Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two of the most hyped technologies right now. Two Danish tech-companies explain how VR and AR can benefit design and architecture:
Technology is ever changing. It adapts to our needs and constantly evolves to suit market demands. In the past, some designers and architects have been reluctant to embrace new technologies, but today a growing number of creative souls look towards the tech industry for inspiration.
This is good news for the two Danish companies Kanda and Utopian City Scape. They both work with virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality is when you put a headset on and get the experience that you are in a digital room, building or world; whereas augmented reality uses the camera in your phone and puts digital objects on top of the reality you see through the screen so it seems like the objects are part of the world you are viewing.
Here are three ways that Kanda and Utopian City Scape use VR or AR to provide a better experience in design and architecture.
1. Trying expensive furniture in your own home
Utopian City Scape has developed an app for iPhone called Danish Design AR. The app was launched earlier this year and currently has been downloaded over 20000 times. Danish Design AR makes it possible to put designer furniture into your home so you can see how a chair, table or lamp will look in your living room next to your own furniture.
The CEO of Utopian City Scape, Jacob Østergaard, explains that the app is something they worked on for a long time.
“Danish Design AR is currently the world’s best augmented reality app for designer furniture. We have the largest collection of design icons and we are constantly developing the app even further. When using the app you almost believe you can put your hand through the screen and feel the textures of a digital chair’s fabric because it looks so real,” Jacob Østergaard says.
In the app, you can choose between different colours and versions of the furniture. In this way, the app can help insure that you choose the right piece of furniture that suits your home perfectly.
Next year the app Danish Design AR will be rebranded as Scandinavian Design AR. The goal is for the app to be used all over the world.
2. Experiencing a product the way it is meant to be
Few design companies can afford a massive showroom in the heart of Paris, London or Copenhagen because square metres in such locations are costly to buy or rent. This is also the case at design fairs where a stand can be costly so most companies only rent a small amount of space to display their products in. However, not all products look right in small displays.
It was for this reason that Kanda made a virtual reality product display for the Danish lamp manufacturer Nordlux. The VR set-up was used at a Chinese design fair where Nordlux wanted to showcase their lamps in a real Scandinavian living room. The CEO of Kanda, Kristian Emil Andreasen, tells how it was a good exercise
“Virtual reality is easy to work with logistically because it doesn’t require much space to begin with. After we had made the VR experience for Nordlux, we received good feedback because it allowed costumers to experience the lamps in a suitable environment. However, Nordlux chose not to continue the collaboration,” Kristian Emil Andreasen says.
Nordlux also had the lamps in psychical form at the design fair. That way, costumers could experience the lamps in the flesh as well as in a digital room. Kristian Emil Andreasen hopes that other design companies will try a similar solution in the future.
3. Taking a walk in a building not yet built
Large-scale architecture projects can be hard to fathom for regular people. And, it is even harder to grasp the architectural design when the building has not yet been built. A rendering helps in this aspect but sometimes even this is just not enough to understand the architectural vision.
Consequently, Utopian City Scape have tried to create a virtual experience for buildings, where you can take a walk around a place. Initially focusing on the BLOX building in Copenhagen, they made a virtual model of the building, which allowed interested parties to take a virtual walk around the building using a virtual reality headset in order to experience the building before it had even started to be built.
CEO Jacob Østergaard believes that this kind of visualization will be a prominent feature in many future architectural projects.
“For many years, BIM has been the only 3D visualization used in architecture. However, I don’t think BIM models work very well as a visualizing tool. BIM is great for counting windows and bricks and for holding a lot of information about the structure, but we need to use VR and AR to really experience how a piece of architecture is going to look and feel. Because virtual and augmented reality is all about the experience,” Jacob Østergaard says.