We are looking forward to HD Expo, which is only a week away (!!!). This year, we’ve added something new to the mix with a virtual reality booth led by innovation and design studio ICRAVE. In collaboration with Hospitality Design magazine, the two day virtual reality-focused workshop at booth #1359 (and sponsored by RH Contract) will showcase cutting-edge visualization and digital experimentation during HD Expo, held next week in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. Along with demonstrations, ICRAVE is also hosting a beer pong tournament (finally, a college skill put to good use), completely in VR, starting Wednesday, May 3rd at 2 p.m.
“We created the beer pong game through our interactions with video game designers and developers,” says Elizabeth Von Lehe, director of strategy and brand architecture for the New York firm, who will be overseeing the demonstrations and the contest. “It became a fun way to experiment with interactivity within virtual space. Plus, beer pong is fun!” We caught up with Von Lehe to discuss how VR is changing the industry, saving costs, and what role augmented reality (AR) may have in the future.
How are designers using VR?
As designers, we’re able to put ourselves in the physical space earlier than ever before, not only as a final test of the furnishings and finishes, but to understand the scale and approach to space from the very beginning. We model and create in 3D from the start, allowing us to play and alter our design and [have a] better understanding of how our design choices coalesce to create a greater experience.
How will VR change the industry?
3D development is already changing the way designs are communicated not just to clients but to the many consultants and contributors that get things built. I say 3D development and not VR on purpose. VR is simply a newer, better way to read and experience a 3D design. Revit is a great example. The many moving parts of a design can come together in one digital space, which can then be experienced through VR.
How does the VR format promote creativity?
Fast experimentation is finally possible. It once took great time and effort to explore a new idea in a design; you would think twice before trying something unusual because it represented both a lot of work and a lot of risk. Now, we can develop new forms and experiment with new ideas in the blink of an eye, experience them before going through the cost and risk of prototyping and building in the physical space.
What about AR?
AR is still a wildcard in our industry. We’ve experimented in demonstrating the use of products within space, as well as in overlaying exciting content within a given space. The greatest difficulty now is the lack of commercially viable devices beyond the smartphone, though we’re always playing and developing to be ready for the tech industry’s latest offering.
What are you planning for HD Expo?
We will be showing a variety of projects that used advanced visualization to revolutionize our design process. From hotels and residential developments to restaurants and nightclubs, we’ll be showing the key tools and tactics that allow our team to push design further and increase our speed to market. For us, it’s also about versatility. During our demos, we’ll also be showing the other formats and outputs that VR and gaming engines can create to make the content that’s right for each project.
Why is HD Expo the right venue to bring VR to the forefront?
Great hospitality experiences are about experimenting with how multiple experiential elements can be blurred to create something novel and exciting. Our approach to visualization at ICRAVE is pushing the boundaries of how our clients think about hospitality and pushing hospitality into new markets, such as airports, hospitals, and developments that have never experienced it before. We’re excited to share our approach at HD Expo, as each person at this event comes with a different set of knowledge and experiences. This will be a great mixing ground for how visualization can push this industry.