October 25, 2013

How Software Fundamentally Changed Design: TVS Design

Atlanta-based TVS Design was one of three architects hired to design Nashville’s 1.2-million-square-foot Music City Center, the stunning convention center that opened this May. Danielle Trost, senior associate interior designer, headed up the interior design, which included custom carpet inspired by music. “Music is in constant motion,” says Trost. “We wanted the carpet to look like how music feels: constantly moving, changing.”

Using MicroStation, Photoshop, and Axminster looms, carpet patterns were designed to have an interactive quality, to shift colors as someone walks on them. But since this is a convention center, facility managers desired linear patterns with a typical repeat that offers a guide for chair set-up. So TVS created a layered pattern that incorporates both the random and the linear elements. Each pattern looks different though the background is the same, a result achieved by changing the design of one layer. Bonus: the random layer also allows for easy maintenance. To patch you do not need to match exact pattern.

“The success to this pattern is that the basic geometry is perfect and never changes, however the pattern appears to change when the one layer of closed circles is colored differently per space,” says Trost. “There’s also a great phenomenon with the carpet where you read whatever color is more dominant in your foreground. When approaching the same pattern from one direction it could read blue, from another it could read green.” (See images of meeting room concourses—working files from the carpet design phase—where Trost finds this to be most true.)

The value of using MicroStation, says Trost, is referencing building information, making patterns work with and relate to the overall building footprint and design. A drafting program ensures everything is dimension-able and perfect. Photoshop was used because of its ability to create layers: a key element in this carpet design.

Axminster can create carpets with limitless repeats. Typically, repeats have been kept to smaller sizes (usually less than 12 feet, the typical loom width). Trost says that’s all about time: smaller repeats are quicker. “Carpet takes forever,” she says. A sample carpet takes at least two weeks, after the designer has input the information into the computer, which can take up to eight days.

Manipulating the software available to them to employ, TVS was able finish the carpet in five months (though they requested nine). Starting with a simple five by six foot pattern, the base, the firm made carpets with very large repeats. The ballroom is a repeat pattern that’s 270 by 240 feet, something Trost says they have never done—or seen—before.

The layering concept opened many new doors for the firm, says Trost, and also saved time. That’s technology at its best.

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Eric Safyan
Perkins + Will

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