EDG Design: streamline furniture design workflows with SketchUp

August 26, 2021 Cara Bell

We sit down with EDG Design intern Cameron Creath to get the inside scoop on his custom furniture design workflow. He talks about the pieces he’s created, his favorite projects, and how he loves training the team to use SketchUp effectively. He even gives away some of his favorite SketchUp extensions and some tips to ensure an efficient workflow.

Tell me about EDG Design and your role at the company.

EDG design is a boutique design studio that focuses on hospitality and restaurant projects. We have a fantastic team at three offices worldwide, with our headquarters in California, and we offer interior architecture, branding, and interior design services. The quality of work is like no other — we focus on custom design solutions that suit our clients’ needs. 

As an intern at EDG Design, I produce construction documentation for custom furniture pieces in LayOut and train the team to use SketchUp more effectively.

A custom closet designed in SketchUp.

How did you get started in SketchUp?

I learned about SketchUp while studying set design at school. I loved SketchUp right away because I realized I could design anything in the program - it was so intuitive. To help build my modeling skills, I used online learning materials on SketchUp Campus and YouTube videos.

I spent all of my free time planning my dorm room and office space. It offered such a low barrier to entry and was more flexible than the other CAD software I used in school. With SketchUp, I could truly build unconfined. 

What’s your workflow look like in SketchUp?

My workflow in SketchUp involves designing custom furniture from an initial concept or idea. The furniture is always built to match the overall space. 

I normally start out by receiving design direction from colleagues and the client. These are provided to me through photos of existing furniture, hand sketches, or general specifications. Next, I build it in SketchUp. I work alongside the designers in SketchUp to help them visualize the piece, iterating through multiple versions based on the feedback I get. This process takes only 30 minutes from the initial concept to iteration and completion. It’s easy and fast.

Iterating on desk designs in SketchUp. Total time: less than 30 minutes.

I also teach SketchUp (and LayOut) to the designers in the office. I hold hour-long interactive training sessions over zoom three times per week. All sessions are recorded so future employees can learn from the same material. When people have a SketchUp question, I am the go-to person.

It sounds like you know your way around the axis. What impact has your 3D modeling knowledge had on the team’s workflow?

One of my biggest projects was creating a SketchUp template for everyone to work from. This template makes sure styles and scenes are set up correctly and includes standard elevations and AutoText. This organization and standardization ensure that drawing conventions, and the look and feel of designs, are consistent across the whole team. It also means that the designs are well-prepped for documentation in LayOut, where I’ve set up templates for detailed drawings sets. That way, we’re able to stick to one software for the whole process.

A detailed, custom work table drawing in LayOut.

Can you tell us about a few of your favorite projects?

One of my favorite projects was a hotel renovation. I worked under the guest room designer to build custom furniture pieces that would fit into her design vision.

The scope increased a lot for FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment). At first, the design only required 15 FF&E drawings, but as the scope increased, I ended up producing 33 FF&E drawings. To optimize the design workflow, each FF&E model lived in its own file and each one was linked to a master file. If anything changed in the individual model files, I would update the guest room master file. Previously, there would have been a ton of disparate files that would have been hard to organize.

Once modeled, I export the FF&E pieces to LayOut to create design drawings. These are then sent to manufacturers to build.

From the finalized design idea to LayOut drawing. Project: Custom headboard.

 The ability to create detailed drawings from models is pivotal for our work. If we couldn’t produce detailed drawings from our SketchUp models, then we wouldn’t be able to use SketchUp at all. 

Getting into the details with LayOut.

Are there any extensions or rendering engines you couldn’t live without?

I use so many extensions in my workflow! Here’s everything: RoundCorner, FredoTools, Bezier Curve, Skimp, JHS Power Bar, Mirror, CleanUp, Curviloft, JointPushPull, Material Replacer, Solid Inspector, TrueBend, Vertex Tools, and VR Sketch. We also use Enscape — it’s critical for our work.


About the Author

Cara Bell

When Cara's not writing copy or learning about customer workflows, you can find her on top of a 14,000 ft mountain, hitting up those Colorado ski slopes, or binging Netflix shows on her couch.

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