SketchUp and the Art of Smart

SketchUp and the Art of Smart

Art of Smart (AOS) installs smart design and technology solutions for the domestic residential market. AOS continues to buck trends by growing and scaling during some of the most turbulent and challenging times for UK businesses. The backbone of this innovative tech company is a core team of skilled technicians and designers that plan, design, install and support clients nationwide. A valued customer and adoptee of SketchUp, we’ve been talking to the team about their work and the role that SketchUp plays.

Pete Sommese, technical designer at AOS talks about the company and how it uses SketchUp to design and model smart solutions for smart homes.

I work in the design team at Art of Smart (AOS). We specialise in creating Smart Homes. Our Smart Homes are bespoke solutions, conceived, designed, and installed for families that can include one, or all, of our services such as Smart Cinemas, Smart Lighting, electrical installation, security, multi-room-audio, video distribution and more. Want your favourite music or radio station to wake you up in the morning, blinds and curtains automatically opening at sunrise and sunset, outdoor lighting turning on at sunset each evening according to the time of year, an all-off button by the front door that automatically turns off all AV equipment, heating, lights and sets security system to active - we do all of this and more.

The company was founded in 2017 by Rich Heppell, and in three years it has grown from a team of one to 15 and counting. AOS have also created their own in house national training programme titled the AOS Academy, which is supporting the growth and expansion of our installation and aftercare network around the UK. It’s an exciting time for the company.

Is anything possible in the ‘modern’ home these days? 

A Smart Home can include a magnitude of different and intelligent technologies. From something as simple as combining two devices to create an ‘event and action’; through to every device imaginable being controlled and monitored by a super controller system. This can result in an environment where lighting scenes, audio playback, even the heating of a specific area of the home can all be set to ‘Dine mode’ ready for the perfect setting to host a dinner party. Curtains and blinds can be programmed to close at sunset and open when your alarm clock goes off in the morning and also close during the day if the temperature in the room exceeds a certain temperature to assist with solar shading.  

How do you approach a new design and installation? And how ‘big’ can you go?

When the initial approach comes in from a client, we review the property layout and begin to investigate the best solutions based on our initial assessments and discussions with them. There's no such thing as 'too big' or 'too small', only what is right for that environment. We're sensitive and responsive to clients' budgets ensuring we present a range of scenarios that are feasible for that household. There’s no limit to the size of what can be crafted using the scalable formula we use.

AOS uses SketchUp to model and Enscape to visualise installations, what does your workflow look like?

SketchUp really is intuitive to use. Using SketchUp to design and model every conceivable detail means we can implement the smartest way of creating comfortable, creative and smart living spaces. Designing and documenting our work in SketchUp really helps us focus and provide exactly what our clients want in a design brief. With training provided by Cadsoft Solutions we are growing our knowledge base and SketchUp skillset and excited about where we can go with it.

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Our workflow is straightforward. Projects start with the lay out of all our AV components and once we’ve determined the dimensions, scale and materials needed we begin designing and modelling in SketchUp. When we’ve completed our SketchUp models it’s time to fire up Enscape and create slick renders and visuals ready for our clients. 

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After everything is complete, we’re in a position to present to our client and consult with them making any changes that may be required. Being able to iterate in 3D and present scaled and accurate designs and then be able to adapt and change anything from lighting effects to textures if clients' require is effortless. 

As our knowledge grows, so does the role that SketchUp plays within the team. Plotting and laying out a comms room for example has helped our engineers and installers know exactly what was required for the room, including where every element needs to be positioned and installed.

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The ability to design and model so precisely and present LayOut plans back to the team meant every item such as lighting panels, termination boxes, fuse boxes, alarm boxes, drivers, and so much more could be reviewed with ease and efficiency. 

Does using SketchUp and Enscape help you get client buy-in? 

Using Sketchup and Enscape helps our clients visualise what we’re designing for any room, including how items are accurately spaced and lit. Throw in the Viewer and we can present our models and designs to clients anywhere, particularly useful when we're on site.

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The eye doesn't lie as I often say and with tools like these at our disposal, clients gain the full picture. They're always wowed by the results and there’s no doubt that the level of detail in our designs resulting from using SketchUp and Enscape helps our clients make informed decisions and gain their buy-in. 

What's it like working with your SketchUp Reseller?

Working with Cadsoft Solutions and having them onboard to guide us with ideas and tips has been incredibly valuable to the whole team at AOS. Nick has continually shown patience with us while we get to grips with SketchUp and the methods and strategies that enable us to implement our ideas and present fabulous designs for our clients.

We'd like to thank Pete and his colleagues at Art of Smart for their contribution to this case study. You can learn more about the company and its services by visiting their website.

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