Interview with Ray Olivares, Computer Visualization Artist

Interview with Ray Olivares

At Rakks, we are often contacted by talented designers and architects who envision Rakks in a project they are working on. In this case it was Ray Olivares, a very talented computer visualization artist who sent us this illustration of his proposed Rakks installation in his new Chicago home.

Ray’s illustrations are so realistic they are often mistaken as photographs. That was the case at Rakks, when he sent us this illustration. We did a double take and looked very closely at the screen. This must be a photograph was our response. We were wrong. Ray is a master!

He was kind enough to talk to us – virtually of course – about Rakks. If the finished installation is as impressive as his work, it will be worth the wait.

1. What is a computer visualization artist?
We are the director of photography, the cinematographer and the producer of finished art in a virtual world. People come to us when they have a design that needs to be conveyed. We work closely with our clients to create something out of nothing other than a set of floor plans, elevations, and a whole lot of interpretation.

2. What drew you to this profession and how long have you been doing it?
I was lucky enough to go to school at Texas A&M University in the early 90’s when they had an architecture program that was so ahead of its time. I believe back then there were only two other universities in the US that involved computer generated imagery in the designated architectural design curriculum. I remember we had specialized silicon graphic workstations that were “top of the line” and you could just imagine the primitive technology we were using by today’s standard. I’m talking about 3d studio V2 and adjusting everything in Photoshop V2 which didn’t even have layers back then! Any given program on my iPhone is probably more advanced than those programs.

3. Did you study art and/or design in school?
Yes, the studies at my university were for architectural design. But I feel that so much of what I do incorporates much more than architecture. It’s also photography, time management and an understanding of what’s possible given your technological limitations.

4. What is a typical project for you?
A typical project for me involves a series of renderings for a developer trying to sell an empty marketable space in NY or Chicago. That’s where the money is and business is business, money is money, etc. I take great pride in making my renderings photo-realistic, appealing and giving the client exactly what they want. But I’ll admit, the most fun and insane projects were the ones you have to be sworn to secrecy over. I once had to live in an artist’s NYC SOHO studio for a month to animate a video of collected elements in his paintings that he was exhibiting for his opening. I won’t divulge what exactly I witnessed, but P.T. Barnum would be proud!

5. Do you have any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I’m currently working on a few projects that I think are coming out amazingly. The latest being a rendering for a residential space in NYC. It has a very 20th century modern aesthetic. It’s just my style. You’ll recognized the aesthetic and my personal style in my apartment rendering.

Interview with Ray Olivares

6. How did you discover Rakks?
I’ve had Rakks systems in my home for the past 7 years. I lived in a tiny apartment in NYC with 8 foot ceilings. Then I “upgraded” to a 9 foot ceiling. Now I live in Chicago and I have much more room and a 10 foot ceiling. Thankfully Rakks has extensions I can order. In my new space, I am installing Rakks Spring Compression Poles with Rakks Brackets and I am also using Rakks Brackets as bookends.

In the rendering, you can see my personal photography on the wall. I also plan do have that printed and mounted. They’re pretty much from my Instagram account.

7. Do you have a photo of the finished project?
I don’t have a photo of the finished project yet. I’m still so inundated with work at my new place that I haven’t had time to set up my furniture. My very good friend just drove my belongings from Brooklyn to Chicago. Most importantly, my stuff is here!

Thank you Ray! We look forward to seeing the final installation.

October 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

Enjoy Grounded Visionaries Design Weekend!

Grounded Visionaries Design Weekend
Rakks wishes everyone attending this inspiring series of conversations and events celebrating design a wonderful weekend. We are pleased to have played a supporting role in the event.

September 12th, 2014 | No Comments

Throwback Thursday – Ivy League Projects

In honor of Throwback Thursday, we have decided to reach into our archives to showcase one of our favorite Ivy League school projects. This exhibition of the Evolution of Design was created by the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2011 with the help of Rakks custom counter brackets and stands.

Harvard Graduate School of Design

To celebrate 75 years of design, the Harvard Graduate School of Design created an incredible exhibition consisting of 120 display boxes, chronicling the school’s progress beginning in 1936 and included the progress of the design world at large. “Organized into six thematic categories: Design as Research, Design as Critique, City as Process, City as Form, The Continuous Institution, and The Shifting Institution, each section contained dispatches that spoke to a greater set of themes spanning all of the School’s programs and departments, various media, and all seventy-five of the School’s years. In momentarily stopping the clock, this exhibition enlivened the GSD, and Harvard University at large, with the engagement and propulsion that the past can offer us today and tomorrow” (Peter Christensen (PhD ’14), Curatorial Director).

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard Graduate School of Design worked with Dan Borelli and Douglas Jack of the Exhibit Team under a tight deadline, Rakks was able to supply custom counter brackets and stands to support the exhibit’s display boxes and tables. Cut and welded at custom angles, the Rakks brackets allowed the display boxes to be installed at a variety of angles for both visual impact and easy viewing of the articles and information presented.

At Rakks, we love to see our products used in creative and innovative ways, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design continually strives to embrace creativity and innovation. On September 12th and 13th the GSD is gathering luminaries of the industry for “Grounded Visionaries” groundedvisionaries.com – a symposium of innovation. This gathering promises to underscore the GSD’s reputation as the most widely ambitious, experimental and optimistic design schools in the world.

September 4th, 2014 | No Comments

Young International Architect Talks about Rakks

Interview with Aashman Goghari, Rhode Island School of Design

What is your education background and what was it that drew you to architecture?

Architecture allows for artistic expression within the confines of scientific rationality and this is what initially drew me to the profession and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I came from a science heavy background with an informal interest in design. In the end, it was either industrial design or architecture for me, since they both seemed like a logical combination of the science and art. I finally picked architecture since it is hailed as somewhat of a ‘mother art’ – it teaches holistic sensibilities that apply to all forms of design at multiple scales.

Please share a little bit about the architecture course at Rhode Island School of Design and your experience with it.

RISD’s architecture program is quite something. Each professor has a nuanced and unique understanding of the profession, thus providing a wealth of possible interpretations of the role of architecture in our lives, and specifically in the 21st century. Sometimes I wish there was less of a disparity between architectural education and the practice of architecture, but that’s what internships are for and this summer I had the opportunity to intern with Studio Luz architects, which was an incredible real life experience.

In your opinion, would Rakks work on a global scale?
Why or why not.

Yes. The Rakks modular shelving system exhibits timeless design that works globally. The system speaks a language of contemporary sophistication that has architectural appeal and limitless options regardless of geographic or cultural boundaries.

August 14th, 2014 | No Comments

Rakks Shelving Gets Interactive.

Rakks shelving systems are well known within the design and architectural community and we strive to make our product information easily accessible to our customers. To achieve that goal we developed our interactive product identification tool. Now with a click of your mouse, you can access product specifications including model numbers and measurements by clicking on strategically placed icons on installation photos in our online portfolio. If you like what you see, you can get complete product information and also purchase the product in the Rakks Store.

In an effort to continually support the process of design visualization through implementation, the Rakks website was redesigned to offer architects and designers the opportunity to see the portfolio image first and then look at the specs without leaving the page. This process is not only interactive, but it is a friendly and less time-consuming approach to search for solutions.

We invite you to watch this video to see the Rakks product identification tool in action. We think you will like what you see.

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August 4th, 2014 | No Comments

Shelving From Boston
Lighting Designer's Loft Space


Boston-area lighting designer and fabricator Joey Nicotera’s loft needed to reflect his imagination. This is no small task for someone who has had...


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