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From a Spinal Injury to an Independent Design Professional with Lumion

Despite tetraplegia, and use of only one arm, Lumion user Manakit Thawlom is making strides in the professional design world with his renders of modern Thai structures.

While the architecture profession has progressed to be more inclusive and diverse, there are still many barriers to standard CAD software that limit professional opportunities for some people with disabilities.

With the rise of new computer technologies and intuitive 3D architecture software like Lumion, designer Manakit Thawlom is breaking through and helping change that narrative.

One of Manakit’s favorite projects was the stylish DeChiang in Chiang Mai. Rendered in Lumion 8.

Born in Thailand to a family of four, Manakit (also known online as Eakira) was in a car accident in 1996 and suffered a C4 spinal cord injury where he lost the ability to move three of his four limbs. With the love and support of his family and friends, as well as years of physical therapy, Manakit is now producing rendered images and videos with SketchUp and Lumion, showcasing the beauty of modern Thai design while getting a little creative with his personal projects.

“Lumion is really great for disabled users,” said Manakit. “For instance, people with tetraplegia cannot use the mouse like a normal user, and we can’t press multiple buttons simultaneously. [Lumion’s] user interface is easy to use, especially when using a pen mouse and head mouse (I often use the head mouse).”

In this blog post, we sit down with Manakit to discuss his story and how he’s overcoming the obstacles presented by his injury while creating spectacular renders in Lumion.

Overcoming injury through architecture and design

When a car accident in 1996 severely injured his C4 spine and spinal cord, Manakit found himself paralyzed and unable to use both his legs and an arm. Bedridden and faced with a new, very different life, his family gave him the love and support he needed and he was motivated to learn new skills and adapt to the challenges he faced.

Manakit, middle, with his mother and little sister.

Over this period, his passion for learning new things never waned. With a donated computer and a Windows 3.1 operating system, he dived into various software such as MS Word, Adobe Photoshop 5.0, Vegas Pro 9 and Joomla. As he continued building up his skills, Manakit started to work by editing pre-wedding photos.