Get Ready to Install the Most Alluring Quartz Kitchens of 2018

Quartz countertops bring a series of positive advantages. Appearances are bewitching and grand; they are very strong and will last really long besides the immense value. Pretty kitchens are rendered more attractive by natural stone like granite, quartzite and marble. Quartz will bring fresh life to aging and fading kitchen scenarios, but is it the same as quartzite? Would quartz communicate the same timeless appeal like marble and other natural stone? Perhaps looks matter most besides maintenance and budgets, and quartz certainly has rave looks and the lavish feel of opulence.Q Premium Quartz deserves all the praise you can give it. Quartz does lead the list of countertops material that stuns the senses and provides topics for conversation and a lot of pride. Swing to the beat of 2018 by going contemporary and investing in the most luxury-filled quartz countertop styles. The truth is that quartz slabs often get mistaken for the real marble and the stunning similarity would do a world of good to the kitchen environment.


Every type of kitchen, whether spacious designer kitchens or the confined spaces, would benefit from the super quartz look and feel. High end or minimalist, kitchens would get a magnificent sense and aesthetic from the most desired quartz-based surroundings.Carrara Grigio Quartz
Though the whole world desires marble interiors, the truth is that it is hard to maintain. Looks may kill, but what about the years and decades of caring for the precious marble? Most people cannot put up with all the issues of maintaining marble. Yet, the marble dream now has a new manifestation. The Q Premium marble-look quartz Carrara Grigio Quartz is so realistically like marble! The upscale look alike would convince guests that you have really invested in marble. It would appear wonderful that the countertops look so clean and dazzling amidst all the food preparation.Calacatta Verona Quartz
Share the secrets of interior decorators and designers of quartz that looks as charming and dramatic as marble. In budget terms, quartz does not pinch the pocket like marble does. The quartz magic need not stop at the countertops. The money saved could be invested on appliances or more quartz installations wherever you see fit, like in backsplashes in kitchens and bathrooms. Calacatta Verona Quartz looks as pretty as the classic Italian marble with a white backdrop and cute gray veins running through it.Pelican White Quartz
Here is another marble imitation called Pelican White Quartz that looks lavish and is so pretty. It is appropriate for conventional interiors and brings a classic touch to modern décor. The gray swirls against a white background create a light and airy feeling that suits natural wood floors and modern fittings and furnishings too. Build your own private spa for the family and friends that revives dull spirits with electrifying effects.Fossil Taupe Quartz
Quartz countertops do fill the eye and mind with illusions of plenty in refined elegance. Fossil Taupe Quartz presents a midtone polished surface that has delicate spots with a visually appealing statement piece. The gentle minimalist surface goes well with other artistic pieces of art or pendulum lighting. Modern interiors and clean lines say it all with vivid effect.


Fairy White Quartz
Colors or the lack of them can be eternally appealing! White, silver, and gray combine and complement each other so well. Dazzlingly white kitchens like clouds everywhere appeal and harmonize. Fairy White Quartz has grays and silvers on a white backdrop and the finish is lustrous. Congested kitchens would benefit immensely from this charm.The search for strength that combines with beauty in interior decoration ends with quartz. It is a manufactured product and that is why quartz has so many advantages. Quartz is natural and very strong. There are no compromises with all the quartz advantages coming your way, unlike marble. An ideal kitchen countertop is assured with quartz. Browse the web gallery and see the rich quartz colors and patterns on display.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.

 

Retail Design for Vehicle Showrooms

Why the Right Retail Design is Important for Motor Showrooms

When vehicles undergo constant design upgrades and enhancements to make them more appealing and efficient, it stands to reason that the spaces that market them should do so too. Inspired by new ideas of efficiency and aesthetics that guide the designs of cars and other vehicles, the showroom environment can aspire to the same principles, powered by branding and relevant retail design drawings. In fact, the right retail store layouts can almost immediately and directly impact sales and productivity.

As the corporate branding world is trending in the direction of specific fixtures, fittings, furniture and other collaterals that showcase and reinforce corporate identities in car stores, the role of comprehensive retail store plans in transforming showrooms into bespoke retail spaces cannot be underestimated. This is where 3D architectural modelling and BIM modelling services become invaluable.

To further branding goals, the structure and circulation of the retail space is critical. Once this is decided, ambience can be developed through lighting, sound, materials and branded touchpoints. Brand graphics and their positioning build the confidence of potential customers. Motor showrooms display their products in vast open spaces. Exact positions of each vehicle at the showroom layout is dimensionally represented by accurate retail drawing sets. While preparing the layout plan, the length and breadth of any display systems or racks are shown.

