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Architecture and design, as with nearly every field of human endeavour, are being improved at an unprecedented speed by technology. As an avid follower of all things new in the sphere of my work, I thought I’d take time to share some of the top trends that I am – and will be – keenly following.  

Imagineering

This is my principle role as a workspace designer – merging imagination with engineering. I especially like the 1942 definition for the word; “letting your imagination soar, and then engineering it down to earth” Some of these tools and technologies allow us to do just that.

Virtual Reality

VR uses computers to create the effect of an immersive three-dimensional world, in which the objects have a sense of spatial depth and presence.

Office VR from VIA Technik on Vimeo.

For designers like me, VR enables a crucial function by allowing my team and me to ‘walkthrough’ fully-rendered and photo-real visualisations of our design before execution.

Gestural Modelling

Motion trackers allow for an added layer of virtual interactions between the designer’s hands and the various software platforms used in the design process.

 (Gestural Interface begins at 1.10 in the video)

UE4 Interactive Realtime Visualization solution from peerapon leelaruji on Vimeo.

This means we can create scale models much faster (and less messily) than in the physical world, which a client can then view with a simple VR headset.
Using gesture control, the client can change surfaces and finishes, allowing us to on-board detailed feedback about the space, without having to move from their/our office.

Augmented Reality

The game Pokémon Go propelled AR into the daily vocabulary of thousands of people, who would never have heard of it otherwise. Augmented Reality overlays digital content onto real-word imagery – it allowed, for example, players to catch Pokémon in real locations.

ARchitect – Life size furniture configurations with Augmented Reality from Gktz on Vimeo.

Because a user can experience the augmented word via their smartphone or tablet, and see how the digital overlay affects their real environment, I see this as a simple way for clients to seamlessly visualize our designs in the real-life blank spaces they have.  

On a side-note, I’m keen to see how AR devices like the compact and portable, Xperia Touch projector will change the way we design meeting rooms, and how we use them. If any surface can be used as a touch-enabled projector, wouldn’t meeting rooms become redundant?

3-D Printed Surfaces

3-D printing covers several different production techniques that can transform various materials—plastics, metals, ceramics, concrete, and more—into three-dimensional objects of almost any shape or geometry.

The video above shows the making of the 250 sqm open-plan 3-D printed office unveiled in Dubai last year. And a Dutch studio that has 3D-printed an eight-square-metre cabin in Amsterdam as a forerunner to its ongoing Canal House project. More immediate benefits I see are in quickly creating mock-ups and scale models with excellent texturing. And re-edits are quick and easy to get done.

Technology in general is always exciting – I love all my productivity tools like my laptop, smartphone and iPad. But when technology affects the very core of our work, the excitement is on another plane, as a designer would say! Next week, I’ll touch upon advances from the physical world of materials, with a focus on sustainability – something that I consider among the megatrends in workspace design.

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10 thoughts on “Engagement and the Global Workplace

  1. Rajendra Bendre

    Great post Ninad!

    We are at our joyful best in places that blow our breath away! Usually at the edge of the unkown, uncertain and the dangerous a precipice, a mountain top, down snow clad mountains while skiing, when the immensity of the landscape in front of us is incomprehensible and so on.

    Will be great when work spaces take our breath away and at the same time bring us all together to express our collective intelligence to make our work an expression of art!.

  2. Swati Balgi

    Congrats Ninad ! Nice to read expert’s views on Workspace Design. Will look forward to read more on your blog.
    Swati Balgi

  3. Praveen

    Ninad nice to read your post…Happy Ken”s session was impactful. .Let’s continue this collaboration around workplace knowledge..

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