This study aims to propose a novel approach to developing an interactive and immersive virtual environment for design communication in the furniture, fixture and equipment (FFE) sector. The study further investigates its effectiveness in enhancing the design communication and coordination between the stakeholder.
Quasi-experimental research was adopted involving 12 FFE professionals, designers and end-users in single-group pre-test-post-test design. The tests were performed primarily to ascertain the impact of the application of interactive virtual reality on delivering furniture design selection and coordination tasks. Further interviews were used to elicit participants' views on the functionality and usefulness of the proposed approach.
The findings indicate that an interactive immersive virtual FFE environment: enhances the productivity of the design team through a collaborative virtual workspace offering a synchronised networked design testing and review platform; reduces the time required for the stakeholders to comprehend the design options and test those; enhances the design communication and quality of the design and encourages the collaborative culture in the industry; improves the design satisfaction of the stakeholders; and finally, requires significantly less time for design decision-making when compared to traditional methods.
Future studies should incorporate space planning concepts and explore non-experimental methodologies in a real-life FFE project setup.
The proposed approach provides opportunities for enhanced interpretation of design intent in FFE as well as efficiency in design selection and coordination tasks when compared with conventional two-dimensional methods of communication.
This study proposes a step change in the way furniture design is communicated and coordinated through an immersive virtual experience. Previous studies have not addressed the issue of impact on design coordination instead focussed on marketing and sales.
This research was funded by the University of the West of England, Bristol and Springfield Supplies & Projects, Bristol. Appreciation is also extended to the professionals who participated in the study.
Prabhakaran, A., Mahamadu, A.-M., Mahdjoubi, L., Manu, P., Che Ibrahim, C.K.I. and Aigbavboa, C.O. (2021), "The effectiveness of interactive virtual reality for furniture, fixture and equipment design communication: an empirical study", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 1440-1467. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-04-2020-0235
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