Within the branding purview of structure and circulation, consistency is important. Exterior branding, structural features and signage should follow inside and entice, interest and fortify the product. To ensure this consistency, a dedicated team is essential. Each client employs individual corporate branding, communication, style guidelines and standards. A dedicated team assigned to a client can be trained to deliver each client requirement. These can include:

  • Space planning design
  • Interior design
  • Elevations – exterior and interior
  • Store refurbishment drawings
  • Updating existing designs
  • Detailing of store features, such as signage, mannequin locations and light fixtures

Typically, a project manager is identified, who then undergoes training with a client representative. This training is passed on to a dedicated team of engineers and architects, who study design guidelines and deliver high quality drawings to the client and receive regular feedback. Communication is accurate and issues are resolved quickly.

Motor Retail Design Elements

Standards for each aspect of the showroom experience are planned and designed, from internal and external spaces to entrances to circulation systems. Retail space must allow for both permanent and non-permanent features, such as features that may change when new models arrive. Structural constraints affect overall design; columns, stairways, ceiling height, windows and emergency exists are all factors. In motor showrooms, all available space must be utilised. Floor plans guide circulation, which then inclines the consumer to travel to important displays and, ultimately, to the sales associate. Car showrooms can be quite grand, displaying double-height glazing, bright lights and expensive stone/ceramic floors, but customers require clear routes to the service area/workshop. Also, showrooms must be large enough for the number of cars that need to be displayed. Even service bays in the body shop and the number of technicians must be considered. The use of detailed retail design drawings and BIM technology ensure that the required parameters for all these features are adhered to.

Vehicular display is prime, but there is also a high standard for building services that must be maintained. Effective cooling in customer areas must counteract heat absorbed in highly glazed areas. Sustainable properties could lead to lower energy bills, lowering overheads. With effective MEP coordination, the features to alleviate loads, energy use and carbon emissions that could be planned are:

  • Extended eaves, brise-soleil and canopies, which reduce solar gain, especially on the main façade
  • Roof lights to provide basic lighting needs
  • Enhanced insulation for cladding and roofs
  • Motion-detecting lighting for bathrooms and other areas not always in use
  • Double-glazed glass insulated compact sectional access doors that allow maximum natural light, while being useful for vehicular movement. They conserve air conditioning and insulate the building.

A soothing yet impressive ambience adds extra edge to the showroom experience, and this is a zone where MEP drawings, models and coordination play a major role. Primarily, this is achieved by lighting and materials, but sound and audio also play a key role, providing it appeals to the target market. But to get back to lighting, the right lighting may perhaps cause the greatest dramatic effect in a motor showroom. Functionality and the ability to showcase display vehicles are vital. This involves layered lighting, with a choice of intensities and fixtures. The lighting of the ceiling and roof should cover structural features and direct customers to key areas.

With valuable display vehicles, security is important. Ideally, motor showrooms have access control, alarms and sophisticated internal and external CCTV, with movement tracking and links to remote monitoring centres, yet another feature to benefit from relevant MEP coordination.

Perspective

In the end, a well-executed retail space must be viewed from the consumer’s perspective. Retail design should control the customer’s view of the retail space. All of these crucial factors would be difficult to plan without the necessary elevations and walk-throughs provided by advanced architectural designs, specifically retail store CAD drawings and 3D models by Revit.

Retail Design Drawings for Motor Showrooms

Effective planning for motor showrooms call for exceptional design models and drawings. Preferred drafting stages and services for retail spaces include:

  • Store Concept
  • Floor Design & Fixtures
  • Electrical and Lighting
  • Customized Colour and Material Matching

Designers and drafting service personnel with relevant inter-domain expertise can utilise their experience to coordinate business and retail for a brand. Services on offer are:

  • Zoning, layout design
  • Interior design, graphics and visual branding
  • POS displays and locations
  • Design detailing and seasonal roll-outs

These can be customized with integrated 2D retail drafting for specific client requirements. With BIM modelling solutions, these can also be turned into detailed 3D space rendering, where the entire retail space plan can be visualised by the client. Textures of walls, colour schemes and other details can be viewed in realistic conditions with the use of 3D space renders. This allows modifications before the design is approved for production drawings. A major advantage is that scale modelling costs can be saved.

Seamless project execution can occur using AutoCAD and Revit software. This means project steps can be monitored in real time, projects can be completed and moved to the quality check stage, which can be performed thoroughly based on project scope. The retail drawing sets can be reviewed in its final form by the client and valuable feedback can be implemented. In the final design stages, a final quality check can be conducted. Skilled drafting services by retail space planners are updated with global retail trends, some still in a process of evolution. These services can greatly contribute to maximising potential in a motor showroom and provide customers with the best planned retail environment.

