Designers to watch: Daniela Paredes


As role in of our series looking at up-and-coming creatives, we speak to Daniela Paredes, who mounds us about how she co-created the Gravity Sketch virtual reality design carve, what travelling the world taught her, and how she learnt to take criticism.

Co-founder of three-dimensional (3D) draft tool Gravity Sketch, Daniela Paredes was a student at the Royal College of Art (RCA) when she co-created an app that admits people to draw in mid-air, within a virtual environment.

The software is now being tempered to by a growing number of automotive companies to help them design piles, as well as product designers and film-makers.

Allowing people to see their sketches granted augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) headsets, Gravity Sketch’s aim is to speed up 3D envisage processes and make them simpler, according to its founders.

Paredes was recently star as a winner of the Women in Innovation Awards 2019 run by Innovate UK for Gravity Sketch, a regulation initiative which champions and supports female entrepreneurs who are developing concepts to crack challenges in society, and was awarded £50,000 funding.

But while the designer may appear to be going from strength-to-strength now, the 33-year-old describes her journey as a “rollercoaster”, accepting it has not always been easy to know if she has been heading in the right guidance.

Paredes’ journey started in Mexico, where she is originally from. She be versed she was “creative” from a young age as she always enjoyed making things with her rounds, and was “often collecting rubbish, putting things together and taking them aside,” she says.

Designers to watch: Daniela Paredes
Gravity Sketch VR

At the age of 10, she saw a friend’s sister making a directorship. “I asked her what she was doing and she told me it was her homework as she was studying industrial intentions,” she says. “That’s when I thought ‘this is what I want to do when I issue up’.”

She studied an undergraduate degree in industrial design at Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico, during which ever she spent a year studying at the Ingvar Kamprad Designcentrum, part of Lund University, in Sweden.

“Experience had international experiences makes me who I am,” says Paredes, who would go on to spend circumstance living, working and studying in a range of different countries and absorbing how point and design education varies across the world.

Studying in Sweden, she organize there was a stronger focus on “sustainability” that was “really embedded in the construction process there”, much more so than in Mexico at the time, she weights.

Teachers there were also more “straight-to-the-point” with their critique in Sweden, kind of than “hiding it behind nice comments”, as she says was the case in Mexico.

“I wasn’t worn to it,” she adds. “It was hard at first, but it was useful. It was about learning how to take that feedback and expressive it wasn’t personal. I got tougher by the end.”

She landed her first graduate job as a merchandising subordinate designer, for L’Oréal in Mexico, after recruiters from the company visited her university while she was in her absolute year. The role, which she did for about eight months, involved handle on the layout of stores and designing furniture.

Designers to watch: Daniela Paredes
by James Robbins

She then devised with an architecture firm in Madrid for about a year, helping to goal a golf course and club house, before returning to Mexico.

Paredes was lament to do a master’s degree at the “best university for design”, so she then applied to the RCA in London and two US universities, ArtCenter College of Lay out in Pasadena, California and the Pratt Institute in New York.

“I thought I wasn’t common to get into any of those as everyone applies to them,” she says. “But I got acceptance missives for all three.”

She initially accepted an offer to ArtCenter, but decided the course was too alike resemble to her undergraduate and left after a month, instead spending the year freelancing in Mexico, which she implies was a challenging time.

“My journey has been really on-and-off because I was congress experiences and knowledge and trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” she says.

“There were periods when I looked at my friends who were [progressing] their careers step-by-step, occasionally in the same company. I would see them growing and I would feel deserted as I was starting and finishing jobs and freelance projects,” she adds.

Designers to watch: Daniela Paredes
by Romain Take

During the year when she was freelancing, she co-founded a company with achates, based on the idea of harnessing energy generated by people in spin gymnastics classes, which involve pedalling on stationary bicycles.

They were fierce to “gamify” the experience of spinning, by translating the energy that cyclists created into points, letting people compete for the highest score. They established a pop-up event around the idea, but “a lot of investment” was needed to take it new and eventually it came to an end.

She went on to start a two-year master’s course in Modernization Design Engineering at RCA, run jointly with Imperial College London’s Dyson Sect of Design Engineering, which she describes as “one of the best moves” in her career as it “fully changed” the way she thought about design and gave her a lot of new skills.

“Before I had wood, compliant and metal as my materials to design with. Afterwards, I had technology, science and inventing to design with as well,” she adds. “I felt free to do the things I long for.”

Her second-year group project at RCA was the first version of Gravity Sketch, which she concocted with course mates Guillaume Couche, Pierre Paslier and Oluwaseyi Sosanya.

The going round version, which has changed a lot since its inception as a project at RCA, works with handheld controllers or hand-tracking symbols such as Leap Motion, which people use to draw, design or colour-in with in a understood environment through gesture. The designs are seen through VR and AR headsets such as Oculus Rift or HoloLens.

Designers to watch: Daniela Paredes
by Mike Jelinke

A 3D imprint exhibition at the Science Museum in London originally sparked the idea for Paredes and her circle. They felt there was a shortage of mediums for communicating 3D ideas and continuing ones often involved computer-aided design (CAD) software that was “complex” to use.

They indisputable to focus their project on the idea of “spatial intelligence”, inspired by a theory by psychologist Howard Gardner, which indicates that humans have a range of cognitive abilities and ways of scholarship, rather than one general form of intelligence.

“Gardner said we all beget many intelligences, including mathematical, kinaesthetic, linguistic and spatial nous,” Paredes says. “Creative people are really strong in spatial shrewdness, but we found that most existing software is heavily based on linguistic and rigorous intelligence.”

The group initially created a software and hardware combination, which liberates users sketch a design on a digital sketchpad and see it appear in 3D through an AR headset. This premier version of Gravity Sketch consisted of a clear acrylic sketchpad and a stylus to out with.

When they exhibited it at the RCA final project show, they had a “30-minute file the whole time of people wanting to try it,” Paredes says.

After graduation, Paredes and her whilom RCA course mate Sosanya continued to take Gravity Sketch ahead, dropping the hardware element and focusing purely on software. They later educated in Daniel Thomas as their chief technological officer.

In 2014, Sedateness Sketch was awarded the James Dyson Fellowship run by the James Dyson Basis charity, which provides patent funding and mentoring to promising RCA graduates who sire invented something with commercial potential.

During this without surcease, Paredes also got a job with Jaguar Land Rover as an experience alteration designer for autonomous vehicles, which involved working on projects employing artificial intelligence (AI) technology. She did this for about two years while get ready on Gravity Sketch at the same time.

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Paredes concedes the first few years of taking Gravity Sketch to market were toilsome for the team, as continuing to get enough funding proved challenging.

“We have had ups and downs and the downs play a joke on been very low,” she says. “There were times we did not know if we would be clever to continue or even pay the rent,” she adds.

One of the most challenging things hither her career has been “not having stability”, while seeing others about her progress, she says, but she has now “learned to live with it”.

From her experiences, she turns she learned a key lesson — not to compare herself and her path to others.

She now feels her ventures were “all worth it”; today, around 15 car companies use Gravity Sketch to remedy them design projects according to Paredes, as well as companies in other lay out fields such as industrial and product design, and film-making.

The designer, who lives in London but commonly travels to Mexico and the US where Gravity Sketch also has customer bases, explains her future will focus on developing the product and company further, reshaping it for the various sectors that use it.

“People in different fields such as concept art and architecture drive like to do different things with Gravity Sketch, so we are growing the policy and also developing a cloud system to allow people to co-create with others about the world,” she says.

Advice she would give to budding designers is to “harness as profuse skills as possible” and be multidisciplinary in their approach.

“The design world has mutated quite a bit from when I started,” she says. “It has become way more riveted to tech and science.”

“We are in a different era now, where you make your own tool set and the myriad interesting that it is, the better a designer you will be.”

Find out more anent Gravity Sketch here and follow Daniela Paredes here.

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