After completing college I started working on my own venture, called O-LAP, with one of my classmates. The start-up is built on the concepts of computational furniture design and digital fabrication. We had developed a few designs of digitally fabricated furniture pieces and a few scripts for parametric furniture. This project was an extension of the ideas and the possibilities.
After developing parametric furniture, I thought maybe I could use the same concept and technique to develop a system, which prepares the interior layout of a house, based on user inputs. The template for the sample space was a typical layout for the living room of a residential apartment in Mumbai.
I have met a lot of people who are really exasperated by the thought of doing the interiors of their house after going through a lot of trouble to find the place. At the same time they don’t wanna risk being tied to a poorly designed home, and seek professional help. I started this project with a vision to cater to these people. The script would ask very limited questions and give a customised interior layout of the house. Moving from the design, the script could also generate the fabrication files required for the customised design. The script would, hence, be able to generate a mass-producible and mass-customisable interiors for homes, with a very comfortable user experience.
This is a crude and direct implementation of the idea, and I hope to build a more detailed and meticulously thought out implementation of the same.
One of my main concerns while developing the script was that it had to be friendly to the user. Hence, it had to be very simple questions and would require no knowledge about interior design on part of the user. It is quite difficult for a non-professional to assess the difference between a 16″ and 18″ height chair and its affect on his daily life. Expecting him to know how to utilize the space is the same question but at a much greater level. I do not suggest that what I have thought of here is in any way an ideal solution; rather its a concept and a crude implementation to explain the possibilities.
I designed the script to collect the following data from the user and develop the design of his home, based on it:
- Number of people meant to use the space? (2/3/4/5/6/7)
- Which side of the house, they prefer the TV on? (East/West)
- Size in inches of the TV they use? (32″, 37″, 42″, 46″)
- The amount of offset from of the TV from the centre of the wall?
- Do they need a book-shelf?
- Do they need a table?
- Distribution of the space between the table and book-shelf?
The questions are a mix of some important questions, and some questions which I just put in to explore the possibilities of data in design. I’ll discuss how I used the questions.
1. Number of people.
The answer to this questions affects the seating and storages inside the house. It increases/decreases the size of the sofa, and adds loose chairs to the interiors, if the number of people goes beyond a threshold. It also affects the number of partitions in the storage shelves.
2. TV decisions
An initial toggle allows users to switch the orientation of their homes, by altering the position of the TV. This is not something which drives the design, but gives the user the flexibility to customise aspects of the house based on his will. The size of the TV affects the position of the seating from the TV screen. I referred to a standard formula used by professionals and the TV manufacturers and built it as a component in the code script. These are some of the finer details one can include in this process, which is often ignored even by interior designers. The offset again allows the user to adjust the positioning as he finds it suitable.
3. Book-shelf and table decisions
Some people enjoy their books on chair and prefer to use their laptops on their laps; they spend little time working on a desk at home. Some have lots of work to get done which requires being seated for long hours on a desk, and no time for books. Some need both, and some are better off without either. The last 3 questions allows the user to customise the nature of the products they use inside, with their requirements.
Demo of the Script