Changing Trade Perceptions Why the “digital canvas” approach to tech appeals to architects and interior designers. B Y L I S A S L AY M A N , A S I D , I I D A , C E O O F S L AY M A N D E S I G N
he has about something he refers to as the “digital canvas” and, in my opinion, this is one of the most compelling ways of sharing and selling the vision of what technology can do. He shared a story about a show home where the architect and the designer had what at first appeared to be conflicting concepts for a living room. The architect had been excited by the vision of turning the wall into a digital canvas and project images on the wall, and the designer wanted a high-back sofa close to the wall, which would have interfered with the image. As you can imagine, a battle was brewing. The solution? Use a short-throw lens to projection map the room to keep the design intent intact — and pick up innumerable benefits as a result. When the designer saw the room on opening night, and he saw this image of Manhattan on the wall, he exclaimed, “This is amazing. When I designed this space, I had New York loft style in mind and now you’ve actually put us in New York!" He noted, and I agree, that was the perfect illustration of someone with no affinity for technology whatsoever, who experienced what was possible and has likely been forever changed in his thinking. As designers, our role is to bring everything together, to make a house feel like a home for our clientele. We inherently establish an emotional connection to the family, their friends, their careers, and the lives of their children as they grow up and out of the home and again as they bring grandchildren home to visit or live. We personally experience their life events. We help them navigate the stages of their life and we tend to develop close and personal relationships that transcend our role as designers. While we exist to create function and flow, and we modify that to each individual’s needs, sometimes technology just doesn’t rise to the surface as something we need to be thinking about. But it most definitely should be.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tim Sinnaeve, managing director of Barco Residential, about the distinct role interior designers, architects, and integrators each play in projects and where both challenges lurk and how success can be achieved. He shared some examples of ways he’s helped shift the perception of technology by the design-build community and I found it fascinating. As a designer, his approach has shifted my perception of what’s possible and left me equal parts intrigued and encouraged. You see, as Tim puts it, when the focus of the conversation or of the sale itself becomes the complexity of technology and everything that has to be done to harness it, technology becomes the least-enjoyable element of the build. As a result, a behavior pattern is instilled that is universal — if something complex can be avoided, avoid it at all costs. As humans we’re wired to avoid things that cause pain, so it makes perfect sense. Tim’s advice? When working with architects, designers, and especially their clientele, don’t just show them what you can do but rather bring them into the vision of what you and your team can create that fits within their design parameters, so they understand the result and it becomes merely a practical question of you make it happen. He told me, “In my experience, within the design and architecture community most have been exposed to just 10 percent of what’s possible. As an industry, if we can take that up to 80 or 90 percent, imagine what might happen.” He’s absolutely right. When architects and designers start seeing technology as a tool to create, the whole world changes. By using a short-throw projector, the integrator allowed the designer to keep his vision intact, while allowing projection mapping to stun Putting that into context, every person who walks into the room. Tim shared with me a concept
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Residential Systems - June 2021