Many of his designs are just fantastic, though some of the stuff he's been asked to make is fairly hideous. All of it, however, is inspiring of various and sundry thoughts on bridge and console design. Unmanned and with no action afoot, one can stop and appreciate (or critique) the form and function of various designs.
For one, it's remarkable that, other than the Enterprise-D's little areas beside the XO and third center chair, the Excelsior with its Captain's Knee-Breaker and the tables in the rear of the Enterprise NX-01 and Defiant are the only bridges that seem to have any flat surface available. To be sure, this can keep the bridge neat and tidy, but my mind keeps returning to Rand bringing Kirk and crew some phasered coffee and man, where the hell can they put it? There's not cupholder one on these things, which is interesting from a design philosophy perspective.
One thing that his work has really brought out in me is a very strong set of opinions regarding what I like and hate regarding bridges and consoles.
For instance, the TNG console style as seen with the helm, ops, transporter room console, et cetera, is approximately my favorite thing ever, despite the seeming volumetric inefficiency. I mean, you just know they probably don't need anything more than a tablet/PADD-esque flat panel for the controls, yet we have this oddly awesome thing.
I like it so much it even overwhelms my loathing of the "helm pit" design that we first saw with the Prometheus in Voyager. Yes, having the helmsman's head in the way is bound to be annoying from the center seat, but that design bugs the crap out of me anyway . . . except for the one time it is done to absolute perfection on his USS Buenos Aires, using TNG-approved components:
(Also, Federation OSHA needs to come down hard on steps generally, and especially random single-steps in random spots that seem designed to produce a trip hazard. Again, this is a canon issue that he's faithfully replicating, not a Tadeo problem.
If Admiral Jameson and his chair cannot maneuver on your bridge, you're doing something wrong.)
It really takes one back to try to imagine how TNG would've worked with a massive bridge like this. Some hate the design, and while I prefer an alternate variant of it myself (the curve-rail upper level one with blue highlights seen here: https://forgottentrek.com/designing-the-next-generation-bridge/ ), I enjoy the general concept even as I both question and applaud the utility of different elements.
At the core, to me, the bridge of a ship represents not only the basics of command and maneuvering but also the information hub of the ship. Each bridge officer, in my mind, serves as the leader of a department of assisting crew, directing their efforts per the vessel commander's orders and needs while serving as liaison and filter for information the vessel commander requires.
Consider the helm of the NX-01 versus the helm and navigation stations of the Constitution Class and the roles involved. Yes, the Constitution helm was also the weapons station, so there's some distinction of roles there (and how odd, really, that the Constitution would not have a dedicated tactical officer while the NX (and Constitution refit and even Galaxy, of all ships) did, but that's a whole other discussion).
Is it plausible that all astrogation was simply and easily performed by one crewman whereas two were later needed? Surely Travis had an offscreen team assisting with the complex navigation calculations Chekov spoke of updating while busy doing the stick-and-rudder work. And while I imagine Data and LCARS make a killer combination, it seems implausible that the standard crewman at Ops wouldn't have an offscreen team of folks providing pertinent info.
I note all that merely to say that a massive bridge rather helps paint that picture, even if it's all background extras . . . though of course, from a real-world perspective, that's exactly why a smaller bridge is preferred.
All of that is also related to the notion of Worf and his station being something of a liaison between the aft stations and the captain, a concept that would've been extremely relevant on the larger bridge set but which seems almost odd on one as 'small' as the actual TNG bridge.
Beyond that are the practical matters of sound. Why even have a massive number of stations way back in the back when, without extra technology, they almost certainly cannot hear the captain and vice versa, especially in the din of a crisis situation? And on the flipside, having a conference room table and chairs in the open air seems an invitation to chaos, be it from passers-by being able to participate or from sensitive discussions filtering out to the aft stations.
All that said, this is another concept that is visually captivating while also inspiring thoughts on the best way to design a command and control room.
The renders are very well done, but oh man is that design absolutely ridiculous.
Registered: Mar 1999
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There's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait
Member # 343
Defiant was the best bridge design fight me
-------------------- "I never agreed with Jefferson once—we have fought on like seventy-five different fronts. But when all is said & all is done...Jefferson HAS beliefs; Burr has none."
Registered: Jun 2000
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quote:Originally posted by TSN: The renders are very well done, but oh man is that design absolutely ridiculous.
How so? Sheer size, so someone at Science II in the back would have to run a marathon to get to the captain, falling half-dead en route and still have to shout really loud to be heard? Or maybe they could've had the XO up top tossing padds black and forth to the captain.
quote:Originally posted by Shik: Defiant was the best bridge design fight me
I think this argument could definitely be made, though there are things I would consider changing. For one, I'd wanna do something about having the pilot's head and even the upper part of the chair in my way of the smallish viewscreen all the time. Much as I don't like the chunky pit console of the MVAM Prometheus, it might apply here. I wouldn't want to move the pilot off-center, as I rather like the one-person-up-front layout on the more maneuverable ships. It seems less distracting.
Also, much as I like Odo's console on the Sao Defiant, I do lament the complete loss of the table . . . wish they'd just shortened it.
If I really had my druthers, the side stations would've been canted a bit forward so the user sat a bit more toward the viewscreen, their stations less visible from it. Just a few degrees . . . nothing so drastic as the TMP 1701 tactical station, or such a recessed pit as the Voyager engineering side station.
"How so? Sheer size, so someone at Science II in the back would have to run a marathon to get to the captain, falling half-dead en route and still have to shout really loud to be heard? Or maybe they could've had the XO up top tossing padds black and forth to the captain."
There's also the fact that it just looks like a hotel lobby or something. I mean, why do the forward stations have couches on the front of them?
Registered: Mar 1999
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Would've been great for that Enterprise-B launch, assorted mission specialists, dignitaries, admirals and their aides, et cetera, though I'd rather the stations be a little higher than the couches so there's no head-in-the-way issue.
Heck, the "Parallels" Enterprise with unkempt Riker could've had a guy sleeping on the bridge couch covered in newspapers for that real San Francisco charm.
As an aside, though, I've just realized one of the reasons that Voyager was always a little off. It wasn't just the lack of a center seat or the unique sounds for everything throwing off the feel (e.g. even the doorbell), but even the standard console shape first seen in TNG (e.g. conn, ops, and the transporter console) is, to my recollection, almost completely absent from the series save for its use on the Excelsior.
That's odd since even the newer Sao Defiant had one, and it was backported as far back as Captain Frasier's ship. Why the discard of a century-old standard on that one class, I wonder.
Of course, they did worse with the Enterprise-E and its upending of most TNG norms, even down to the almost Klingon-looking captain's chair.