Gintare Sidaraviciute is an award-winning Interior Architectural Designer / 3D Visualizer with a recent First Class Degree Honours from Southampton Solent University. With a wealth of international experience in interior design, 3D rendering, plus scooping up a raft of awards, Gintare has now focused her talents on the 3D visualization market. I spoke with her about her about winning accolades, having afternoon tea in the House of Lords, and how she turned her passion into a career.
Hi Gintare! First things first, You have the coolest name in the world. Now we have that out of the way, can you introduce yourself/your team to the SketchUp community?
Haha, thank you! It's not the easiest spelling and pronunciation! I'm an Interior Designer / 3D visualizer. I graduated with first class degree honours from Southampton Solent University in 2016. In the Final Year Show Exhibition 2016 (which was held by my university SSU to exhibit all students' final works from design courses) I received The SBID (The Society of British and International Design) Award for my final year project – Durdle Door Resort in the category of sustainable innovation and interior design. My project was awarded as the best out of 62 universities across England. In November 2016 I was invited to attend afternoon tea in House of Lords, London where I received my award. A year after that I was nominated and announced winner as NAS (National Association of Shopfitters and Interior Contractors) Young Designer of the Year 2017.
I worked as freelancer and did internships and I found that companies were actually more interested in my visualisation skills and that is where the whole idea was born to set up my own 3D Visualisation business. It was a bit scary to take the first step but I did that and never looked back and it was the greatest thing I ever did. I now have some amazing clients (internationally and home) and I get to create absolutely amazing projects. I have some really fascinating projects that I am working at the moment. I can't wait to share them all with you!
How did you get going with SketchUp and why SketchUp?
I was introduced to SketchUp in my first year of university and I was instantly hooked. Even though it was my very first time using Sketchup, I found it so easy and user-friendly. I remember going home after lectures and spending my evenings trying to learn more. My first project was quite simple but when I was creating my second project I had so many questions to lecturers that (funnily enough) even they didn't have all the answers for. Of course, all the problems that I had back then now seem so silly and easy. However, I did get a 1st on my second project which was so encouraging and it inspired me to go even further with my SketchUp learning. Now, after 5 years of using Sketchup I have learned so much and still love working with it.
You won the SBID (The Society of British and International Design) for your final year project – Congrats! What doors did that open up for you?
Thank you! Winning The SBID award was an absolutely amazing experience. I worked really hard on my final year project and I was really honoured to receive the award. But I would be lying if I said that it opened a lot of doors to the interior design industry. I had to work as hard as anybody else in my interviews and jobs. The great thing about it was that I got some good contacts and had the opportunity to attend some helpful networking events where I met many brilliant interior designers.
What does your typical design workflow look like?
Every week is different and every day comes with new challenges. I have weeks where I work on multiple projects at once and I have weeks where I work on one project. Having clients from Australia to USA and working with different time zones can make my work day up to 16 – 18 hours, but the time flies because I do what I love.
Is there a piece of work you're most proud of - or one that was most challenging/interesting?
Every project that I do I feel more and more confident with my SketchUp skills. And my last project always feels like the best work but then the next comes and I feel like I improved even more. I think my proudest pieces are still to come which makes everything so exciting.
What's the one functionality you're glad SketchUp has?
Components and groups. I just don't know how I would live without them it makes my workflow so much smoother.
Definitely. That would be my #1 rule if you're going to use something more than once in a model, make a Component of it! What about keyboard shortcuts any you can't live without?
The great thing about SketchUp is that I can make shortcuts myself and I did to quite a few of them. However, my most used are C (circle), L (line), R (rectangle), S (resize) and Ctlr+F (follow me).Are there any essential plugins that you use?
V-Ray is my number one plugin. But there are quite a few other plugins that I often use and could not live without Round Corner, Curviloft, Artisan, ThruPaint, Soap Skin and Bubble are all in frequent rotation.
Finally, If you weren't doing what you do for a living now, what would you be doing instead?
Before starting in the interior design industry, I loved taking photos. I was part of a Photography Club and loved every minute of it. All of us were going on trips and making amazing photos. A few of my photos were even exhibited in a Café. It was a proud moment. But if not interior design I would definitely still be doing something creative. Maybe I would be a travel blogger – I even thought about being a hairdresser. But all those hobbies (as I refer to them now) have eventually faded away once I started in the Interior Design Industry. I have so much passion for what I do now – it's so much stronger than any of my other hobbies. I read a quote once saying, 'It's a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together' and I feel exceptionally lucky to get to spend all my time doing what I love.