TSA_DESIGN_TECH_Augmented_reality_Vizera-Furniture-1Forward-thinkers in the fashion sector embraced augmented reality technologies lauding the benefits to consumers if they can view themselves in varying styles sans donning the outfit.

Using this process in interior design also has many advantages – less floor stock, more scope for customers to visualise their desired sofa in any fabric, colour, pattern …. the potentiality is vast!

Having spent the better part of my professional career working with top-end contemporary showrooms – one has to question that should this take off, as it no doubt will – what will these stores look like? Will carefully styled interiors soon be replaced by a grey items in a grey box?

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So what exactly is Augmented Reality?

The Estiluz App that launched in 2012, enables users to visualise lighting designs within their own spaces, explains to Architonic

Unlike virtual reality which consists of replacing everything we can see with a parallel, digital world, augmented reality inserts digital items into reality, mixing them together and positioning them as though they were real.

In other words, it creates a fictitious part of existing reality. It’s what it says it is… it augments reality.

The following reported by MIT technology review via Mashable describes the technology now active in the Ligne Roset showroom in San Francisco, slating the brand will soon follow with their flagship store in Paris. Read the full story here.

In a darkened room in the back of a small furniture store just south of San Francisco International Airport, the couch in front of me keeps changing colors and patterns, from red to blue to beige to a gray, white, and green pattern.

The couch is real — I can reach out and poke the cushions — but the psychedelic surface-shifting effect is created with augmented reality technology that projects fabric patterns onto the surface of the couch (which in reality is a boring shade of gray).

See for yourself:

“They (customers) can still touch the swatches, so there is no shortcoming of the tactile feeling side of it”

The process uses 3-D modelling of furniture items and via an iPad interface, users can visualise in real time their selected colour, finish, pattern on the product.

Far fetched?

Not so, with reports that the IKEA Catalogue, aka the second highest volume print document on the planet (after the Gideon Bible)* – now sporting a whopping 75% CG or Computer Generated image content, created using 4K-by-4K pixels, a resolution said to dwarf the reproduction of the present day benchmark HD.

Ikea’s first CG photo was a Bertil pinewood chair in 2006.

By 2012, the Wall Street Journalreported that 25% of their products were CG.

Today, that figure has ballooned to 75%.

Mark Willson, FastCo

Read the full explanation from IKEA here and the report by FastCo here

TSA_DESIGN_TECH_augmented_reality_02So what does this spell for the future of furniture showrooms?

Will catalogue production become the domain of the computer operator thus superseding the need for  traditional roles such as photographer, stylist and production teams?

With the inevitable uptake on such technologies now within reach, the impact will no doubt ultimately benefit the end user, by enabling them to visualise their new interior pretty much – at a push of a button.

** statistic given by IKEA on our media tour 2004

by Anne-Maree Sargeant