Spatial design adds a key component to the trinity of architecture, interior design and lighting: the often changing needs and requirements of humans. And it uses digital technology to do so. DigitalWallpaper by the Bavarian company ASB Glassfloor is a great example of this technology. With DigitalWallpaper, spaces become experiences, and the technology – through experience design and digital media – puts the user right at the heart of interior design.
A new discipline: spatial design
Traditionally, architecture and interior design have always been about improving the quality of the spaces in which we live. However, this understanding has not led to the creation of spaces that can adapt to the needs those who live in them.
With the spatial design approach, which puts the focus on the changing needs and emotions of people, the design and furnishing of a living space goes beyond colours, materials, lighting and furniture. Through the integration of digital technology, a new definition of space is created, one that interacts with the user. Digitalisation turns the space into an expandable medium, one that is alive.
The genius loci, the spirit of a place, plays an important part in this. Alongside the measurable properties of spaces, other design criteria important in modern architecture include atmosphere, aura and individual perception. Anyone who wishes to reach users or induce them to interact must create an emotional spatial experience.
ASB Glassfloor has taken up that topic: “We noticed the advantages LED technology can offer in the world of sport,” explains Christof Babinsky, Managing Director of ASB Glassfloor. “We transfer this knowledge and technical expertise to other areas, for example art and architecture. DigitalWallpaper is our latest innovation in this field and it is the perfect tool for making spaces come alive.”
New ambience every 3 minutes
The ASB DigitalWallpaper is a great example of spatial design. Using HD LED technology, the wall can display any image. The spatial surroundings are transformed without the need to pick up a single tool or paint brush or add a piece of furniture. Instead, digital patterns, films or photos are shown on the wall – anything is possible and the observer sees it in a 180-degree viewing angle.
ASB Glassfloor’s new architecture project also shows how the function of a public space can be changed in seconds. The visitor’s emotional environment can be changed every time they enter the room even though the physical surroundings remain the same. Our human need for daily variety is thereby satisfied. “I like to think of a pop-up restaurant located in a different city each evening,” says Babinsky.
“One night you could be sitting under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the next day you’re on the Californian coast. Of course, the restaurant is always in the same place. There are lots of possibilities for uses in the entertainment sector, but not only there. Imagine a pop-up store at the airport – it changes every week, with no conversion work necessary, because it’s an interactive commercial area.”
Making environments more friendly with digital technology
The goal of experience design is to make spaces come alive for their users through the integration of digital technology and to move people to interact. LED glass walls and floors are a good solution for achieving those aims. They are flexible in terms of implementation and the spatial design possibilities are almost limitless. ASB Glassfloor’s technology was used to create a digital waterfall that crashes into a virtual lake at the Microsoft offices in Dublin.
The glass hardly reflects at all; at 440 cm high, the pane can be used as a transparent balustrade. The complex technology is hidden away behind the homogenous matt glass panel – visitors are never directly exposed to the light source.
“Spaces adapt when they are viewed, people are brought together through digital play,” explains Babinsky. “The range of possible uses is enormous: in museum education, in galleries and art exhibitions, as well as in shopping malls, train stations and airports, be that as an advertising wall or a work of art. We integrate LED and architecturally valuable hardware and we also supply the content for specific projects.”
Work environments can also be designed to have a friendly ambience. The office can be adapted with a range of subjects. Alternatively, information can be presented via the digital wallpaper. “You can briefly show employees what the weather is like just as they’re leaving at the end of the day. They can then take an umbrella if it’s raining, or leave it in the office if the sun is shining,” explains Babinsky.
Focus on people
Spatial design – the approach that incorporates experience design and digital media – has found its way into interior design. It gives greater consideration to human needs and integrates them into the design of the building. Using specific design strategies and design psychologies, spatial design influences the way we feel and the extent to which we enjoy living in a space.
Digital installations as a design element such as ASB DigitalWallpaper are performing a delicate balancing act: rather than using screens to show news or advertising, they integrate digital hardware behind glass and thereby give people a unique experience of spaces that were previously far more one-dimensional.
Author: Bernadette Trepte