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Immersive VR: The New Reality of the Design Industry?

immersive vr new reality interior designers

We live in a world where people want access to everything from the comfort of their own homes. And why wouldn’t you when there is a never-ending supply of content being produced on the web? One of the latest crazes in innovation technology is immersive VR (or virtual reality), a type of digital technology that actively engages your senses into being physically present.

Two of the most popular types of immersive media are 360 video and VR, with many different brands jumping on the bandwagon and incorporating these into their work- with architects and designers getting on board as well. Immersive media gives the viewer or the client the opportunity to be a part of the space, or the ability to see it from all different angles. Although 360 video and VR are often used interchangeably, they are different; while both providing assets to the architecture and design industries. So what’s the difference and why is it useful for us?

Virtual Reality

In VR, you are actually a participant in the environment and not just spectating from behind a screen- that’s what really sets VR apart from other types of immersive media. Virtual reality is usually classified by the use of a headset that will put you in an environment, and computer generated images will create the look and feel of actually being present in the space. There is usually an element of physicality, with some virtual reality headsets seeming so realistic you can actually experience motion sickness from completing activities such as hiking or driving in a VR car. One misconception about VR is that if you’re wearing a headset, it’s automatically virtual reality. There are headsets that are not virtual and just show a 360 video view, such as Google cardboard.

So why is VR important?

The idea of virtual reality has been around since the ‘90s, but recently architects and designers have realized how this technology is beginning to shape a new process. When pitching a new design to a client, there are often multiple rounds of edits required to reach the final product. With VR technology, the client can get a better feel of what he or she likes and doesn’t like, and the editing process is expedited. Edits can also be made on the spot, by switching up elements such as lighting as the client watches. You can also simulate real world scenarios in VR, and see how your design fits into the actual environment and streets surrounding the building.

There is also a competitive advantage to VR as well. If a client is able to feel like they are physically walking through the building, they are more likely to choose your design. Using VR will help show prospective clients that you are at the forefront of innovative technology in the space, and will help with winning business.

360 Video

360 video can incorporate headsets and goggles, but differs from VR in that it doesn’t physically place you in a space. Instead, this video view allows the viewer or client to see a room from a full 360-degree angle. A spherical camera is used to create the shot, and once the video is produced the viewer has control over the viewing direction.

So why is 360 video important?

Digitally touring your designs to prospective clients is not a new concept- the idea has always been there, but 360 video is changing the user experience. Up until now, online virtual tours lacked the ability to properly display the dimensions of a building, the work of the interiors, and the true angles and feel of a room. Incorporating 360 video will give your prospective clients a chance to feel what it would be like to move from room to room- designs were not intended to be seen from a single angle. 360 video has recently become YouTube and Facebook compatible, so you can take your prospecting a step further through social amplification. Building an online portfolio of 360 views of your designs will also give you a competitive edge.

Check out some examples of virtual reality and 360 video here!


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