top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdrian Ramsay

AI: Design for the Future

AI is a hot topic across many industries, and architecture and design are no exception. The integration of AI into these creative fields has raised concerns about the future of the industry, and the role that human design plays in the world of advanced technology.

Many creatives believe that design is safe in the short-term, as it demands creative and social intelligence which requires empathy, problem framing, creative problem solving, negotiation and persuasion.

It’s safe to say that design, especially in the domestic landscape, is personal and benefits from the human interaction that can permit the designer to understand and work with client factors such as personality, emotional connection and empathy, and cultural values. Choosing the right architect or designer is about synergy, a mastermind effect of combined minds and shared energy.

This creates a “magic” that AI simply can’t replicate. At least, not yet!

What’s Happening Now?

AI has already entered the creative class with the promise that ‘if you can imagine it, you can make it happen’.

Mattel is using AI tech for product design, while Nestle has used an AI-retouched Vermeer painting for the graphic design of its product marketing.

ChatGPT, the advanced language model developed by OpenAI, has gained the most widespread attention. There are an estimated 96 million users per month, at the time of this writing, due to its impressive capability to generate human-like written responses and copy. Users are now working with it to enhance human output and creativity across multiple domains including education, customer support, entertainment and content creation.

Via complex machine-learning algorithms, AI-based image generators like DALL-E 2 (another development by OpenAI) and Midjourney are also becoming increasingly popular with DALL-E 2’s 1.5 million users generating 2 million images daily, and Midjourney’s official Discord Server hosting 3 million members. With the input of a few chosen words, artworks, imagery and graphics can be created to depict anything your imagination allows for.

So what can we expect from AI technology in architecture and design moving forward?

Generative Design

Generative design leverages AI algorithms to generate various iterations that meet specific constraints or requirements with just a few clicks, saving time and increasing productivity.

It can be used to create complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to design using traditional methods, such as mimicking natural forms. Generative design can be applied at different stages of the process; from initial concept development, through to detailed design and construction phases. It can also be used to analyse factors such as lighting, ventilation and thermal comfort to optimise building performance.

Architects, builders and designers can use the tools to explore creative solutions for energy efficiency, material usage, and ergonomic design that lend to sustainable and functional living spaces. It’s a promising area of research that has potential to transform the way we design and build not only our homes and buildings but our communities and cities.

Digital Twin Technology

Referencing a virtual representation of a physical object, process or system, digital twin technology allows for the creation of a real-time simulation that mimics the behaviour of its physical counterpart.

Imagine the possibilities for engineers, architects and designers to study and optimise existing buildings, homes and system performance, maintenance and operation? To stimulate the performance of any structure under various conditions, including wind loads, earthquake forces and extreme natural weather events and identify issues and allow for optimisation of new structures even before a build or design begins, has tremendous potential advantages globally.

Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM), an aspect of digital twin technology, is a process that involves creating a digital representation of a building or structure that includes detailed information about its components, materials and systems. It allows for visualisation and analysis of the building’s energy consumption, water usage and environmental impact.

Through the creation of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), experienced designers and architects are able to explore and interact with the design to make informed decisions around just about everything for optimisation.

AI-Enhanced Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Platforms

Australian architects and designers are using these platforms for better collaboration and communication. Clients can visualise and interact with their future homes and building projects in a realistic and immersive way, to make modifications easier and more efficient.

AI-Powered Interior Design Apps

Far from being the apps that may put interior designers out of business with their increased popularity, these are enabling new ideas for the design of living spaces and can be a great tool for designers to identify and mitigate challenges in interior living spaces. The apps use AI algorithms to analyse user preferences, styles and layouts that generate options that can fit a client’s needs and preferences, saving time and money for the design team, and the clients.

The Future of Design with AI

Okay, so, designers will no longer hold a monopoly, if that were ever true, on being the most creative person in the room. Much like the world famous chefs giving away their trade secrets on cooking shows and reality TV all over the world to stay competitive, designers may just need to gain additional knowledge and expertise to use the tools to enhance their creativity, perhaps leading to more exotic specialisations or multidisciplinary concepts.

There is no doubt that AI will become an integral part of the design process moving forward, providing fresh ideas, concepts, abilities and efficiencies, to make designs, and designers, even better.

Problem-solving technologies could help designers look at issues from different angles and recommend and incorporate a mix of frameworks for better efficiency. A/B testing robots could keep an eye out for small changes that give designs a big boost.

The ability to automate tasks and streamline tasks will result in further efficiency and enhanced collaboration between professionals and clients.

Overall, AI technology will allow for the creation of more sustainable, efficient and resilient structures that can better withstand the challenges of the modern world.

Far from putting designers out of a job, AI will actually open up a world of possibilities, especially for shaping the interactions we have with the new and improved, or yet to be designed, AI systems. Designers, architects and builders will need to contribute to the capabilities of these AI design tools, to develop the smart services and platforms that will shape the industry’s future, so they add to our creativity, strengthen our bond with the world and landscape, and make the design world even more human.

The hiring of the right architects and designers to guide the creative journey will always be essential, and the tools they use to enhance the journey, including AI, will also speak to the synergy between creator and client.

That’s a big challenge and a super exciting chance for us, and the next generation of up-and-coming designers.

Learn More

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Rodrigo Rabaco for my TalkDesign podcast series. Rodrigo is a multidisciplinary digital designer based in Brisbane, with 20+ years of experience creating communication pieces and marketing campaigns across several industries. We talked about all things design, including how he views AI for the future of the design industry.

And check out my other blogs that look at technology and how it’s impacting the design and architecture space:

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page