“I don’t know; it’s hard for me to picture it.”
If Curtis Popp and Dustin Littrell of architecture and interior design firm Popp Littrell had a nickel for every time they heard that…
Luckily, they’re hearing it a whole lot less these days, since the Oak Park-based duo integrated virtual reality capabilities into their repertoire. Using 3D Building Information Modeling software, Google Cardboard virtual reality goggles and a smartphone, Popp and Littrell can transform their on-screen designs into immersive, to-scale experiences for their clients to “walk” through in a matter of minutes.
“This virtual reality viewing option allows our clients to experience the design, materiality, furniture and fabrics in the space before anything has been built or purchased,” says Littrell. “It’s a critical tool for us in the design process.”
This capability proved to be pivotal for Scott’s Seafood owner John Cook, whose confidence in Popp Littrell’s design for the new location of the Folsom restaurant went through the roof after his VR walkthrough. “I liked seeing all the floor finishes and fabrics and getting a feel for how spacious or tight certain areas were—it really feels like reality,” says Cook.
“His demeanor completely changed,” says Popp. “He went from talking and asking questions to dead silence and amazement.
Dustin Littrell discusses plans
“In our opinion, this has been the most significant advancement in our profession since AutoCAD came along and replaced hand drafting,” he adds. If this sounds like a high-tech, pricey upsell, prepare to be shocked (in a good way): The only “cost” for the client is the price of the goggles—a negligible $16—which they can take home and use with their phone to view their project at their leisure.
The only drawback? It feels so real that some people have been known to experience motion sickness.
This photo and below; Below and after from digital to reality, parklet outside 1801L St.