Designing the perfect home, through virtual reality

This week, during the NYCxDesign festival, visitors to The Future Perfect can take in a full tour of Casa Perfect, the brand’s beautiful, airy Los Angeles show house, without ever leaving Great Jones Street design gallery.

The exhibition of glasswork by Seattle artist John Hogan takes place both IRL and in virtual reality, enabling visitors to see the pieces carefully lit on a mirrored pedestal in the gallery setting and installed in a classic Mid-Century Modern home nestled in the hills of West Hollywood and through VR headsets scattered throughout the New York space. (You can experience a version of the installation on your browser here.)

Crossovers between the tech and design worlds are cropping up everywhere as designers, galleries and even big-box home-goods retailers look to virtual reality as a way to create spaces that customers can experience in 360 degrees. Even more promising, virtual-reality proponents suggest that the emerging technology may soon become a powerful tool for both architects and designers.

The Future Perfect’s John Hogan show follows a similar recent exhibition at New York’s Jewish Museum, where visitors could interact with the work of designer Pierre Chareau through virtual reality. Inspired, Future Perfect founder David Alhadeff and his team got to work on an experience of their own, purchasing equipment, investigating the presentation possibilities and recruiting a virtual-reality photographer.

According to Alhadeff, the transition is surprisingly scalable for a small companies. “Yes, we had to plan, prepare and execute the concept,” he says. “But I initially thought VR might be completely out of reach, and it turned out to be accessible to us.”

For Alhadeff, virtual reality offers a way to showcase work in an “unexpected context,” while also sharing it beyond the bounds of his physical gallery. To him, it’s a valuable tool to help designers and architects communicate with clients. “What can be easier to approve than to see materials, lighting and furniture within the context of the future residential or commercial project?” he says. “I know this is already at play, but it’s currently very expensive and time consuming. In the future, I expect this will be increasingly accessible.”

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