Virtual downloadable interior designs?

Prediction: By 2025, we’ll download our interiors at iTunes, Elle Decor’s website and a multitude of tablet apps, and redecorating an entire home will cost a yet to be determined but relatively low number ending in 99 cents. The market for $25,000 rugs will evaporate overnight when people realize they can no longer discern the difference between handwoven silk and the virtual one they downloaded for 9.99. By 2025, virtual reality will have improved to the point that the mass market furnishings industry will experience the same difficult transition as the publishing, music, manufacturing and entertainment industries before it. Artisans will continue to supply the luxury market with high-end goods, and the hipsters of tomorrow will no doubt incorporate vintage pieces at home, but eventually we’ll all inhabit bland but infinitely customizable spaces designed primarily for physical comfort and display. Interior designers will merge with graphic designers, artists and coders to supply interiors for purchase online. Houses will be hacked, formerly exquisite hi-res rooms reduced to scattered pixels on a beige canvas. On the other hand, experimentation will become so inexpensive and easily reversible that it will launch a new golden age of design. Best of all, everybody will have a killer view. Although it sounds like magic, the technologies that will make this possible already exist.

Motion Control

Microsoft’s Kinect technology was developed for the XBox gaming system, but tech geeks are hacking into the technology and using it to perform amazing jedi-like feats like controlling Tesla coils from a distance, manipulating Google Earth by gesturing and creating 3D photos of people as virtual souvenirs. And that’s just the beginning. Someday we’ll use it to vacuum, turn off the stove and a million other everyday tasks. How does it work? A 3D camera maps your body and translates your movements into identical virtual motions, i.e. it creates your 3D avatar in a virtual world. When our environments are eventually pre-wired with Kinect technology that includes remote sensors on locks, appliances, etc., we’ll all live like Ben Kenobi (or Carrie, it depends on the day).

3D Technology

Kinect isn’t the only new gadget that incorporates the technology. Mass market adoption of 3D TV’s has begun, Hasbro recently unveiled an iPhone 3D viewer, and the Nintendo 3ds portable gaming system leverages new advances that eliminate the need for glasses.  3D has a ways to go. In the context of action movies or video games, it can seem a bit disorienting and certainly not totally immersive, but the technology continues to improve, and there are rumors that similar technology will be incorporated on future smart phone and tablet releases. Imagine how cool it would be if you incorporated 3D into the i-goggles pictured directly below, which I read about at Patently Apple, an interesting blog that keeps track of what’s happening behind the scenes in Cupertino via their patent applications.

If these connected wirelessly to a central computer / tablet that incorporated 3D technology, the result would be something like an iPad with a wrap around screen that allows for a more immersive experience. When coupled with gesture control, the result would be pretty amazing and far more comfortable than holding a magazine-sized slab of glass, no matter how thin or light they make it. Which is why I want them now! Where are they Apple?! Hey, remember the VR scene in the 90’s Michael Douglas / Demi Moore movie Disclosure?

I loved this movie at the time.

Without goggles like these, your someday house might look like a bland white box, but when wearing the shades, it’ll look like Steven Gambrel‘s latest Elle Decor project. (He’s one of my favorites). When hosting your parties of tomorrow, you’ll have no idea if your “decor” is really as fabulous as the guests claim or if they have deviously superimposed their own more tasteful interior over your own (developing proper etiquette (and payback strategies) will be tricky). Some of the partygoers might actually attend in person, but most will be holographic 3D avatars who ride in on Wi-Fi and interact with actual guests as if they were actually standing in the same the room. Virtual 3D nightclubs will provide a safe place for kids from everywhere to hang out with kids from everywhere else, exchanging ideas and philosophies. If you and I take a stroll together, I might be immersed in my new app, New York City in the 20’s while you’ll feel like you’re walking through the streets of . . . well, that’s up to you. We won’t ever really know how each other is viewing the world, and I guess it’s comforting that some things won’t change when practically everything else will. We’ll all become more influential and also less so. Much will be automated, but nothing will cost very much. And our rooms will be more boring than ever before, and yet much more interesting, because where there is nothing, there is pure potential. In the meantime, wouldn’t you love Charlotte Moss to makeover one of your more unfortunate looking rooms (we all have them)? For free??? If so, enter the Ugly Room Makeover contest with Charlotte Moss at Make It Better. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity folks.

The Thursday Query

How will technology change the business of design and the way we decorate at home?

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3 Responses to “Virtual downloadable interior designs?”

  1. Glad I fall under the high end catagory.

  2. I heard David Easton speak of a similar subject not too long ago. Although I embrace advancements and technology I love originality, quality and history when it comes to art, design and architecture. It’s a bit sad to me to think that things will one day become sort of superficial.
    I hope the luxury market will sustain.

    Great story!

  3. Your perspective, as always is intriguing. Technology/internet – Friend of Foe? Or both?? Thanks Tate!