Concept to Completion I: Development of Conceptual Design
By Michael J. Pineau
Concept (noun): an abstract idea; a general notion, a plan or intention.
A design concept, as it goes with any developmental process, starts with an idea. This idea (or sometimes multiple ideas) might begin with a scribble on a napkin, a tear out from a magazine, a snapshot of something inspiring. You may not know why, but this idea speaks to your vision, what inspires you and most importantly, how you harmonize with your surroundings. As design professionals, it is our job to help formulate this idea into your design concept, and create a fabulous space from that concept.
Conceptional design is the first phase of the design process and helps define the feeling that will be conveyed. During this phase, drawings are the primary focus – from floorplans to detailed elevations (or full scale architectural plans, if required), a background is created for the rest of the design process. The initial concept shows you where to go with specific design decisions and will be your road map to reference again and again.
Whether it’s a new home, an extensive renovation or a single room, the same amount of thought and energy should be placed on the concept – an entire home is just more work!
Keep in mind as the conceptual process begins your design team will be your anchor. Allow them the necessary time to review the scope of the concept, do their research and formulate ideas during this formulative process. They will work hand-in-hand with you to develop a productive partnership which will help achieve a beautiful end result by transforming those early-on, scribbled visions into reality.
In a fast paced world, many clients want to hit the ground running and hurry through the developmental process. To speed things along, there is some homework you can do before meeting with your design professional. Here is a check list of things to consider:
– Have an idea of what you want to achieve with the design process. Are you looking for a full scale renovation that drastically changes your home, or just a little freshening up in one room?
– Share strong preferences – both likes and dislikes! It is just as important to know what colors you truly dislike, as it is to know your favorites!
– Have a clear understanding of your budget and your time frame. This will help dictate the direction of your design development.
– Keep the communication channels open. Ideas, budgets and time frames change often – keep your design professional in the loop to assure your project is on track.
– Think outside the box and try not to micro-manage your design team. You hired a professional for a reason – let them help direct you towards a great design, even if it’s a little bit out of your comfort zone. That being said, make sure you stand up for things that are important to you.
– Most importantly, enjoy the process! Design is supposed to be fun and exciting, but can often be frustrating and tiring. Have faith in your design team and the concept you’ve developed together, which will survive the bumps along the road and result in a wonderful new space!