It’s an exciting time to be alive! Driverless and flying cars, traversing distant cities within a few minutes, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, sensors the size of dust particles, package delivery by drones – technology that only seemed to take life in sci-fi movies are now very much real and within our grasp.
Technology is fast changing the way we live and work. And while the topic of how it’s doing so is a long and endless one, we’re narrowing the focus down to one industry in particular – Design & Construction ( Obviously 😉 )
Traditional tools and methods are being replaced by advanced technology designed to make the design process easier, smoother and to allow for greater creativity as well. While the design process is mostly a conceptual and software dominated one, the FF&E industry has enjoyed radical improvements that bridge the gap between the concept and manufacturing process.
As simply as possible, we’ve listed our favorites – the ones we truly believe are, or will be, game changers.
1) Augmented & Virtual Reality
Convincing a client to buy into a concept simply through visuals and rendering is no easy task. It’s hard for different people to share the same vision when they’re looking through different lenses. A giant leap ahead has risen in the form of augmented and virtual reality – technology that allows a greater depth to design, allowing users to better immerse themselves and visualize concepts and design better. While virtual reality is the more immersive experience, augmented reality provides a better context within a real-world setting.
Consumer grade tech is already available in the form of devices like Samsung VR and Oculus Rift. It also allows clients and designers to pinpoint exactly where and what they changed in the design. This in addition to the far greater potential to add detail and realism to a concept design, putting a lot of control in the hands of both designer and the end consumer.
A special mention here to a phenomenal tool by Google, call the Tilt Brush – technology that lets you paint in a space with a 3D brush.
2) 3D Printing Technology
It’s been in the news a lot, mostly for the increasingly complex products that have started to be produced thanks to improvements in the 3D printing process and materials used.
A major obstacle has been and still is, speed and price, however, those seem to be changing as well. The scale at which products can be fabricated has also been slowly increasing. There’s the added advantage of accuracy and reduction in wastage as well. But the greatest advantage to 3D printing technology, or additive manufacturing, is the complexity in shape and structure that’s possible, leading to limitless possibilities and applications.
Dubai seems to be leading the way, setting an example with the world’s first 3D printed office. Dutch Robotics firm MX3D plan to manufacture a steel bridge entirely through 3D printing, primarily as proof of concept. This would serve to provide inspiration to architects and engineers, to rethink what is possible through 3D printing.
3) Platforms – Social Media & Crowdsourcing
For the more hands-on user involved in smaller projects like apartments and start-up offices, these two tools have proven to be worth every second spent on them.
Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and our very own LoveThatDesign.com have made search and discovery phenomenally easy, with users able to find curated designs and products they can relate to. Freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Laurel & Wolf have made it easier for consumers and provides a lot of control in the context of cost and choice.
The advantage of digital platforms like these also help the design determine trends and demand in a somewhat real-time fashion, possible through the help of monitoring and analytics tools. Surveys helps understand popularity of products and designs, which designers and clients can use as basis for judgement.
4) Internet of Things
The Internet of Things or IoT, in short, is the new talk of the town. A world where everyday devices communicate with each other via the internet and change themselves, or our surroundings according to our preference.
Philips was among the first to embrace this with Hue, a wireless lighting system that allows users to control brightness and color via a simple app. Or take something as seemingly simply as the EO2 from Electric Objects, a sleek display system that changes an image and ambient lighting to match the environment!
How is this relevant?
More power to the consumer! Who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of being able to design or modify a setting simply based on one’s mood? Harnessing the power of the internet to create a world built on our choice, that’s where the future is at.