Cynthia Tripp Brings Virtual Reality to Designers
by Ava Burke | Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 2 Comments
Designer Cynthia Tripp’s latest venture, “Tripp’s Department Store,” will offer architects, designers, and manufacturers a unique and potentially game-changing new tool: the capability to construct, experience, and share full-scale, immersive virtual reality models of their projects. Powered by cutting-edge IC.IDO (“I See I Do”) imaging software by ESI Group—whose clientele in the aerospace and automotive industries includes such brands as Boeing, Ford, and Mercedes Benz—Tripp’s Department Store will allow CAD drawings of everything from individual products to entire rooms to be projected on a 1:1 scale and manipulated in real time. Tripp describes the space as “a cross between an Apple store and a traditional merchandise mart,” since clients will be able to rent the “Department Store” space for design sessions, with the option of bringing their own renderings to the table and/or shopping from the store’s virtual stock of materials and products from participating manufacturers.
After a blockbuster preview at NeoCon this June, Tripp and her team have given a series of demonstrations to such major players as Steelcase, Knoll, Haworth, and Herman Miller, and are in talks to join forces with Kimball International as the store’s first major client.
The Chicago flagship space, slated to open in October, may borrow its old-school name and logo from Tripp’s great-great grandfather’s flesh-and-blood edifice, but it heralds a future far beyond the windy city: “I’d like to have stores in every major city over the next five years,” Tripp says. An international fleet of stores will allow clients to hold live remote meetings across continents, in which each party can walk through and alter their full-scale 3D renderings in real time. Such meetings will offer significant benefits for large-scale projects, since clients can tweak and approve room designs virtually before time and money is spent on a physical prototype. Enthuses Tripp of the software’s virtual reality chops, “You can sit in the bathtub, you can move furniture, you can look under the bed—you can even stir a cup of coffee on the table!”