Benefits of using VR in Design

Design + Tech

Over the years the tools of a design drafter have evolved. We started with paper, t-squares, pencils and erasers. In the 1960’s we moved to two-dimensional computer aided drafting (CAD) and by the 1990’s three dimensional computer modelling became available. Now we have Virtual Reality (VR) as a design communication tool to deliver a high level of human experience, functionality, creativity and success.

VR has come a long way since the first headset created in the 1960s. By the 1980s, VR devices cost up to $49,000. Today VR is accessible on your smartphone with a $10 Google Cardboard kit and VR is expected to become a $34 Billion industry by 2023. We are using the technology every day in our studio. It allows our designers to see their designs come to life, get a better sense of the space and make better design decisions.

We can communicate design clearly and quickly, through a URL link, which the client can view on their smartphone, making decisions much easier. We have experienced faster stakeholder signoff through this process. Some examples of this include a client deciding on wall tile options, or a Retail Design Manager signing off on signage.

Virtual Reality is an experience. We can take the client on a journey through their new space, before it has even been built. As an example, for our retail clients, we can virtually walk through the shopfront entrance, browse the sales floor, stand at the point of sale counter, we can even experience inside the change rooms.

In these modern times clients and other stakeholders are often interstate or international. Using VR we have the option to hold design meetings over long distance right inside the model. Not only can we meet in the model, we can also interact with it. We can measure, take notes and pictures to save for later. We can click on an item and display information about it, such as its finish, dimensions or supplier.

With 3D modelling we can collaborate with other disciplines to ensure a fully resolved design. Our recently completed project, Fenway Public House had extensive mechanical ducting running through the building. We were able to collaborate with the mechanical engineers to integrate the ducting with our design. Using VR, our clients were able to experience different design options alongside the ducting, which made for an easier decision-making process for our clients.

To summarise, VR gives us the ability to;

- communicate design quickly, easily and over long distance, which enables faster stakeholder signoff

- experience the space and journey before the project is built, which allows us to make better design and functionality decisions

- see our designs coordinated and integrated with other building services which allows us to resolve issues before the project gets to site, saving time and money, with a better build outcome.