Honoring Heritage by Beginning with a Building’s facade | The 1300 Sherbrooke W Story…
Internationally acclaimed property developers can typically choose from their pick of the most talented visualization studios worldwide, but when the time came to do business development with behemoths such as IKEA & Restoration Hardware (RH), one of Canada’s largest property developers knew that they had to give this mission of turning a historic building, located at the heart of Montreal to a team of professional architects. They READ MORE…
|Client Name: Sabrina Aberman from Vista Props
Industry: Real Estate Development
Problem solved: Redesigned and Rendered historic building for IKEA or RH retailers (location: 1300 Sherbrooke W, Montreal, QC)
Service(s) Requested: 3D Rendering Services
Vista Properties is a 45-year-old property developer from Canada and has become one of Montreal’s largest property holders. They manage over 8 million square feet of commercial and industrial space by creating tailored solutions to meet their partners’ needs and increasing the value of their partners’ properties.
One of Vista’s main objectives is ensuring that their investors are happy — and they accomplish this by offering them attractive and interesting proposals.
“We need to provide profitable projects that investors want to invest in,” says Sabrina Aberman, Director of Development at Vista Properties.
“Daily, we have to coordinate multiple parties to realize our real estate investment,” she continues.
The Value of High Quality and Attractive Rendering
One of the most difficult things for Vista is finding visualizers that can understand what their clients are looking for and create renders accordingly.
Most visualizers do not have the technical know-how to properly understand the feedback that clients, especially property developers, give, creating a communication breakdown.
The developer ends up settling for a low quality and inferior rendering, simply because the visualizer doesn’t understand how to apply modifications and create diverse revisions.
“Non-architectural visualizers struggle to grasp certain concepts and aren’t quick to adopt changes in real-time…” – Sabrina Aberman
Any property developer will tell you that when it comes to creating visualizations, accuracy, variation, and adaptability is of the essence.
Property developers understand that the more hyper-realistic the rendering, the higher the likelihood that more investors will enter the fold and help them make the vision a reality.
In this instance, Vista Properties were in talks with retail giant IKEA and could no longer afford to take a chance with contractors and visualization studios — they needed the help of professionals.
“A high quality and attractive rendering can be the difference between closing a deal or not,” says Sabrina Aberman, Director of Development at Vista Properties.
Working with Plus Render
Vista Properties first learned about Plus Render by recommending a company based in San Francisco, California. This tech company had vetted Plus Render’s team directly to ensure that all members had the requisite skills to do the work and, on their recommendation, and subsequently connected Vista Properties with the Plus Render team.
As they had just bought the old-fashioned historical building on Sherbrooke W, in Montreal, the Vista team needed to modernize this building and bring it into the 21st century without losing its essence.
Vista Properties was pleasantly surprised to find that the Plus Render team is made up of professional architectural visualizers (and not just visualizers) who were more than capable of understanding and empathizing with the business processes of a property development firm.
From their consultation with Vista Properties, Plus Render was able to glean what they needed as far as a seamless transition from consultation to rendering, feedback, and final execution.
The Client Brief | High-End Retail
Vista Properties understood that 1300 Sherbrooke W was an outdated building and was ready to tastefully bring it into the 21st century.
The team at Plus Render was commissioned to modernize the building and allow Vista Properties to showcase IKEA or RH (Restoration Hardware), or even Maison Richter, what their eventual retail space would look like if they purchased it and made the investment into the building.
Real Estate Rendering 101: Start With The facade | Plus Render
At the onset of every project, the Plus Render team’s goal is to generate images that create the biggest visual impact and are attractive to potential real estate property investors.
The hallmarks of such an undertaking place design at the front and in the center. And nowhere else is the visual, artistic expression of a building felt more than with the facade!
Two key things sell a building; the facade design and the interior architecture. These two elements have to come together to make the highest impact and make an emotional connection with the potential investor. That’s the meaning of true art and design.
Once the Plus Render team has provided a property developer with an attractive and efficient facade design, they proceed to create 3D models and renders of the property.
Plus Render | An Impressive First Draft Render
Vista Properties was impressed at how thoroughly the Plus Render team had approached their Sherbrooke W property rendering. They had created a modern design that was sympathetic to the building’s historic nature while simultaneously remaining cost-effective.
