The interactive studio is adding dimension to architectural rendering

Frank Woll / FWD3D Design contact info panelLike the buildings and boats that architects design, the way they share their design renderings with clients is constantly evolving.

Frank Woll has remained at the forefront of technological innovation since he began offering industrial design services in 1994 as Frank Woll Design. Recently, the company updated its name to FWD3D to reflect the latest advances. It has also been increasing its focus on projects here in the Puget Sound region.

“Our long-term immersion in technology as well as our decades working on complex projects allows us to produce, design and visualize in a unique way,” Woll told Seattle Arts & Architecture.

FWD3D is an interactive design studio for architects, real estate developers, yacht builders, and product manufacturers. The company has used drones for HD video and photography to capture landscape imagery that is then integrated in 3D renderings for commercial real estate projects. It also has several in-house 3D printers to provide rapid prototyping and modeling for client presentations.

A boon for real estate sales

The company’s latest endeavor is to combine Woll’s 3D design skills with virtual reality (VR) software to develop virtual walkthroughs that assist architects with project planning and design.

“The VR capability is really useful for commercial real estate developers who want to start pre-selling or pre-leasing even before ground is broken on the full-sized model unit,” Woll said.

The company’s design work covers a wide range of real estate projects, from townhouses to single-family residences to industrial projects like the SODO Honda/Toyota dealership.
In the early days of the company, Woll’s love of “blue water cruising” across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans was complemented by his expertise in boatbuilding and design. Advancing technology now let him provide yacht designers with 3D visualizations for presentations, whether the project was a small family sailboat or Paul Allen’s “superyacht.”

Taking direction from Francis Coppola

guest_houseOne memorable project was redesigning the Niebaum-Coppola Winery’s main house, which belongs to Francis Ford Coppola and his family. Among the changes was moving and widening the main stairway to improve traffic flow through the building, which is heavily used for events and visiting VIPs. While Woll would spend a week at a time on site, he would be treated to Francis’ Italian cooking and fine wines.

“During one meal,” Woll said, “Francis shared an interesting tidbit about the opening scene of Apocalypse Now, in which helicopters are firebombing a palm forest. He said the editor didn’t think the helicopter footage fit anywhere. Luckily, Francis found the footage in the garbage can and decided to overlay it with scenes of Martin Sheen and score it with The Doors’ ‘The End.’ That scene is now one of the most legendary opening scenes in cinematic history.”

Moving forward in three dimensions

Mike Bratter, who joined the company last year, has helped rebrand the studio as FWD3D and give its website better emphasis on the company’s capabilities.

“We’re now working to clarify that is more than an industrial design studio offering architectural and technical design services,” he said. “We are also a marketing arm for real estate professionals, capable of integrating and promoting leading-edge technologies in their work.”

Gish Project 2The company can also provide a distinct look and feel for real estate developments that the developer wants to distinguish from competing projects.

“Because of the building boom in the Seattle area it’s really important that each project is presented in the most compelling and innovative light,” Bratter said.

The company is currently working with Seattle architect John Gish on a high-profile mixed-use commercial project in Asia for a commercial real estate developer in the Philippines.

Whatever, and wherever, the project is built, for Frank Woll and FWD3D the mission is always “to leave a trail of satisfied clients we have helped save time and money while building better projects.”

For more information visit or call 206-427-8061

Photos: Top, Mike Bratter and Frank Woll; center, Paul Allen’s ‘superyachts’ MV Octopus and MV Tatoosh and the 3D rendering of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery’s main house; bottom, the design for the Gish mixed-use commercial project in the Philippines.