2015-07 / Interview of Sébastien Lucas about Openbricks.io

Bricks is an online app to reuse easily visual bricks of architecture projects & collaborate with your team and the community.

We are based in Paris, France, and we want to revolutionize the way we design architecture projects! Thanks to your help we can drive architecture practice collaborative, following the path of web developers and many other professionals!

Sébastien Lucas
Sébastien Lucas

Bricks is a web app for architects to collect & organize your visual inspirations easily and collaborate with other architects.

With bricks you can share and reuse elements of projects.

Bricks allows you :

  • to design faster starting from a project brick
  • concentrate on the originality of your project
  • share your experience with the community

The origin of the project

Sébastien Lucas talks about the origin of the project.

What is the problem you have faced ?

"As an architect in Paris, I have always been looking for ways to improve collaboration and productivity.

But in the company where I had the opportunity to work, I was feeling that people were losing too much time doing what others had already done, without any collaborative tool to share our experience on the projects we were working on.

The architect’s tools

Which elements you would have liked to share ?

"Architects often get inspirations from a lot of projects, whether they have been designed by themselves or by other architects, or even from the traditional building culture.

That does not mean they are copying other architecture, but generally we prefer a starter to design faster, to communicate more easily with our team and the client, and to facilitate the imagination.

Indeed a realisation with stunning photos is much more convincing than a sketch !"

The architect office of Norman Foster
The office of Foster Architect

Do you know good example of successful collaboration in other domains ?

"I am also the founder of Archiref, a collaborative platform for architects, that helps architecture professionals to find and share visual inspirations for their projects.

When developing Archiref and Bricks, I have used lots of awesome open source software bricks, that worldwide developers have built thanks to online collaboration.

Developers often work on open source projects for their pleasure and share them on platforms like github. But they are also rewarded by a sincere recognition from the community.

I often wondered why architects and creative professionals are less familiar with collaboration than developers.

I felt that it was not a fatality and could be changed if new apps or platforms allowed collaborative design to become a reality."

Github is the collaborative platform of worldwide developers
Github is a colaborative platform for developers

So what is your proposal to improve collaboration among architects?

“So I have imagined Bricks, a web app that allows you to share design ideas and inspirations easily and could play an equivalent role for architects than github is currently playing for developers.”

Bricks is designed to make it easy for you to organize and share your visual inspirations and design new projects starting from reusable Bricks of project shared by the community!"

What is Bricks for?

Bricks allow to share visual bricks of archietcture projects

Bricks is a web app to collect, organize and reuse visual elements of projects and collaborate with your team and the community.

Bricks allow you to identify reusable elements of projects on images you can pick everywhere on the web, from your hard drive, from online services like google drive or from your own projects…

What is a Brick?

A bricks is a reusable element of project

A brick is a reusable element of a project like a stair, a roof type, a facade…

Anything you can split to reuse in a future project. Practically a brick is an annotated image of the element you want to reuse. The image is where the inspiration starts, but you can put on a brick all the information you need to be able to reuse this element and describe how to do it.

On a brick :

  • you can discuss with your team
  • attach related files like 3D model, pdf catalogues
  • see in which project it has been used
  • see who favorited it or has used it on a project
  • identify which products the project uses

If you create an account and connect to Bricks, you would see the current screen when you click on a brick

A list of bricks
A list of brick

A single brick
A bricks in www.openbricks.io

This is the simple Brick as we have set up the most important elements first, so that you can use Bricks as soon as possible

You can then fill :

  • a title
  • an image
  • a comment feed (using DISQUS service)
  • a description

We plan to enhance what a brick is, thanks to the present crowdfunding !

So here is a sketch of what we want a brick to be:

A mockup of what a brick will be in the next version
A mockup of what a brick will be in the next version

What do you think about it?
Please tell us what you feel is lacking, or not so useful…
You can really help us!

Collect inspirations from everywhere

Bricks allows you to collect inspirations images easily :

  • from your hard drive
  • from the web page
  • from web services like Facebook, Instagram, Google Drive, Dropbox…

Collect easily image from the web

Thanks to your help, we want to build an integrated image library, that will allow you to search in one place in lots of stunning architecture sources, like architecture platforms (architizer, archilovers, archiref, dezeen…), tumblr blogs, flickr groups, pinterest…

This will allow you to find inspirations more rapidly and add them in a click to your bricks online library.

Which sources you would like us to integrate in this library ?
We are open to your suggestions ! Use the comment section to give us your opinion.

Organize your inspirations efficiently

The problem with inspiration, is not to have some, there are plenty of it ! Too much actually to look at all. But how to organize them to find them later, in a truly efficient way ?

The problem with Pinterest for example, is that for architects and creative professionals like us, it doesn’t have the project level ! I can collect stairs all the day, but which stair I would like to use in which project, this is important ! Isn’t it ?

Bricks organisation

In Bricks, you can work with your inspirations on a project per project basis.

In a project, you can organize your images on layers. Layers can help you to group all the elements you need to work on during the project life, for example stairs, roofs…

Layers in Bricks

Layers are global, so you will find them in your shared library. And you will be able to get inspired from others projects developed by your team.

You can even define bricks relationships, that is for example a step in a stair, or a window in a facade. To do that, you have just to select the sub-element or sub-brick you want to get directly on the image. The relationship is saved, so you can navigate in the projects elements from one brick to another.

You can define sub element inside an image and we store bricks relationship to be able to display you the hierarchy of elements

Workflow & Benefits

While working on your project, you are building a collaborative bricks library you can share easily with who you want.

Bricks helps you to design faster, to concentrate on the originality of your project, and to contribute to a shared knowledge base on which to start new projects.

At the same time when you are working on a specific project, you will also have access to a personal images library, where you can find all the images you have used in your projects and filter them by tags, usage…

This allows you to have a bird’s eye view of the work of all your team and reuse past inspirations in new projects.

You can set your projects sharing the same way as in google drive :

  • private
  • shared to a specific group of people
  • public and index by search engines

If you share your “bricks of projects” publicly, you will allow people to build new design on past ideas, which has always been the way creative people have been working.

Let us change architecture together

We need your support to change the way architects design projects by leveraging collaboration and share culture.

If lot of architects start to collaborate, architecture can become really collaborative. We can start to design faster, and concentrate on our own originality to go further in our art while reinforcing the community !

The Architects community at latest Future Architecture Night we have organized in May 2015 in Paris
The Architects community at latest Future Architecture Night we have organized in May 2015 in Paris