Since retail design drafting services are inevitable in the process, it seems logical to consider how cost-effective and quality-efficient they can be. Global trends lean toward the growing popularity of outsourcing these tasks. The reasons are compelling.

Advantages of Outsourcing Retail Design

Less Costly – Outsourced retail design drawings are competitively priced compared to the same quality and quantity of work executed locally, and since many outsourced firms employ work shifts, drawings or 3D architectural models are delivered faster.

Global Exposure – Outsourcing firms are exposed to retail establishments across the globe. Thus, the technical personnel are well qualified, well trained and well acquainted with international building codes and brand guidelines.

Flexibility – Outsourced firms can generally operate either as a small dedicated team or as a large team of 40 draftsmen or more to execute projects of larger volume or those with quick turnaround times, so work can be scaled to perfectly meet requirements.

Updated Expertise – Outsourced firms employ technical personnel who excel at BIM and are generally well updated on other software, including AutoCAD, Revit, etc.

Extensive Experience – Trusted outsourced firms have been designing and drafting retail spaces for years for clients in Europe and the UK.

Quality outsourcing services provided for retail design include:

Production Drawings Sets

Besides providing complete construction drawing sets from Autodesk (Revit or AutoCAD) to the retail industry, SolidWorks has been used to create engineering drawings. All key drawings, including floor plans, internal elevations, external elevations, construction plans, setting-out drawings, composite plans, finishing plans, lighting and ceiling plans, comprehensive equipment schedules and material and component take-off data are included.

Retail Design

Retail design, documentation, and project management, concept design and layouts are provided.

3D/4D Models

Using Revit Architecture and Revit MEP tools, 3D models and scan-to-BIM services, using point cloud data, are provided, with 4D scheduling added for new site construction.

Retail BIM Data

BIM services provide automated schedules to ensure, accuracy, speed of design output, rendering and visualisation tools to create realistic views.

Manufacturing/Assembly Drawings

Manufacturing and assembly drawings for bespoke retail furniture, fixtures and fittings, using AutoCAD detailing software is provided.

Floor Plans

Colour-coded floor plans and 3D plans.

Computer Generated Images

Computer-generated images for external and internal views are generated, showing images with artistic and watercolour effects.

In conclusion, for the detailed demands of retail design in motor showrooms, the ideal option seems to be the way of outsourced firms, as they offer one-stop shops for creating initial 2D drawings from rough sketches and photos to delivering 3D models for space design and final production drawings. They offer services tailor-made for specific business needs that are easy to execute and flexible to modifications. They employ highly qualified staff with experience, knowhow and talent for retail design drawings and the expertise to use the latest software in the retail design industry. Most importantly, this ultimately helps save time and cost.

BIM Process Risks for MEP Design Service and How to Mitigate Them

Global construction practice has seen substantial changes over recent years, with the arrival of BIM being a key factor. Building Information Modelling, known as BIM, is a process that involves the creation of 3D models, which enables designers and engineers to create accurate construction scheduling, estimate costs and adapt intelligently to design changes. Accurate building information models and precise building designs are created from the outset, which benefits all stakeholders in the construction process, particularly MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) designers. MEP (M&E) designers or engineers design MEP services, while MEP contractors are then responsible for spatial coordination, detailed design, fabrication and installation. Though BIM drives an effective process for MEP (M&E) design services, there are some risks involved. We look at how these risks can be mitigated.

Firstly, it is useful to understand exactly what the BIM process contributes to MEP engineering design. A BIM model helps visualise spatial MEP requirements. Detailed views are created for analysis, and any clashes of spatial requirements are identified and can be resolved at an early stage. Designs can be altered to mitigate any clashes, and these changes can be seen in the model.

The progress of the MEP design and coordination workflow process has been supported and driven by technological advancements. BIM technology has played an important role in making this possible, especially the use of 3D models through Autodesk’s BIM 360 tool. BIM 360 is a cloud-based software platform developed primarily for construction, which employs checklists, equipment tracking and the monitoring of tasks to improve quality and on-site safety. Within BIM 360, models can be utilised for 2D construction documentation and the 3D coordination of trades. BIM 360 permits the control of processes by project managers, subcontractors, designers and architects at all design stages. It enables the sharing of vast amounts of information between stakeholders and easy communication.

