The Value of Mock-ups in the Design Process
We have always believed in the value of the full-scale mock-up trial in the design process. In our toolkit of design methodologies it offers an un-rivaled way of getting end users & other stakeholders involved. It allows them to visual and spatially see the design in a way that many struggle to with drawings: for example, it is often difficult to visualise the size of a space or the distance between objects. It allows them to interact with the design in real-time: when we design a control room for example, they can pick up a desk and move it; if we want to change the desk we can re-shape it if we’ve used cardboard as our material.
No CAD or other tool offers these benefits in a way that is as quick or as cheap to deliver. Whilst sometimes sceptical at the outset, almost all our clients see and agree the benefit of the approach when the exercise is completed.
Now it seems we are not alone! In this article (http://tinyurl.com/2wuwbbq) Airbus gained significant benefits in the design of the XWB fuselage through the use of mock-ups. It allowed them to avoid the mistakes of previous projects which had relied on CAD modelling and for testing future assembly processes.
The lesson seems to be that we have a variety of design tools at our disposal. The skills is to bring the right ones in for the right purposes and rarely to rely on one method.