Oct 07

Architects are famed for their resistance to new and exciting technologies. Reyner Banham, in his “Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment” stated that architects didnt start integrating air conditioning systems in to housing projects until 40 years after they were invented.
More recently, architects took around 20 years to completely abandon hand drawn “blueprints” in favour of CAD or Computer Aided Design. By 1984 few were taking advantage of the cutting edge systems of the day, namely, Autocad, Archicad and ARC+ . Unbelievably many architects still preferred hand drawn plans, even for projects as complex as Skyscrapers, right up until 1998!
Why are architects so reluctant to embrace new technology?  Is it, perhaps, that they consider themselves the link between the concrete, the logical and the tangible on one side and the artistic, the dreamy and the spiritual on the other?. Architects make dreams come true. An idea thats been developing over many years becomes something real, something people work in and live in. Learning about new software, however helpful it may be, is quite frankly low on the list of priorities.
Yet, Architects are bound by deadlines, budgets, clients and regulations. They need to save time to save money and that’s where we can help.
Polantis was created in 2008 and has 24,000 registered Architects and AEC professionals. We digitise products from leading manufacturers so our users can insert them directly in to their CAD drawings. We are across all CAD formats and we have dozens of clients including Armstrong, Villeroy and Boch and Saint-Gobain.
Polantis is leading a revolution in AEC design. Its similar to the one that transformed the world of engineering some 15 years ago. Engineers embraced the solution provided by Cadenas and made it an industry standard. The message to manufacturers was this «if you do not have ready-made format CAD objects that are exact reproductions of your products then we’ll work with someone who does.» The result? within few years, millions of engineers registered at Cadenas, enjoying millions of CAD objects for free, saving themselves thousands of man-years of useless work.
We want Architects to help us help them. We are pressuring AEC manufacturers to abandon paper catalogues in favour of ready made CAD objects that architects can insert directly in to their designs. It saves architects thousands of lost hours not to mention mountains of  paper. You can help us by registering at polantis.com and enjoy unlimited use of our service for free

Sep 28

In the following series of posts I’ll be reviewing the most efficient techniques to sell to and “sell through” architects.

Architect at work from "Catalogue modèle de l'architecte 1913" (Paris, France)

Architect at work from “Catalogue modèle de l’architecte 1913” (Paris, France)

Why sell to architects?

According to our estimations there are about 1.3 million active architects working in the building industry at any given time.  Worldwide. You can safely double that figure if you want to include interior architects, decorators, office space planners, booth builders and other design related professionals. Those are key actors holding a “few” dozen billion dollar market.

Architects are decision makers. They are specifiers of building related goods as doctors prescribe medicine. And while pharmaceutical companies understood the later long time ago, most of the building related manufacturers didn’t seem to quite “get it” about architects. Yet.

The main reason behind that lack of comprehension is probably due to a profound misunderstanding of the architect’s work and role as a “prescriber of goods”. Here are, briefly, some points to take under account:

  • Most architects don’t care much which chair or window they’ll prescribe within a similar budgetary limit or need. For example, if an architect gets to chose between a skylight window manufactured by company A and a similar product by company B (similar in general aspect, size and price) he or she will most likely choose arbitrarily the first one to “fall into their hands”. The reason for that is – time. The lack of – to be precise.
  • Most of today’s architects don’t keep a well referenced, well organized  materials and product library at their offices. They get your beautiful well designed glossy and heavy catalog by UPS or your country’s postal service and just stack it somewhere in the darkest corner of their practice. The reason for that is, well, time.
  • Most of today’s catalogs made by manufactures don’t suit architects needs. Catalogs without measurements, catalogs in which the object is in a non-neutral context (ex: an armchair pictured in a hotel’s lobby) – The architect needs to do the mental exercise of  extracting the object off the current context and imagining it inside his own design… To cite two of the most common problems of paper catalogs.
  • 99% of today’s architects use at least one kind of CAD software. Making paper catalogs quite frustrating to them while making 3CT quite appealing.
  • Specifying is a mere small fraction in the work process of an architect. In fact, only big architectural firms have real dedicated specifying teams. Most architecture firms are 5-10 employees strong and specifying is left to the very end of the design process.
  • Most architects have few “fetish” objects they specify every time. As it’s very hard and sometimes even impossible for architects to keep up-to-date with all of the new products.

So how can you overcome all those points and how can you make sure you understand the relevant needs and related technology? In the upcoming posts, i will provide you with a complete overview, set of rules and guidance so you could start working and selling to architects in no time. Stay tuned.

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