This would be where the entrance to Vista Properties’ future retail space, so the team suggested additional window frames on the facade and changing the building’s decorative mullions (vertical and horizontal elements creating a division between units of a window or screen) in favor of insulated multilayered glass single panes. (See before and after)
Before: Mullions on the windows, distorting light from entering the facade
After: Single pane windows allowing light to enter the building uninhibited
Before: Windows with Mullions After: Contemporary Single Panel Windows
Changing facade materials and outdated elements were key to modernizing the building’s image. The Plus Render team tested various camera angles and aspect ratios while considering the retail space’s frontage, context, and whole building display.
The following image was produced from the first draft render.
Real Estate Rendering for Property Developers | Plus Render
The second Plus Rendering team, the team responsible for the building’s second view and the interior architecture & design, proposed a variety of camera angles for 1300 Sherbrooke W’s close-up.
Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
As the Plus Rendering team experimented with various angles for the Montreal property, Vista Properties eventually decided to select the second option (2) as their most preferred rendering.
The Plus Rendering team went ahead and enriched the image further and customized it to make it more attractive to Vista Properties’ potential investors and their targeted partner, IKEA.
They began by drafting 1300 Sherbrooke W’s interior retail distribution, interior lighting, creating a pleasant exterior terrace, redesign the sidewalk and urban elements.
Real-Time Architectural Rendering | Plus Render – Client Collaboration
Plus Render prides itself on the fact that it comprises a team of specialized professionals, and each member is an expert in a specific area. This allows the Plus Render team to provide highly realistic images while maintaining a short lead time.
Plus Render also guarantees unlimited revisions as their client-collaboration system is interactive and usually completed in real-time.
Meaning, the team shares all their references and their progress so that their clients, in this instance, Vista Properties, have the assurance that the Plus Render team is on the right path.
During real-time video conferences, the Plus Render team proposed two different lighting options.
The first option would represent the view from dusk, and the second option would be the view in the middle of the day.
Option 1: From Dusk Option 2: Mid-Day
Vista Properties and Plus Render agreed that the first option (1) from dusk, as the interiors shine brighter, and the overall view inside the windows created a bigger impact on the images viewers.
As soon as they had reached a consensus on the retail shop front’s view, they began to create a render that took the client’s feedback into account in real-time.
The following render is a result of such real-time collaboration:
Harmony Between Interior and Exterior Design | Plus Render
While the second team was tightening the lighting, the first team was beginning to add greenery, signage, interior lighting, and furniture in collaboration with Vista Properties. They also started to demonstrate what the renderings would like under a bright daylight ambiance.
To successfully demonstrate this, the first Plus Render team inserted some urban context into the scenery, such as cars, people, etc.
Vista Properties gave them the feedback that in both rendering views, signage and a flag was missing… then, in real-time, Vista Properties instructed Plus Render to “bring the signage up” or “the flag is too low-” “change the window frames,” “make the greenery more elegant,” etc.
The client appreciated that everything was falling into place in such a seamless manner and suggested enriching the urban elements, cars, people, adjust the signage, windows lighting, corrected the shades to enhance the lighting in the facades, among other details.
Then, Plus Rendering delivered the final rendering.
Finally, the interior architecture and design team improved the IKEA branding, enhanced the interiors, and created a realistic atmosphere and scene in the final render.
(To the left)
Additionally, to understand the scope of the whole project, the Plus Render team created a front-facing render to communicate the vision in greater detail.
In case IKEA did not wish to proceed with the operation, Vista Properties would decide to offer the building to RH (Restoration Hardware – a furniture company) and Maison Richter (a Canadian law firm); therefore, the Plus Rendering team adjusted the interior furniture and key elements to adapt to these potential clients (below).
RH (furniture store) Maison Richter (law firm)
The fact that Plus Render was able to reproduce the main rendering in multiple iterations allowed Vista Properties to be poised to fully take advantage of the investment that they had made into 1300 Sherbrooke W’s renderings
“The perceived value of the real estate investment depends solely on how well the rendering can demonstrate a property’s potential…” – Sabrina Aberman
Plus Render’s High-End Visualization Expertise
To successfully tie this project together in under 7-days, the Plus Render team initially gamified the brainstorming process by competing to create various options of the client-brief-based first draft.
Different team members with different specialties provided their input.
Vista Properties had hired both freelancers and visualization studios in the past for projects less high stakes, but working with multinational clients required them to go high-end.
Visual studios usually offer two (2) to three (3) rounds of revisions every three days. Whereas, Plus Render’s interactive system allowed them to share revisions with Vista Properties one (1) to two (2) days at most.
This gave Vista more flexibility and ensured that they were getting exactly what they wanted from the project.
