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Prototypes: Michigan State University

Why Do We Prototype?

The ability to prototype is a tool in our design toolbox that allows us to explore, convey, and resolve multiple aspects of design in a controlled environment instead of on-site where costs and time grow exponentially. 

It's also a form of universal communication between ourselves, clients, contractors, and consultants. 


Why Was It Built?

The prototype was built to better understand scale, material selection, and lighting. 

Actual Outcome?

After the signage prototype was installed on-site, the decision was made to change the color and scale of the signage to make it more legible. 



Why Was It Built?

The prototype was built to test materials and finishes at a 1:1 scale. 

Actual Outcome?

The prototype was used to get approval from the client. It was then used to inform the sub contractor doing the work and pricing. 


Why Was It Built?

Making the jump from 2D to 3D to better understand scale, material composition, and locker functionality. 

Actual Outcome?

The prototype helped our client get buy off from Coach Izzo and Mark Hollis. The prototypes also began to give ROSSETTI representation even when we were not physically there. It also became an artifact for the client to keep. 


Why Was It Built?

To help select finishes at a detail at an important intersection of multiple materials. 

Actual Outcome?

We were able to select and get the client to approve the materials that work the best together. and as a surprise exploration, the actual construction of the prototype helped us develop and detail the method of locking the glass shelves in place. 


1. Prototypes give us the power to make mistakes and fix them in a controlled environment before actual construction begins.

2. The discoveries made by prototyping have a ripple effect through multiple phases of the project. This allows us to have a greater control over the design intent and actual product. 

3. They can be simple and quick. The level of detail and accuracy can vary depending on what you are exploring.

4. Regardless of how many drawings, renderings, and virtual realities you produce, the tactile experience of something physcial is a universal language that is social and interactive. 

5. We have amazing tools and people at our disposal to create and explore. 

6. With the digital world we live in everyday, a physical object is something that brings us back to a human level. We become intimately engaged in the design of something by building the parts and pieces of it.