Monday, September 9, 2013

Interview: Linette Kilbourn, Interior Designer using Revit


We recently chatted with interior designer Linette Kilbourn about Revit / BIM and how she uses Revit for her designs. She also gave advice for contract furniture manufacturers who are looking to offer their products in Revit.   

Linette has over 20 years experience in corporate interior design and has worked for top design firms including HOK, RHK Design, and Gensler.

How do you see Revit/BIM benefiting Interior Designers in A+D firms as a tool and a process?
Personally, I feel that the benefit for interior designers is even more than for architects.  First, we can immediately see the space in 3D, even right after the plan is drawn.  Secondly, we can import pre-created Revit families that substantially speeds up the design process.  And in addition, we can use the BIM feature to verify quantities in the CD phase. 
On a technical level, what challenges are you confronted with, as designer, if you don't have Revit/BIM symbols for your Revit projects?

Accurate Revit families are extremely important to ensure that the actual furniture can fit in the space well.  This is so important when laying out systems furniture.  If we do not have the Revit symbols from the manufacturer, we have to create them ourselves, which can cost us hours of lost time.

There is a reason why clients continually see the same furniture over and over again in every Revit rendering or wireframe.  There are thousands of Revit families of furniture out there, but they are very difficult to find and tedious to download.  

What sorts of things are designers at A+D firms doing if they don't have the appropriate Revit/BIM symbols for their projects?
We use whatever manufacturers product that is most similar.   Then if the client sees it in the 3D, they may prefer to use the other product.  This is not the ideal situation for designers, as we want them to love the furniture we have selected!
Where are designers in A+D firms going to find their Revit symbols?
Best if easily obtained on the internet, rather than a CD.  In general, most of our work is done on a PC, so apps are not that useful at this time.
How has the emergence of Revit/BIM changed the relationship between the contract furniture dealer and designer in A+D firms?
The problem we are running into is that most furniture dealerships are still using AutoCAD, or worse, their own proprietary programs.  This creates a huge problem when incorporating their data into our Revit files.  Often it is imported, and then becomes very cumbersome to change when the interior architecture changes.   In addition, the BIM properties are lost, so quantities cannot be checked by the designers.

A popular question that I get from manufacturers: at what phases in a design project are Revit symbols from contract furniture manufacturers used?
I use Revit from the very beginning of a project, therefore it is extremely important that I have access to the Revit families at this stage.  
What are some positive ways that you've seen contract furniture manufacturers embrace Revit/BIM?

These days, designers are more likely to select furniture from the internet, rather than the office library.   The best websites have the option to download furniture symbols while browsing each item. 
Any final thoughts or advice that you would like to share with the contract furniture industry about Revit/BIM?
Almost all firms are now standardized on Revit or are planning to in the future.  The best way to ensure your product will be used in projects is to provide easy access to the Revit families, so the product can be displayed accurately from the very beginning of the design stage.

Linette Kilbourn is Managing Director at KDR with over 20 years experience in corporate interior design.  She has most recently worked as a Designer at HOK, Managing Director at RHK Design in their Shanghai office,  and as a Senior Designer at Gensler.


  1. Nice post, very useful blogs with very useful information, thank you for sharing this post. To know more visit interior designers in mumbai