As interior designers we have seen the industry change to continually evolve with technology. While AutoCAD is still the norm for technical drawing we are starting to see the tides turn to even faster technology apps and software to display the creative vision to clients. Sketchup and Revit have quickened the creator’s experience over more technical programs like AutoCAD for designers and are a breath of fresh air. But the tech evolution has another wave ready for us in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). So here we step you through what’s coming.
Most people have seen virtual reality (VR) by now. The headsets that transport us into another world – mostly associated with kids and various video games. While the technology is getting simpler, the software development skills required keep it out of reach for your average design business.
Augmented reality (AR) however, is simpler tech which allows you to use your phone or ipad to overlay virtual elements on top of the current physical world. For example, you can take a picture of your living room and bring in different chairs to see what looks best. A great example of this is Ikea’s new printed catalogues which you can place on the floor and through your phone see the products in the space. All in the correct dimensions and scale.
Mixed reality (MR) is an extension from this but uses 360 degrees. Again new pieces can be added but existing pieces cannot be removed and as such it is better technology for empty rooms, new builds or smaller design alterations.
This is all very exciting for interior designers as now the client apprehension around what the space will actually look and feel like can be minimised or even abolished completely. No more wondering how big the couch actually is or if the bold colour scheme will blend well. Clients can see the creative vision in reality before you hit the go button!
But does it mean more people will use these product catalogues and not need a designer? And does it mean new online decoration businesses can offer design services from anywhere in the world via virtual software? We will have to wait and see! For now, there are always people who are not creative, find shopping overwhelming and wouldn’t even know where to start or how to manage a design project. As with anything in life, if you wanting your end product to be finished to an expert standard, there is no better solution than to hire an expert for the job!
Image from Ikea
So what does this mean for our community of Interior Designers? Well, I would definitely be watching for apps and software as they are released. Early adopters can roll up their sleeves and start to teach themselves how to create such a platform.
We suggest exploring this topic more to find out the latest ideas and videos in this area. Check out ‘Ikea furniture placement’ and ‘Stambol bringing furniture to life’ as a few places to start.