EVERY brick oven project I've done started as a concept. There might have been a central desire for a brick oven as a decorative cooking device OR the desire for a connection to past traditions. OR both.
I use CAD programs because they help me calculate measurements, but I prefer a pencil and paper or a collection of photos from which to reference details.
Concepts are important tools for planning. They frame the visual and practical aspects of the brick oven. As with my work as a landscape designer (northstarstoneworks.com), I listen to the future oven owner for clues that will give me a starting point for sketching their project. These clues come in the form of experiences they've had with brick ovens or cultures where brick ovens are commonplace and also the home that they live that they presumably like.
Splicing a place with a person (or persons) leads to some interesting translations of traditional brick oven forms. Suggested materials may influence the design and location effects the practical side of the design.
At this point, I mention all the best ideas I have, even ones which may be considered in 'left field'. My goal is to present the client with a project that exceeds their own imagining but with their unique situation included.
Once the concept is clarified, the construction can begin. The concept will remain, be rechecked, and applied to changes, improvements, and the final product.
More posts to follow on this subject.