AI: How will it Affect Interior Design?
For many years, AI had felt like a distant problem looming on the horizon. Every now and then, it would be dredged up as a clickbait threat to creativity or its potential to make us all jobless. Cut to late 2022, and all of a sudden, AI was immediately accessible on a scale never seen before, thanks, in part, to a TikTok trend. Our feeds were inundated with people transforming their selfies into impressive historical artworks through an AI filter. At first, it seemed like another novelty, something that would pass as quickly as the rest, but as the trend gained traction, the debate surrounding AI was again firmly in the spotlight.
The focus was particularly on artist copyright. AI creates images by using open-source material on the internet, and although some of these images may be copyrighted or privately owned, there is no way for an artist to opt in or out as to whether their images are used. Once again, the debate surrounding the use of AI and its ethics, as well as its impact on creativity and art, was out in full force.
AI will streamline design
Within the design industry, the impact of AI is already being felt. With software like Midjourney and DALL·E 2 becoming increasingly advanced, it’s only a matter of time before its use becomes commonplace within the sector. But rather than seeing AI as the end of times for human intervention in design, many in the industry are embracing the new technology. Will it change the processes for designers and architects? Probably. But will this eliminate the need for a human hand? According to AW Spaces Head of Design, Lisa Mcleod, absolutely not.
“AI software has the potential to revolutionise the way designers work”, says Lisa. “Processes like sketching and idea creation that was once very time-consuming have the potential to be replaced by AI-generated imagery, which, when utilised correctly, can be achieved in seconds.” Interior design giants like IKEA and Dulux have already begun to harness the power of augmented reality to showcase their products in apps, allowing customers to place furniture, carpets or paint colours in their homes before purchasing.
When it comes to design and architecture, the immediacy of text-to-image software will free up labour, especially during the early stages. Thanks to its speed and iteration, AI imagery will be a useful tool when establishing a visual foundation with a client. “There is a lot of fear surrounding AI and its threat to a designer’s creativity,” Lisa tells us. “Actually, we’ll see that through the freeing up of a designer’s time, they’ll have more space for creativity, visualisation and idea creation.
AI will challenge design conventions
As we’ve seen already with AI, thanks to its gigantic database to draw from, the neural networks can create images that have previously never been seen by the human eye. Not inhibited by convention or practicality, AI takes the building blocks of design, turns them upside down, and pushes the realms of what is possible. “The acceleration of innovation is something that, as designers, we’re very excited about,” says Lisa. “AI isn’t self-conscious or self-defeatist, meaning it is unrestrained in its approach to design.” She continues, “In some ways, its lack of emotion will be what helps designers to test the limits of what is possible.” However, designers will not be able to rest on the imagination of AI. “To reach its full potential, AI will need human intervention to ensure its diversity,” Lisa warns. “AI is only as good as its user. Designers must challenge their own prejudices and conventions to generate an eclectic range of ideas. Otherwise, AI-generated images have the potential to become a feedback loop.
AI will help to create solutions
With sustainability being one of the biggest challenges for designers and architects to overcome, the speed at which AI works could allow users not only to come up with sustainable solutions but could accelerate iteration. As Lisa tells us, “the dematerialisation of AI-generated images means that the trial and error process of design is not only expedited but also creates less waste when going through the process of redesign.” This means that physical iterations of designs will go through fewer modifications, which can be a wasteful process and allows designers to take more risks in these design stages. Because the human demand for sustainable designs is so strong, there is no doubt that AI and designers will work together to come up with groundbreaking solutions to the world’s challenges.
AI will need a human touch
“Whilst there is no doubt that the imagery created by AI is unparalleled in its ingenuity, its practicality is a whole other question,” Lisa explains, “AI also does not understand the social and emotional impact that design can have on a person. The need for human judgement and intervention will not just suddenly go away.” Because of this, design may move into a more compassionate realm, where designers will focus on how their plans connect with their residents’ experiences, culture and environment. “AI will not put a stop to creativity; it will challenge designers to test the boundaries of what is possible. It will shift mindsets and tear apart tired and well-trodden norms.” AI has the potential to enhance our humanness, blending technology with the innate and unmatched creativity that is only seen in people.