“I’ve always wanted to disrupt the traditional wallpaper industry,” says Julia Bancilhon, founder of London-based wallpaper brand Made of Matter. « Virtual and augmented reality [VR and AR] were my catalysts to drive this change.
The collage artist animated wallpaper is among the most eye-catching AR and VR design products that are gaining traction in residential and high-end product composition. These still nascent technologies are powered by state-of-the-art, mostly 3D-rendered software platform systems, including Blender, Unreal Engine, and Photoshop.
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“AR and VR are starting to change the way the rich buy designer pieces for their luxury homes,” says David Azar, the founder of Cryption, a site dedicated to Web3 technologies integrating the two techniques. “They also impact how people build, sell and outfit those homes.”
To further clarify definitions, Azar says augmented reality augments an actual setting or object by infusing it with digital elements, such as a three-dimensional visual of a couch as it would appear in your living room. VR, on the other hand, is a 3D rendered world, similar to the design of a house that has yet to be built. Designers and architects today are turning to both approaches in imaginative ways.
According to Bancilhon, interested customers will be able to scan a QR code on their phone or press a button on their computer and watch a two-minute wallpaper animation comprising 120 separate images. Each frame can be viewed individually, with customers selecting the ones they particularly like. Made of Matter then translates the frame image into a wallpaper pattern, which it produces for the client – a bespoke pattern for the Metaverse era. The company charges around $350 to purchase a single frame while wallpaper costs $70 for every 10 square feet.
In a similar vein, French design studio Lezar sells digital-physical art for homes. Co-founders Jacques Lalo and Alexandre Vannucci use their expertise in AR and VR to create immersive works for clients.
More recently, Lezar is behind the artwork Be twin lines, which depicts a dancing woman. “Each of the 2,775 frames of the dance can be acquired as an exclusive NFT,” says Vannucci. “This NFT gives its buyer the right to transform the excerpt he selects into a physical work.” An NFT costs $400, he says, while an artwork can cost upwards of $4,000, depending on materials and size.
Beyond decorative objects, some architects and interior designers are going beyond standard rendering software and using virtual reality to more accurately conceptualize their residential projects. Tel Aviv-based architect Simon Barazin, for his part, has started to embrace VR technologies and uses 3D software Unreal Engine to develop renderings complete with room scale, lighting, colors and materials. .
Barazin’s latest commission — a job worth around $500,000, a sizable portion of which went to the VR component — saw him renovating a large, minimalist kitchen for a Tel Aviv apartment. “The client favored bright colors, so I offered him three renderings: blue, green and red. He could see what each one would look like in his kitchen and ultimately preferred blue,” he says. “The design process was simple, which is what virtual reality helps to do. It was revolutionary for my work.
In some cases, AR and VR can help justify an expensive purchase, says Gianpiero Gaglione, owner of Los Angeles-based firm GG Interior Design. “As much as possible, customers want to see exactly what they’re getting before investing large sums of money in renovations” or a new home, he says. With AR and VR, they can.
Case in point: Ornare is a Brazilian cabinetry brand popular for its extravagant custom closets that cost between $100,000 and $500,000.
Steven La Fonte, an interior designer in Miami, regularly hires the firm to redo the closets of his clients’ homes and describes its use of VR glasses in his Miami showroom as radical. The technology gives customers the ability to “live” in their potential closets – rooms that could incorporate things like leather shelving and reflective bronze glass.
“No matter how wealthy, people may be hesitant to pour a large sum of money into a closet when they don’t know what it will actually look like,” says La Fonte, who adds that he commissioned Ornare to install a cupboard. in his own Miami home earlier this year. “To be honest, I wouldn’t have paid if I hadn’t been able to see it first,” he says. “Virtual reality gave me the chance.”
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