Three questions to Toshiko Mori

By Remi
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Toshiko Mori Dassault Systemes Board Administration architecture design award

I met Toshiko right after her introduction to the board of administration of Dassault Systèmes. She held a conference here at the Vélizy Campus the same day and I thought you’d like to hear her thoughts on Design and its near future…

You’re now member of the board of administration of Dassault Systèmes, congratulations! It’s a first of a kind for you… how does it feel?

That’s true yes! I served in non-profit boards in the past, mainly focused on arts and architecture. I’m currently part of the board “Architecture for Humanity”, advising them on design excellence quality.

So this is my first time in a corporate board.  It’s a very humbling experience, I’m learning a lot and I hope I’ll be able to contribute.

During your presentation this morning you talked a lot about how Architecture and Design will have evolved by 2050. Can you give us the three key points that will embody this revolution?

One of our major issues right now is food. We call it energy, water and food crisis as they’re interdependent on each other.  What’s underlying is the uneven distribution of population and the rapid urbanization problems. How to provide these people with food, water and energy? It’s not so much about water scarcity but how to make it available according to the population density.

So my three items would be: jobs, water and food. We already have a job shortage which triggers instability in the developing world. In Middle East and Northern Africa, young people don’t find jobs and thus rebel. It’s as simple as that and unfortunately it will not happen in 2050 – it’s already happening.

So, if you build something, it automatically brings in jobs. Then, if it attracts attention, it will also bring in tourists, which means income. So designers have to make sure that whatever they do, they make the best design, so that people notice it and want to come. Second step is to think about the opportunities your design has created for next generations, whether it is in terms of job growth, making buildings, designing a city, etc.

Native Americans say that for every act you do, you have to think about its impact seven generations down the road. So if you always think that way in design, it really is a sustainable practice but it’s also a much more global thinking.

Does this revolution in the way you think as an architect lead to a revolution in the way students learn architecture? Do we need renewed teaching models?

Definitely. We tend to think of teaching in architecture and design as a building or a product: it’s an object-based teaching. But now we’ve got to teach students the context as well.

For example, if we’re talking about a building, what’s surrounding it? Which city or town are we dealing with? What’s its relationship to nature? What’s its overall location? What about the geopolitics? How does it relate in terms of global issues?

The world we’re living in is very complex and consequences can affect much larger parameters. I’ve been teaching a course called Global re-Design Project for the last two years. I’m also about to teach another course centered on Global Risks and Management, i.e. how can design have a built-in resilient system so that buildings can withstand natural catastrophes for example.

The way you think about contextual issues, away from designing objects, is to know the parameters of different possibilities for both negative things (from terrorist attacks to tsunamis, earthquakes and so on) and good opportunities (bringing educational opportunities and healthcare to the children in Africa).

The key is to turn the teaching model into something highly contextual: have larger parameters, be accessible and inclusive.


Any thought that pops up in your mind? I had a thousand ones when I interviewed her! :)



Direct Modeling with Dassault Systèmes

By Kate
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looking under the hood direct declarative functionnal history-based modeling dassault systèmes systems 3DS DS4 catia solidworks delmia enovia simulia 3Dvia draftsight CAD CAM PLM Product Lifecycle Management 2.0 lifelike experience systems engineering engineer geek 3D

Warning:  3D geek alert.  This is a technical blog post.

Awhile ago I sat down with the person in R&D overseeing our “Live products” development, notably our direct modeling solutions.  I wanted to learn more about our direct modeling products, notably what makes them special.  Here’s my interview with Juba Hadjali, mechanical software engineer and Live products domain leader.

Q1:  Talk to me about direct modeling from a Dassault Systèmes perspective.  What products do we have, and what’s our take on direct modeling?