MEP designers can utilise architectural, structural and trade models to plan in detail from the onset of a project by designing in 3D. In general, the process involves MEP design and installation workflows that will streamline planning, designing, coordination, fabrication, installation and construction of a project. Following architectural design, the MEP design engineer develops building services design elements, such as lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, fire prevention and protection services. In most cases, the design engineer is not involved with the detailed spatial design of building services. Usually, it is the MEP, or trade, contractor who carries out the detailed spatial design and installation. It falls to the MEP contractor to convert the consultant’s design into an installation-ready MEP format and provide MEP shop drawing services. At times, fabricators creating ductwork or pipework elements, electrical ladders or sprinklers in a module also contribute.

The BIM process brings all stakeholders on to the same platform at every design stage.

Therefore, an effective collaboration tool would be required to:

  • Enable access to MEP designers, architects, structural designers, MEP contractors
  • Host various formats for files and documents
  • Ease communication
  • Permit designers and shareholders to work on the same models and share design data

BIM 360 Team with Collaboration for Revit (C4R) offers this. It integrates stakeholders and project information into a single cloud-based platform and improves quality while reducing rework. Checklists can monitor safety on site, equipment can be tracked and asset data can be collated. Any problems can be resolved early in the design process, minimising delay, cost and rework.

BIM Process Risks for MEP

Communication

If architects, modellers and designers do not communicate properly, designs may not be properly integrated and the occurrence of errors in the MEP model will increase.

Building Code Understanding

Client needs and local code requirements are of paramount importance and must be clearly understood. If misunderstandings of building codes and client requirements occur the MEP design will be negatively impacted.

Coordination

Stakeholders must coordinate effectively. Any modification executed by any MEP service should be communicated to all other trades. Failure to do so can create hazards at the project implementation stage.

Cost Estimation

The BIM process can help determine overall costs and take off quantities. MEP resources, labour and prices are considered, but materials availability and costs may vary over the duration of the design and implementation, affecting cost estimation.

Technical Knowhow

Effective BIM usage requires in-depth knowledge of BIM technology and Revit, Navisworks, etc. to develop precise MEP designs. Errors could prove costly.

Incomplete BIM Use

In common practice, BIM is used for a specific MEP objective rather than for each and every part of the design process. These include:

  • Remodelling or renovation
  • Material takeoffs and estimation
  • Design models by contractors
  • Detailed models of MEP components

Unless the BIM scope and output are accurately defined, the intended use of the BIM model may not occur.

BIM Model Not Shared with Construction Team

When 2D documents are printed from the model, some of the 3D data may not be transferred. The construction team may need to design a new 3D model, leading to unexpected changes. Designers may not share models with contractors because they are incomplete or do not tally with the construction documents, creating errors and tensions.

Not Possible to Model Everything

Creating models is time consuming. Many details, such as size, shape, location, quantity, and orientation with detailing, fabrication, assembly and installation information, can be included. It may not be possible to create models for every portion of the design, resulting in an incomplete overall picture.

MEP Design Handoff

Contractors traditionally received 2D line diagrams, schedules and specifications of the design from MEP designers. Currently, an increasing number of MEP design engineers create models, raising confusion about who is responsible for duct placement, equipment placement and coordination responsibility – designers or contractors. Models created by MEP designers may not be spatially accurate enough during the early stages.

However, there are several ways to mitigate these shortfalls, such as:

  • Early BIM Adoption (During Design Stage)

All project stakeholders should be encouraged to use BIM from the design stage, with clear guidelines for its use. If BIM is adopted at a later stage without clear specification of its purpose, the results could be confusion, wastage of time and increasing costs.

  • Defined Roles within the BIM Process

Design and modelling roles must be clearly defined before beginning design. If MEP subcontractors need to provide MEP BIM, with accurate routing, attachment details and equipment connections, they must be clearly informed of this and it should be part of the contractual obligations. They will not be able to rely on MEP consultant models in such a case.

  • Improved Coordination Skills

MEP design in BIM currently utilises improved spatial coordination skills during the design phase. This could be a result of employing more technically qualified professionals for these services, and as a consequence, contractors are presented with more accurate models to work with.

  • Accountability for Coordination

Internal coordination is necessary for a viable BIM model, much like a 2D drawing set used to be. Revisions, modifications and file versions must be coordinated as well. Since 3D models are complex, coordination must be monitored and controlled to prevent expensive and unnecessary rework. Even though files can be hosted in the cloud, it is advisable to maintain backups.

It is a certainty that precise, effective design with fewer errors is possible using BIM but there may be challenges in achieving those designs. Specifying the role of BIM, its usage, the stakeholders involved and the challenges to be expected can help optimise the benefits of using BIM and minimise its risks. The positive impact of building information modelling will be felt for some time. Analysing and mitigating the risks involved in its use can only benefit the industry and its players.