by Ian

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.06.44 AM

I dipped my toe into the world of 3-d modeling software with this project. With much help from youtube tutorials and a special thanks to John O’Keefe and Katy Foley in Providence, I learned enough of the program called Rhino to make it well worth the effort. This software, especially in unskilled hands, has some tell-tale signatures, and I still flinch at designs that have that Rhino-y look to them. That said, I couldn’t have done this project without being able to work things out on the computer. After developing most of the design in plaster and on paper, I used Rhino to work out some of the details and finalize the layout. Just as an example, I was able to take the entire design and scale it up 11 percent to account for the clay’s shrinkage. Then Daniel and I could take measurements off of the individual, scaled up tiles from the computer model and make the plaster positives accordingly.

The colors are not representative of the finished product, but otherwise this video, which is simply a screen capture of me working on the Rhino model, gives you a sense of what the installed piece will look like. The gray rectangle on the multicolored side is a cutout for lower kitchen cabinets.

Rhino seems to be the current standard in a lot of architecture and product design. In fact, I talked to a toilet designer at Kohler who does his work on Rhino and we geeked out about it a bit. I highly recommend giving it a try if you think it might be useful in your work. It takes some time to get comfortable, but I assure you it’s within reach of the neophyte. You can download a free, beta version for Macs here:


And here are the youtube tutorials that I found very helpful: