In the competitive world of retail design, MMA Architects uses cutting-edge animation to hold the attention of industry Goliaths, including Walmart and CVS.
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From the outset, MMA worked to land deals with major retailers, and its efforts eventually earned it partnerships with the likes of CVS and Walmart. The firm has since completed more than 900 CVS stores.
It’s MMA’s out-of-the-box thinking and particularly its in-house animation studio, Studio B, that give the firm an advantage over the competition. The department is able to transform what Massa calls “typical romantic renderings” into rapidly produced, state-of-the-art, realistic images and animation. “We’re like Pixar in here,” he says. “We actually make movies with our animation capabilities, which include music, sound effects, and after effects.”
The company’s senior designer and senior project manager, Andrew Dorin, cites 10–15 different software components, featuring REVIT (building information modeling software), that Studio B has integrated for compatibility, its ultimate goal being to enhance and streamline the design process. REVIT, which works in conjunction with two-dimensional CAD software, creates a model that can essentially be sliced and photographed from different points of view. MMA’s process involves bringing a set of construction documents to life through renderings, high-definition animation, 2-D drawings, 3-D imagery, and other media. All the elements are created from the same data, so when that data is updated, the project is updated universally, Dorin says. The instantaneousness of the process reduces the likelihood of errors and omissions later on in a project. “The technology really helps in communicating ideas quickly to everyone, including people who don’t have a trained eye,” Massa says, emphasizing his firm’s efforts to involve an entire community in a project’s design whenever possible.
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