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Virtual Reality: Collaboration just got better!

January 19, 2017

Those who were able to join us for our Open Studio in October got a sneak peek at technology that we believe will change the way designers and clients work together. Here is more of the story…

You’ve probably heard the buzz about virtual reality (VR) and its potential uses in gaming, education, and healthcare. Well, last year, we realized that it could help us take a quantum leap toward our mission of making the design process more accessible and engaging. Even though the technology was in its infancy, we jumped in with both virtual feet.

2016 DeForest Open House-VR2

We’ve coupled our high-powered Building Information Modeling (BIM) system with VR hardware and beta software to create a VR “Lab” at our Seattle office. From the outside, it looks like an empty conference room; donning a headset opens up a world of design possibilities. Now our clients are among the first in the US to be able to ‘walk through’ their projects in virtual space.

Instead of relying on 2D plans or even 3D modeling on the computer, when we show clients a project in VR they are able to get a feeling for scale and proportion. Recently, one client asked for a stool so that she could ‘sit’ on her bed and check out the view. Another strolled out to his patio to gauge how the sun will fall over the course of the day. One couple asked if they could “invite friends over” to share the design.

2016 DeForest Open House-VR1

Clients used to experience spaces and details only once their project is under construction. Now they can take their time to get to know it and give more informed feedback. That helps us make the design even better.

Here is what one client said after ‘visiting’ her project:

That was SO MUCH FUN doing the VR to go through the house design. What an incredibly practical and fun tool to get a feeling for the designed spaces. And the option to set the time of the sun was over the top. Brad and I both so enjoyed being able to see the house this way. We told our kids about it and all they could say was “when do we get to come do that?!”

We are in the early days of exploring the potential of this technology. Just give us a call if you have ideas or would like to stop by for a demo.