- Elapsed Time: 5 Working Days
- Execution Strategy: Interior & Exterior teams worked simultaneously to achieve desired renders and make the deadline
Vista Properties’ Feedback to Plus Render from their potential partner, IKEA:
Vista Properties presented these renders to IKEA. Their chances of selling/renting the building highly increased, as IKEA liked the turnaround time, proposal, the render quality, and the fact that the render execution was highly realistic.
First testimonial for IKEA:
“Alberto and his team were a pleasure to work with. The working relationship was easy, efficient, and reliable. Moreover, they completed my renderings with unprecedented speed. The team was also very flexible and accommodating. The renderings they delivered were of excellent quality — I highly recommend hiring them for your next architectural rendering project. I enjoyed working with them and have already hired them for additional jobs.”
Second testimonial for RH and Maison Richter:
“This was my second time working with Alberto. As always, Alberto and his team were a pleasure to work with. They deliver high-quality renderings in little time. They are very easy to reach and will do everything to ensure you are satisfied. They want your rendering to be as perfect as you want it to be. I will definitely recommend Alberto to friends/colleagues.”
QUESTIONS FOR PLUS RENDER
What was the very first thing you started working on with [company name] after having a consultation call with them?
Since we are a team of architectural visualizers (not simply visualizers), we first provided the facade redesigning and interior spaces. We brought an old-fashioned historic building in the main street of Montreal to 2021.
Why was this the first thing that you decided to work on?
[The answer to this question will help us explain your workflow to potential clients]
Our goal is to generate images that create the biggest visual impact and attract potential customers. To do such a design is key! Facade and interior design have to be modern and match with the potential customer. Once we provide one of our main added values, which is attractive and efficient designs, we can proceed with 3D modeling and then rendering.
What was their original problem?
The historical building was outdated. They needed to bring it to 2021, and they wanted to showcase IKEA or RH how their store would look if they purchased it. To do so, we included their company logo, included their products in the store, etc.
According to industry standards, is this a common problem amongst clients in [their industry]?
Yes. Clients either want to build from scratch, or they want to remodel an existing building.
How did you determine the way forward to immediately begin solving this problem?
We gathered as a team and brainstormed different design options. Different team members with different specialties provided their input.
Were these conversions turning into sales?
They presented these renders to IKEA. Their chances of selling/renting the building highly increased since IKEA liked the turnaround and the proposal, and the render quality and execution were highly realistic.
What are the KPIs to determine whether you’re doing a good job rendering (pun intended) your services?
The best indicator is if our client manages to sell the properties/projects to the end customer. If the renders are attractive and manage to captivate and transmit to potential customers turning into a sale, that’s the biggest win.
Another KPI is hitting the deadline, which we did. Since we are a team of specialized professionals specializing in a certain area, we manage to provide highly realistic images in a short period.
Another KPI is that we provide unlimited revisions since we work in an interactive system and enjoy working very closely with our clients, sharing all our references and progress, and making sure we are on the right path.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE PLUS RENDER CLIENT
What are the daily priorities of a client in their industry?
One of our main objectives is: Having investors happy and offer them attractive and interesting proposals. We need to provide profitable projects that investors want to invest in.
We have to coordinate multiple parties daily to be able to achieve a real estate investment.
What are the things that people would find surprising about what your clients do?
How important is sharing hyper-realistic renderings with your clients in their industry?
The perceived quality of the investment is the perceived quality of the rendering. High-quality and attractive rendering can be the difference between closing a deal or not.
What advice would you give for someone nervous about outsourcing their imaging and rendering processes to a service provider?
It’s worth it spending your bucks on a high-end visualization studio. Think about it as an investment; the more you invest in rendering, the higher chances of making a deal.
What has been the most complicated thing for you to learn when it comes to creating renderings for [their use of architectural renderings]
The effort required to apply the comments mentioned. Some comments we provided implied a great effort of the visualizers, and we ended up learning to make more efficient revision rounds.
Did your level of confidence improve when you started working with Plus Rendering?
Definitely! We had hired both Freelancers and other Visualization Studios, and they never achieved the desired renders. We had poor experiences with others trying to achieve detailed and realistic results. But we were recommended to Plus Render and will continue to work with them.
What led you to utilize Plus Rendering’s services?
We saw the renders of a project they previously made in New York City and contacted the Real Estate Developer. They were happy to present us to Plus Render.
Have you recommended Plus Rendering to any of your industry colleagues? Why (or why not)?
I have not because nobody asked, but if they do, I do not doubt that I will.