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What is Design Assist?
By: Bob Buchanan
Over decades of working with creative people (especially interior designers, landscape designers, architects and artists), we’ve realized that there’s one point in every project when collaboration with a fabricator makes a world of difference. It’s the point where you have a great concept, but you’re not sure exactly how to construct it. What materials will you use? How will all the parts be cut, formed, finished and connected? How will it be installed on site?
Most fabricators would have you figure all that out before they’ll give you a quote. But we’re not most fabricators. Not only do we want to help you figure it out, we want to help you make it the best it can be. It’s a service we call Design Assist.
How our Design Assist service helps bring your vision to life
Here’s how Design Assist works:
- Bring us your concept, whether it’s a sketch on a napkin, some photos that inspired an idea, or a full-fledged concept.
- If you have a budget in mind, we can work within it while still giving you what you have envisioned. If you don’t have a budget, we can help refine one.
- Our team will then problem-solve your design, either on our own or in a meeting with you (best for complicated items like light fixtures), or a design charrette with project stakeholders.
What do I mean by “problem-solve”? We focus on how to make the item more manufacturable, more buildable, and more serviceable. For example, we might suggest joining parts in a different way or using a different material or finish for budget, longevity, and ease of service. The knowledge and suggestions we make come from years of fabricating and engineering. This experience often helps us to reduce costs, installation time, or both. We also focus on how to make it more durable — especially for items that are installed outside and items with moving parts. So our goal isn’t to change your design — it’s to determine how to get the look you want in the best way possible. It’s what we call our intention to detail.
A couple of examples
In our first example of design assist, bo-mar received a rendering and architectural drawing for what we call the Crane Light. There was not enough detail given to build the Crane Light. Bo-mar’s expertise is in taking their idea to the next level and making the feature buildable. Bo-mar made recommendations in material, buildability, and finish. The engineers at bo-mar figured out the proper way to suspend the light feature (which weighs 1350 lbs!) and suggested a powder coated finish to resemble patinaed metal.
In our second example, bo-mar was approached by a landscape architect with a concept for trail markers. We were provided concept drawings with basic dimensions. With bo-mar’s guidance, the designer fleshed out her design. Our expertise lent to recommendations on material, buildability, ease of replication for future phases of the project, and ease of maintenance. Bo-mar fabricated these markers as designed with our engineering recommendations. Once the mockup was made, it was clear that the letters were not legible through the cutouts, as conceptualized. Knowing that the main goal of this project was to mark the trail, bo-mar added a white backer panel to give the marker better readability. We took a picture of the concept, with and without the panel and it to the designer. She appreciated that we were looking out for the best interests of the design and made the suggestion. She was thankful that we consulted her before making a snap decision.
When should you contact us if you want to take advantage of Design Assist? The earlier the better — especially if you are going to show a concept or pricing to a client. By looping us in early, we can help ensure that your design idea is buildable as shown and properly budgeted.
So the next time you have a concept in mind, just contact us to start the Design Assist process.
Til next time,