For us we prefer to talk about “declarative modeling.”  Let me explain.  Since the very first V6 release, in addition to other technologies offered within the V6 platform, we’ve released a product called Live Shape, demonstrated for the first time during the ECF 2008 event.  It looks like direct modeling, nevertheless we call it declarative modeling because on top of any design we can declare specifications.  This is all about having the freedom of modeling while being able to declare specifications to capture the design intent.  In other words a free modeling approach, but with precise modeling that captures design intent.

Our product that does this is called Live Shape.  The main scope of the product is first 3D sketching.  It allows to expand the accessibility from traditional CAD users to collaborative enterprise users.  Everyone who wants to collaborate around 3D, because 3D is a universal language, is able to use this kind of product.  It’s about sketching your ideas freely.  It’s about improving the collaboration between simulation or manufacturing people and designers.  The manufacturing guys don’t know how the product was designed, and it is complex, and they need to make some modifications for their job to prepare the 3D. They can use Live Shape to do it in a very easy way.

Q2:  But is Live Shape our only direct modeling product?

Yes, because it covers the full spectrum of what we can call direct or declarative modeling.  It’s a CATIA portfolio product, but the same technology is used in our other brands too. For example, 3DLive is about collaborating in 3D – reviewing data, visually managing information in 3D.  We offer on top of 3DLive the solutions Live Shape and Live Compose to collaborate and brainstorm in 3D.

Q3:  So it’s the same technology kernel?


Q4:  And what about 3DVIA Shape, same kernel?

3DVIA Shape is also a direct modeling product, you’re right, but it’s not targeted at professionals.  It’s about democratizing 3D for all.  The idea is the same, being able to very easily and freely sketch your ideas with a very simple user interface.  Because declarative modeling brings the value of having very simple interfaces thanks to the underlying technology.  3DVIA Shape is for all “consumactors” and CATIA Live Shape for collaborators and creative designers who don’t know how to model in 3D, and all the enterprise collaborators that need to review and discuss using 3D.

Q5:  With Live Shape can you do complex things and access the underlying systems without going “under the hood”?

Yes you can do this thanks to the intelligence we’re putting into our direct modeling technology.  Historically some 3D CAD providers have had direct modeling technologies for years.  But at that time we couldn’t transform the direct modeling into smart modeling.  We’ve developed what I think is a breakthrough technology that does both, i.e. declarative modeling.  It does the same job you can do in classical modeling but allows you to bring more and more intelligence inside it.  So the value is clear. You can start with this declarative modeling or sketching freely, exchange, collaborate and then at any time reuse the work in dedicated sessions within other products.  And everything works well together.  So this declarative modeling product is seamlessly integrated into the whole CATIA, SIMULIA and DELMIA portfolios.  You can start with free modeling, continue with traditional modeling and the opposite.  You can start with classical modeling, give your result to a simulation or a manufacturing guy who doesn’t have the product… but can do his job as well!

Q6:  Could you let us know more about declarative modeling?

In V5 we released a product called Functional Modeling.  This represented a new approach to modeling, a next generation to 3D modeling.  When you’re using a traditional product you’re basically doing geometry.  You’re saying, ok, I’m using a sphere, I’m removing a cube off the sphere, etc., and you then sculpt your model.  We want the users to be able to focus on what you want to do and not how to do it.  Functional modeling, which we also called declarative modeling, is a unified approach that allows you to declare functional specifications.  So I want for instance a protected area.  I don’t want material there because I want to put a screw there.  In the classical approach, you’d ask the system to put a hole there.  But afterwards, it wouldn’t know this is a protected area, and nothing prevents you to fill the hole.  So functional, or declarative modeling, is about providing high level specifications, and the system manages them automatically without having to manage any specification order.  In the end it allows you to solve the complete problem and provide you the 3D.  We released this in V5 and, to sum it up, functional modeling is about shapes with high level specifications.

Q7: In V6, what’s the difference?

