Everyday Experiments from SPACE10 - home is where the ARt is

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Ever wondered what your sofa would look like if it had a face? Or what it would be like to design a chair in VR with the help of machine learning? Through Everyday Experiments, IKEA and SPACE10 have tasked creative studios with finding out

Quick read

➨ Everyday Experiments features the work of studios such as Bakken & Bæck, Random Studio, and Set Snail
➨ All of the experiments can be used by, or at least explained to, a person of any age
➨ The launch of Everyday Experiments follows an upgrade in March to IKEA’s AR app

The story

SPACE10, the research and design lab of Swedish furniture giant IKEA, has launched a website demonstrating 18 experiments that explore how technology, including VR and AR, can improve home design.

Everyday Experiments features examples, from studios such as Bakken & Bæck, Random Studio, and Set Snail, of VR, AR, AI, machine learning and spatial intelligence being used to virtually experiment with home design.

One, Spatial Embodiment, focuses on making furniture selection more joyful by inviting users to communicate with the space around them. Users of the VR experience can use gestures in combination with their voice to ‘interact’ and ‘communicate’ with their home and the objects within it.

Creator Bakken & Bæck summarises the experiment as “a step towards providing us with an unlimited and unrestricted sandbox where we can be creative and explore and understand new ideas”.

Bakken & Bæck also created Techno Carpenter, which allows users to interact with and shape a machine learning-generated chair in VR. Its creator said: “’A piece of furniture should be easy to be used, reused and repurposed based on the materials and components. It should be easy to be understood, and easy to be used.”

Another experiment, Hidden Characters, is a prototype for an AR experience that allows users to turn any furniture item into a character via a mobile device. Aimed at kids, creator Random Studio wanted to experiment with personification because “people connect more strongly with objects if they attribute human qualities to them”.

Magic Flatpack by Set Snail uses MR to create a virtual portal into a different world, again on mobile devices. The entrance leads to a virtual recreation of an IKEA warehouse at night.

The experiment was created to make the experience of buying furniture more fun, and treat the user to something they weren’t expecting to fire up their imagination.

According to IKEA, all of the experiments can be used by, or at least explained to, a person of any age.

“As we enter a new digital era, we are also exploring new ways to create a better everyday life at home, while protecting people’s privacy.”

Fredrik Axén, Inter IKEA Group

Commenting on the launch of Everyday Experiments, Fredrik Axén, concept development manager and managing director at Inter IKEA Group, said: “The future home should be about people first. It’s a place for everyone to be safe, to feel comfortable, and in control. As we enter a new digital era, we are also exploring new ways to create a better everyday life at home, while protecting people’s privacy.”

Bas Van De Poel, creative director at SPACE10, added: “Home—especially these days—plays an important role in how we develop our everyday interactions and relationships. It is not only the place where we live but the place where we work, teach our children, and where we connect with the world digitally.”

The launch of Everyday Experiments follows an upgrade in March to IKEA’s AR app.

The widely used IKEA Place app will harness the capabilities of Apple’s new iPad Pro to create a more personalised and realistic home furnishing experience.

The new Studio Mode interpretes users’ existing homes to render furnishings that complement their space and style.

Studio Mode also uses detailed 3D depth information to digitally furnish walls, ceilings, seats, table tops and other places that AR apps have so far struggled to reach. According to IKEA, the quality and fidelity of the 3D models are more realistic than before. Even dynamic lighting fixtures can be turned on or off to light up the virtual scene.

“AR experiences thus far have been limited by how they can understand and react to the environment within which they’re taking place.”

Kaave Pour, SPACE10

Speaking in March, Kaave Pour, director at SPACE10, said: “AR experiences thus far have been limited by how they can understand and react to the environment within which they’re taking place. Studio Mode with the new iPad Pro presents powerful proof of the potential AR and AI have to deliver more meaningful, personal, and playful experiences at home with IKEA.”

“We’re using inspiring new technology like ARKit to make IKEA home furnishing knowledge accessible for everyone,” continued Gerry Rogers, digital transformation leader at Inter IKEA Group. “To do so, we are looking into the newest technologies, not for the sake of technology, but to create a better everyday life for the many people.”

Main image: Techno Carpenter by Bakken & Bæck