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Virtual Models for WoodGlow Lighting
 the “before” room

When clients consider installing my WoodGlow lighting fixtures in their homes, they embark on a journey that we walk together. There is usually an overarching design need to resolve, like where the piece will be situated, and what lighting problem needs to be solved. That is the beginning of the path, but there are many questions that will be looked at, for example: • what is the design style of the room and the client • how much illumination is required, directed where • what budget issues are in play

shade shape chosen, with no steel sculpture

In many cases, I use a design technique that I call “Virtual Models” to help us all figure out in advance what options we have, and what the best design solution will be. This allows the client to see a visual representation of the piece before making a final commitment. And it allows us all to collaborate on the design. Virtual models have become a key element in my design process. Here is how they work.

shades suspended from “Arc”

First, I get a photograph of the room where the piece is intended. If the home is close to where I live, I am glad to visit and take the photos myself, but I can easily work with snapshots taken by the client. The best starting photos will show the entire room environment, and be shot from a “straight-on” angle.

Then I bring the photo in to shades on “Pisces” sculpture Photoshop, a very (this was the chosen design) sophisticated image editing program that works in layers, meaning I can overlay multiple bits and pieces on top of the original picture. One way to imagine how this works is to think about paper cutouts of lampshades or metal sculptures, all from past projects. I have a library of ready-to-use objects that can superimposed on the original picture. These

completed and installed

objects can be resized in all sorts of ways. If I don’t have something in my library of objects, I can create something new in Photoshop. I can keep adding, subtracting, hiding and reordering all these layers until I get a complete representation of what the final commission would look like. Virtual models are very helpful. But they are not exactly right. For example, you cannot see the light coming out of the top and bottom of the shades and shedding on to the table surface or ceiling. I usually use one single shade photo and duplicate that when multiple shades are being employed, so this doesn’t depict that each piece of a log will have slightly different grain patterns and colors. And the two-dimensionality of a photograph doesn’t communicate the way the finished piece will occupy space in the room That said, virtual models have revolutionized the way I work with my clients. Together, we can experiment with variations without committing the design to the timeconsuming creation of the actual wood and steel parts, until everyone is on the same page, and fully confident that the completed piece will be perfect for the home and the client. In situations where the house or room is not built in advance, I work with more traditional drawing techniques, but often I am still using the computer to layer on cutout pieces from prior projects. You can see a lot more examples of virtual models and design drawings by clicking on this blue text

Model Above, installed piece below

Profile for Peter Bloch