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New Jersey & Company Magazine: Touching Perfection

Before any building gets built, its designer needs to win the approval of the owner by showing what it will look like and how it will function. So for centuries, architects and designers have used models and drawings both of which have become increasingly sophisticated, thanks to technology to get the message across. But Ken Gruskin, principal of the Gruskin Group in Springfield, believes there is no better way to show what a project will look like built than by actually building a life-size model of it first.

"In the 1980s, we did perspective sketches, computer renderings, and people thought that was great," he recalls. "But what we kept hearing from clients when they saw the final product was, 'It's a little bigger than I thought,' or something else."

Gruskin contends that although computer renderings are good, there's something missing a physical perspective, or sensory experience.

"As architects, we would build half-scale, or quarter-scale models, but couldn't extrapolate because we couldn't put ourselves 'in there,'" says Gruskin, whose integrated design firm is involved in architecture, interior design, interactive/web design, graphic design, brand development, and industrial design. "One day it dawned on us, 'why can't we work it full-size?'"

The process works mostly for interiors, although exterior applications are possible, especially for specific exterior elements. "We started to experiment with full-size prototypes because they offer many advantages," he says. "As a design tool, they remove a lot of guess work. It's easy to visualize here's the doorknob, here's what it's going to look like."...

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