We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Business Report

Rendering Possibilities

Snapshots of CAD software in action.


Software that can model how a product will be built or how a place will look enables designers to work more effectively. They can endlessly examine and tinker with richly detailed views of things and places that have not yet taken physical form. These visions constructed in the software will always represent potential: they won’t fade, get dented, or fall apart.

IWC Schaffhausen, a Swiss watchmaker, uses the SolidEdge CAD software from Siemens to design the intricate mechanics of its timepieces.


For a client in Las Vegas, Hines + Dibrova Studio in New York designed a restaurant that doubles as a nightclub, seen here in a digital rendering. Using software tools they developed, the designers modeled the lighting and other details of the restaurant, which has yet to be built.


Orange County Choppers, the company featured on TV’s American Chopper, designs and builds custom motorcycles, and it needs computer modeling to do it. This is a bike that was designed using SolidWorks software, from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks. The plans are refined in the software (inset) so that designers can determine how individual parts will need to be made.


Rendering software doesn’t have to be installed on the premises of a business; Autodesk runs a remote-rendering service it calls Project Neon. This image is a model that didn’t turn into an actual building, but it shows how the software can handle lighting, texture, and other details.


This rendering of an escalator made by Kone is another example showing how the placement and interaction of parts can be modeled in design software.


This image is taken from the architectural software that Oosterhuis_Lénárd, a Dutch firm, used to design a complex known as CET in Budapest, Hungary.

Next in this Business Report
Design as Business Strategy

In Business Impact this month, we are exploring good design–of products, services, and the entire customer experience. How has design become a competitive advantage for businesses? How does it help to foster innovation? We’ll explain where good designs come from and how technology is changing the way they are carried out.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.