sketchup for your favorite writing topic?
Actually writing in not my real passion but a mean to share my knowledge with others. I believe that by schooling people and helping others designers to deliver their skills, we can aspire to make the world more accessible, more beautiful, and more meaningful. I learned English when I got to the USA and writing was a way of having more time to express my thoughts and deliver my knowledge instead of using my limited oral skills. I had the chance to be the dealer in South America for different CAD software. I started with a great 3D BIM program in 1995 that offered a complete solution starting from the schematic phase up to the construction and bid phase. Unfortunately they disappeared after a while, but the same developers introduced me to Sketchup. Still dealer of many other BIM and CAD programs I was hooked on Sketchup because pretty soon I discovered how easy it was to use it as a tool to conceptualizing my projects, present them, and even create construction documents.
You are a leading software instructor at college and private level. Please share your experience with our readers.
After a while I was using Sketchup as a modeling tool I began to teach at college level in an interior design program. For my surprise I discovered that many students had problems to understand a 3D space, manage the scale of a project, and show their vision to others. As a designer you get used to envision an idea, draw it, share it, review it, and create a virtual prototype. But this process that is unconscious in most of us need to be learned by design students. Sketchup is the perfect tool to accomplish this learning process and help them to understand the scope of their proposals.
How Sketchup is useful for interior design and space planning? What version of Sketchup is most suitable for interior designing?
People love beautiful spaces. Most of them they want their homes and workplaces to uplift. We spend most of our time in indoor spaces. The field of interior design addresses these desires. The designer's ideas must be explained before they can become a reality. Visuals are created to help people understand and buy an idea. However with time, I discovered that the meaning of Interior Design have different scopes in different countries and cultures. My goal is to reach any professional that impacts interior spaces, from architects to decorators. The open-source programs open opportunities for the democratization of design. Sketchup Make is aligned with this concept. If you want to step up with a good presentation there is no doubt the Pro version is the way to take.
As an interior designer, you may have completed several projects. Which project gave you complete satisfaction in which you applied Sketchup successfully?
I have a unique way of delivering my services. I do collaborative design, a new way of practice that blurs the boundaries between designer and customer. My clients are active participants in the design process and ideas generation. I use Sketchup as a communication tool to help them visualize their inspiration. I am a facilitator that bridges the knowing with their doing. I get great satisfaction from all my projects because I can use Sketchup to create a great experience and engage their emotions. Most of the time I do not end with a WOW presentation because my clients are not passive consumers. My ideas do not need to convinced anybody or sell anything; I work with the inner creativity that most people have without knowing that they have it.
You have written several books on Sketchup and among them which book is most popular among Sketchup lovers. Please tell us something about your upcoming books?
The most popular ones are the first, second and third courses that teach the basics, the components/groups concepts, and how to create materials and textures in Sketchup. Although in my personal opinion the most valuable information is in Course 4 and in Designing Kitchen with Sketchup. They cover a variety of concepts, tips and tricks that usually are not covered in other books and broaden the real potential that Sketchup has for interior spaces designers. I just published Sketchup for Interior Design Revisited Course 1,2 and 3 that are updates to version 2013 including a few more exercises than the previous editions. Right now I am in the middle of updating Course 4 and I hope next year to publish a compendium of exercises and case studies for Interior Design.
What types of improvements/additions should be included in Sketchup in near future?
I would like to have a native organic tool that could be more flexible than the Sandbox. Also have an easy photorealistic rendering engine where I could manage indoor lighting and reflections in a way the Shadows tool works for exteriors. I know that there are a bunch of rendering plugins but normal people do not have powerful machines that can produce a rendering in a very short time. Neither they want to spend a lot of money buying multiple applications for the sporadic needs that sometimes designers have. Most of the time we need to be productive and we don't have too much time to generate a photorealistic rendering. Sometimes renderings can take us more time that even all the conceptualization of an entire residential project. I know that I am dreaming too deep!
What advices do you want to provide for newbie interior designers?
Designers are visual communicators. My best advice would be to use the tools that are available to them such as Sketchup to elevate the look and functionality of living spaces.
In your free time you design eco-friendly jewelry prepared from nuts and seeds to support a community program for neglected elderly people. Please say something about that.
I wish I could have more time to do something meaningful for them. Most of the people love children, but elderly people are usually neglected. All of us we share the same faith, we were born, we grow, but inevitable we will age too. If I can do something to mitigate the pain of abandoned people I think that my life will have a purpose at the end.
What are your suggestions about our magazine?
I have seen a constant growth not only in your content but also in the amount of readers. I am very pleased to see enthusiastic professionals that believe in the potential of Sketchup as I do.