Designing a bridge, an airport, or even an opera house not only requires creativity and skill, but also the precise and quick communication of ideas – something London based architect firm, Zaha Hadid Architects felt was lacking.
To satisfy its needs, the firm chose Sharp’s BIG PAD interactive displays to help them collaborate more efficiently, to save time and money.
Headquartered in Clerkenwell, London’s, the BIG PAD's have been installed on four of its five office floors, the company has installed Sharp BIG PAD (supplied by reseller DisplayPoint) as a communication tool for its in-house design teams.
Here's the full case study...
Designing takes time and is a consultative process. From the planning stage, to drawing up initial designs, revisions to mock- ups, architects and designers will have countless discussions and make multiple alterations before they and their client have a finished concept. Harry Ibbs, Head of BIM & Workflows, explained that the company was looking for ways to save time throughout this process by introducing new digital tools.
“We really wanted to speed up the efficiency of discussing and revising our ideas. If you consider how this is typically done: you print off a design, sit down with the whole team around a table, sketch onto it any changes, scan it, then email it, work on it again... that takes a lot of time and admin that can really slow down the whole team.
“It’s much quicker to get ideas onto a screen to be discussed and marked up, instead of printing hard copies, so we knew we needed to invest in large interactive displays we could use as a group.”
It was crucial that the device chosen was able to represent colours accurately. If the colours presented to a client don’t match those on the final product, then expectations haven’t been met. Another challenge was how to share ideas more easily with team members based all over the world, and have more productive videoconference calls:
“Sometimes, when we wanted to show an image or something from a screen with a remote colleague we would have to hold our laptop or tablet up to the webcam, or use FaceTime on a mobile and turn it to the screen. It wasn’t effective,” explained architect, Shao-wei Huang.
After research into different options and demonstrations at Sharp’s showroom, Harry’s team chose to invest in four BIG PAD interactive displays to be installed in each design team’s meeting area.
Sharp’s BIG PAD interactive displays for meetings
On the fourth floor, a team of designers make constant use of a 70-inch BIG PAD (PN70TW3A) for designing and for videoconferencing. It is situated in an informal huddle meeting area in the corner of the room and is used five to ten times per day for video calls with the global team. It is on a portable stand so that it can be moved to different parts of the room as required, rather than being fixed to the wall.
Cristiano Ceccato, Associate Director, explains: “For this floor, we decided on a 1920 x 1080, Full HD unit. We opted for this because the resolution’s really good for what we need. We thought about Ultra HD (4K) - and are using it on another floor - but for videoconferencing, we don’t need to send such a high- resolution image; it can actually slow down the call.”
Cristiano uses GoToMeeting to connect with his globally distributed team and clients, and often collaborates with participants to make edits directly on to plans right there during the call.
“The other person on the other side can also mark-up drawings, so the result of that is we can see what they want to apply to the design. We can share. To be able to stand up, mark stuff up, spin things around, record things, it really allows us to do these sessions very frequently, speed up development of the project and make sure everyone understands the details.”
Sharp’s 4K BIG PAD with P-CAP technology
On the first floor sits the ZHCluster team; where early design process happens. This team is responsible for challenging design and remaining at the forefront of technology.
“We specialise in the front-end design of the commissions and competition entries,” said Paulo Flores, Senior Associate. “Everything new that comes in, starts here. We develop a few ideas, concepts, research, and then that becomes the final concept design. It’s then forwarded by the rest of the office.”
Paulo and his team opted for the 4K BIG PAD (PN70TH5), for its ultra-high resolution. It is installed at the head of a large board room style table, within the open plan office and can be used spontaneously without being booked. Working at such high levels of detail really helps them, and their clients, to see the images as clearly and accurately as possible.
“The sharpness is something that’s very important to us, because that is how we define the crispness of geometry, how the images are perceived in meetings,” said Paulo.
The 4K BIG PAD has many features which make it easy for people to write and draw, including a ‘pen-on-paper’ user experience based on highly responsive P-CAP screen technology.
“Immediately that we got hold of it, we loved it. We love to do things with our hands directly, and we can do that with BIG PAD. It helps us to be more active, more intuitive,” said Michail Desyllas, Senior Designer. “With a projector, you can’t interact with the image. We haven’t used our projector since BIG PAD arrived.”
Whether it’s being able to annotate a drawing remotely while on a conference call, or being able to visually explain to the team a minute detail on a 4K screen, the choice made by Zaha Hadid to install Sharp technologies has been a rewarding one.
“For coordinating projects it’s the most convenient, best tool we can have,” said Shao-wei Huang. Paulo added, “it increases communication, people can come together around the screen at once. Sketches can become part of the discussion immediately.”
“This certainly contributes to accelerating turnaround of work, contributes to reduction of costs, and allows you to be much more spontaneous, because you can have impromptu discussions,” said Cristiano. The company has recently added a Huddle-size BIG PAD (50”, the PN50TC1) to its management office and is considering adding more of the interactive screens to its other sites.