The main difference is that in V5 we had this idea of having high level specifications and creating 3D shape.  But these shapes were done with classical products, which are very rich ones I would say… so the user interface did not fit casual users.  They had to know how to model and to input specifications.  In V6, we are completely changing the rules of the game because we combined Live Shape and functional modeling.  So, you can freely model your 3D shape with the direct modeling technology of CATIA Live Shape, and then you are able to put on top of that functional specifications.  It combines the power of these two approaches which provides an unmatched solution with two goals: keep it simple for users and design as you think.

Q8: What’s next? Is it top secret?

In V5 we had functional modeling; in V6 we added direct modeling.  You can create your shape in direct modeling and you can use it in functional modeling.  But in terms of user experience, we want to improve this.  So we want to deliver a next generation of application that brings these two ways together.  And that’s what we have done with the beta application in SwYm which was announced during the 2010 Swym Conference, it is called Live Buildings.

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So there you have it!  Direct modeling Dassault Systèmes style . . .  Merci Juba!



3 questions to Ayse Birsel

By Remi
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ayse birsel seck dassault systèmes design in life strate college system systemes systeme catia delmia solidworks enovia simulia 3dvia exalead draftsight swym 3dswym CAD CAM PLM 2.0 De/Re deconstruction reconstruction innovation problem solve issueI recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Ayse Brisel, who runs Birsel+Seck design studio. She’s going to be part of a 3DS event soon (Design in Life) so I thought it’d be nice to introduce her and her concepts!

Can you tell me about your design concept: Deconstruction & Reconstruction?

Often Designers are asked about how they think and it’s a challenge to explain the process of design. In the last two years, I tried to articulate my process and Deconstruction & Reconstruction (De/Re) is the result of that.

We are all shaped by our preconceptions. Objects, situations and reality come to us prepackaged as a coherent whole. De/Re is about breaking our preconceptions to free our minds to imagine an array of new hypothesis.

One of my favorite examples of De/Re thinking outside of my work is the Dyson Air Multiplier. It pulls apart the conventional idea of a fan to eliminate its most fundamental part, the blade, and reconstructs a new hypothesis around how to blow air without it. It breaks the status quo to remind you of what you were trying to solve in the first place, which in Dyson’s case was moving air, freeing you to think about new and hopefully better ways of doing it.

I’ve read a lot that you look at your life as a design project… Can you tell me more about that?

When I was articulating De/Re as a process, I thought that it would be interesting to see if this process could be applied to designing one’s life. I like to think of life as our most important project and yet most of us think that we don’t have much control over our lives.

So my point is: ok we can’t control everything, but we can start imagining and designing the kind of life we’d like. So I started a series of workshops called “Design the Life You Love”, to teach people, non-designers as well as designers, to think about life with imagination and originality.

One part of this process is asking people to look at what the Dominant, Subdominant and Subordinate parts of their life are. Another way of saying this is, what is central to your life, what supports that center and what completes it.

Since there are only three parts, it forces people to look at what matters for them in their lives and the hierarchy between them (say, family, friends and work). If you want to have more, you need to resolve dichotomies to figure out how you can get more value within these constraints. Just like a design problem!

Often, people at my workshops are at a point in their life where they want to change something but they don’t know exactly what. So this helps shifting their point of view, and even if they don’t act on it, they learn to think about life differently, creatively, using design tools.

What future do you see for the design industry?

These days, my thinking is that we’re problem solvers, as well as team players. We’re really good at dichotomy resolution, bringing opposing ideas together to create new meaning and value.

So my point is that the design industry will increasingly help people to design their lives and address world problems. There are so many issues (poverty, women rights, democracy, etc.) where our creative thinking can definitely come up with 1+1=3 kinds of solutions, in collaboration with other people and disciplines.

And that’s why I like Deconstruction & Reconstruction; it’s a systematic and learned process around solving problems, but without loosing the whole intuitive and imaginary part of design.


Pretty interesting right? I was personally thrilled by De/Re… it’s quite a problem solving method! What do you think?



P.S.: I’ll be live blogging and tweeting at the event next week so stay tuned! :)

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