Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Entrance Feature

cascading water features for an entrance statement

Small villa

small and cosy living space

bedroom, spa and open air restroom

room with a view

Enjoy, Have Fun

Yes, if you love the things you do, then do it well, enjoy and above all, have fun. Soon your own style will surface and define you.

a villa with traditional malay features in modern context

layout for tropical comfort & privacy

entrance foyer

internal courtyard

Basics First

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. This sounds all too familiar doesn't it. In most of my learning experience, the hardest part is getting through the inital stages of basic introductory tutorials. Mainly because I just can't wait to jump straight into this 3D modeling experience, hence the fundamental lessons automatically seemed mercilessly slow and dreary. Why not just skip it? I must stress that understanding the basic principles on which a modeling tool operates is actually really crucial especially for 3D newbies like me. You can't read if you haven't learned your ABCs, could you? So I guess the same applies here too.

entrance structure amidst lush tropical setting

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Limiting Factor

Once too often have we hear complaints that designs modelled using SketchUp do not do enough justice to the actual design idea. Unlike it's other sophisticated counterparts, SketchUp is perceived by most to have very limited modeling capacity. While this may be true to a certain extend, but one must not forget that any modeling tool can only perform as far as the user's will and desire to stretch his skills and creativity. Sometimes we fail to notice the contributing limiting factor in ourselves.

quiet and intimate for a personal retreat

conventional, airy and roomy


Generally, default textures and model components do not have the range that fit specifically into your style or field of design. Well, you are expected to do it yourself. That's the whole idea, isn't it? Since designers each has their own distinct style, it is only sensible to model a customized range of components characteristic to their trade.

entrance reflective screen & water feature

urban internal courtyard

Get Modelling!

Practice makes perfect! So what are you waiting for? Get moving, get creative. Most importantly, get passionate. For me, that's the ultimate factor that gives a design and model the extra edge. Even a tiny little spark of aspiration, goes a long way.

a formal reflective pond

a lily pond within a minimalist setting

Digital Visualization

Having involved in designing garden ponds, water features and eventually hard landscapes, have slowly but surely changed and shaped my designing perspective over materials, colours, patterns, forms and spatial dimensions. Thankfully with today's digital visualization tools, a myriad of design ideas can be projected more clearly and precisely with illustrative depths to allow better appreciation of concepts. Soon after familiarizing myself with SketchUp, I started to explore adventurously further to produce better models, while still have fun with it.

a pond feature to enhance a corner

a pond to invigorate private outdoor niches

an organically shaped pond

a water feature to cool & add interest to outdoor terrace

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Entrance Statements

This is my first attempt designing for a community development, an entrance statement that encompasses three passageways, with each having its own water features. The 5 metres high main entrance structure which stands facing the highway access, features foliage and water motifs as the main design expression for the tropical and ecological theme. In addition, the feature also includes a large water body with water curtains, fountain jets and overflowing cascades to offer a lively display against the solid background.


main entrance feature

ingress entrance feature

egress water feature

In contrast, both ingress and egress features have a calmer water motion activity. Still a towering structure at 4 metres, the three water cascade walls at the ingress are ever refreshingly inviting, while quiet waters and linear arrangements set the mood for the tranquil egress feature.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


One should expect that no design layouts are identical, even if spatial dimensions are similar. Since everyone desires to be different, it is always an interesting challenge to come up with unique concepts and styles all the time, which I believe is much more satisfying rather than a cut and paste approach, don't you think? Alternatively, old concepts can also be given new life by reintrepreting them into new context.

landscape elements & pond are clean & neatly organised

Spacious and privately serene

A screen feature for living terrace

Make it Count

There is always a sense of gratification when a design is accomplished. Whether it takes days, weeks, months or may be just a few hours to complete, let your time be well spent and design well conceptualised. Make it worthy even if it might not materialise physically. The work is still a testimony of one's style and ability. So learn to enjoy every minute of it.

feature pond with tree platners & stepping blocks

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Designing is a rather individualistic domain. Often, a great deal of time is spent alone with the computer. One of the main constructive ingredients I personally find essential is really, self motivation. Lots and lots of it.

front yard, minimal & orderly

modern pergola feature

You Keep Going

The thought of throwing in the towel and just have someone else do it, have crossed my mind many times during the initial stages of picking up digital visualization skills. Giving up is so easy, isn't it? But the process of designing is a very personal voyage. Every design, at the end of the day, is a unique imprint of one's ideas and thougths, a visual expression that conveys a silent message.

Truth is, one has to accept the fact that every journey in life is riddled with hurdles and obstacles. Quitting is not an option. You keep going and going not until the obstacles disappear ( because they won't ) but until going over the hurdles become second nature to you.

linear garden layout

entrance structure

linear garden with urban paving design

Friday, October 19, 2007

No Shortcuts

That's right. There are no shortcuts to mastering anything. One does not become an expert overnight. Eventhough, Google SketchUp is known to be relatively simpler and more straight forward to use, one still needs to put in the hours to at least grasp its basic modeling principle. Once that is out of the way, the rest is up to your imagination. I have had my share of confusions and frustrations over messed up models in the beginning ( and I still do ), however this initial phase is a necessary evil, I must say. I later rekindled with some of my long lost friends; patience, perseverance and discipline.

water curtain feature

trees & floral paving

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Journey Begins

Most 3D softwares out there are rather complicated for a lay person like me. I am sure some of you can identify with that. However, I do envision that I will one day be proficient enough to model and render my designs to produce more realistic quality visuals. But of course, 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' - Confucius. And so I took my first step with GoogleSketchup. It was introduced to me a couple of years back when I had just begun to explore my designing options. Google SketchUp is not only great, it's also FREE!

modern tropical water garden

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Designing A Passion

Who chooses to be a designer? Do I have what it takes? The flair, talent and all? Maybe I do, maybe I don't. But I do know one thing, is that I have a genuine passion for designing. And it is this passion that incessantly fuels my interest & curiosity for more, thus constantly drives me to be better skilled at the craft. Before long, the digital design revolution bug finally caught up with me. This would then eventually launch me on a journey into the world of design visualization. The more I delve into it, the more fascinated I became. Though still an amatuer today with this 3D experience, I am convinced, motivated and determined enough to carry on with the journey, which by the way, is an ever extending journey.
Thus far my designing experience for vocation has been mostly water gardens & landscape related assignments. While I endeavour to diversify my design subjects, this blog will feature primarily design visualizations of ponds, water gardens and hardscape features .

garden pond at the living terrace