i was out at Mercyhurst College the other night for the Interior Design senior show and every year i'm struck by how things are continually changing and improving. back when i graduated (five years ago) we only had one or two seniors doing computer rendering (that's right - i rendered my entire 10-board museum project on craft paper with chalk and oil pastels). almost every year since, 100% of the students have been using some form of computer rendering. this year, many of the students printed their renderings directly to formcore with the help of FastSigns. they looked awesome.
most of the projects start in AutoCAD. some students go from there to Sketchup (if they haven't started in Sketchup). somehow it goes through PhotoShop and Artlantis (i don't even know what that program is) and this year, they have been starting to use Revit along with the others.
i've been using AutoCAD for over 10 years, so it's definitely something i'm comfortable using. because of the nature of my job (mostly furniture space planning, layout design and coordinating fabrics and furniture finishes mostly in existing buildings), we don't have a huge need for rendering programs other than those like 20-20 Visual Impressions, or sometimes throwing things into SketchUp for a quick visual.
so, here's my first question - what do you interior designers and architects out there use? still hand sketching? have you transferred to Revit? if you're a student, what are you learning or what do you prefer?
another thing i noticed at the show is how the students' focus is really on the architecture portion of the interior (and sometimes exterior) and the finishes that go along with that (flooring, paint, wallcoverings). however, they don't really put any emphasis on furniture AT ALL - they just pull in random symbols that look cool. being a major furniture nerd (and selling it for 6 years), i don't think this is such a good thing. personally, i think that Interior Design of both commercial and residential spaces is based HEAVILY on the furniture and fabrics that are used in the space. i think they affect the design thesis equally as much as (if not more than) the walls, floor plan/layout, room placement, etc. i think it would be nice to see a focus back on that in future shows. working in healthcare a lot, we really see a focus on how the furniture affects the patients and healing (with comfort, anti-microbial finishes, functions) as well as the paint colors or layouts of the space. i think it would be good to know the rational of why for the furniture they pick.
i'm not sure about other colleges and schools and what they are teaching. interior designers (and students) out there - what's your opinion? what's your preferred platform and how do you see the industry of interior design changing today?