AI Interior Design Diaries – Post 1
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help designers visualize established interior design styles better in a number of ways.
One way this is possible is because AI can analyze and understand the characteristics of different design styles from photos. In this case the AI was asked to produce a generic image of a living room in the Art Deco style.
The AI I used was Midjourney, and like other AIs like DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion, it has been trained on libraries of real Art Deco rooms. Because of this store of visual knowledge it can apply it in order to understand how to read the use of specific colors, patterns and materials that would be typically found in this style.
If it sounds like the way we learn, it basically is! Instead of the processes our human brains use, AI uses machine learning algorithms. These can analyze and classify different design styles based on their characteristics and the AI can later use this knowledge to generate its own visualizations.
In this series I’d like to explain how using AI in the design process can help designers to more easily identify and understand the features that define a particular style, like Art Deco interior design style, and to better visualize how to incorporate these elements into their own designs.
The visualizations that AI renders are not exact “how to’s”, and when you look closely, you will spot that some things are “off”. Nonetheless, they contain some incredible stylistic information and often a high degree of creativity. These images should thus be seen as suggestions for how to incorporate these style elements into into a design and not a strict or rigid design idea. In the design process I think of them as being the style conception board.
Where interior design professionals once threw moodboards together and called it a day, the cool kids are now creating AI renderings according to their initial research and asking AI to give a preview of what it might look like.
The way that it works is that AI will offer four initial ideas in large thumbnails, as shown in the four generic Art Deco images above. After viewing these first images, it is then up to the designer to decide what they like about what AI has produced, and what they’d like to change. Designers can select the designs they’d like to scale up, or continue to refine their ideas by ‘teaching’ the AI to change aspects of the design, producing more examples of certain images with slight differences. They can start over with a different prompt.
AI programs like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are already starting to help designers more easily and accurately visualize existing styles. This gives designers valuable insights they need to better understand and replicate these styles in their own work.
I hope after reading this you can appreciate for yourself how good AI is at creating original design in a specific style.
In this second set of Art Deco-inspired images, I asked the AI to create a contemporary version of the Art Deco style utilizing some key elements, such as geometric shapes and solid classic modern furniture. I also specified warm and contrasting tones.
The top left result is interesting because in that image the AI chose to interpret “render” to produce what looks like a hand-drawn rendering like interior designers have to do in design school. This type of image is a charming result and it could totally come in useful if you want to give your client something that appears to have a personal touch.
But how did AI do with the prompt? Remember, Art Deco is the most important style of interior design from the 1920s and 1930s. It’s the style you might be familiar in recent memory from the movies, Titanic and the Great Gatsby.
This style always presents with bold, geometric shapes and patterns, and there is liberal use of materials such as stainless steel, glass, and lacquer. Art Deco was significantly influenced by some important modern artistic movements, like Art Nouveau, Cubism, and Futurism.
I don’t know about you, but I can see a lot of modern visual influence in these examples. I can also see some similarities to Art Nouveau architecture and art, plenty of Cubist influence, and even some similarities to the Hollywood Regency style, which extended all the way into the fifties, almost thirty years later.
Like the Eiffel Tower, which was intended to be a temporary structure, and then was never taken down, tthe Art Deco style was first popularized at a trade show. This new way of looking at the world, which ignored classical motifs and prefered angles and geometry, was brought into the public consciousness by way of the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris.
Some common features of Art Deco interiors we should be aware of include the use of bold, geometric patterns in wallpaper, textiles, and flooring; the incorporation of metallic accents such as chrome and stainless steel; and the use of luxe materials such as marble, glass, and lacquer.
Art Deco interiors are rich and highly decorated, and as you can see from these examples, that is exactly how the AI decided to portray the style. This style wasn’t modern enough yet to shun excess ornamentation; that school of thought still came much later. Even so, the seeds of modern are all here.
Rooms in this style tend to be eclectic if they are heavy in tone and eclectic-modern if they are lighter.
These rooms are usually known for their dramatic use of color and contrast and rich ornamentation. Though Art Deco is pre-modern, the style will often have a modern look and feel. While the heavy ornamentation evident in the style is beautiful, these would make better fantasy interiors than everyday designs for residential clients.
Until you use these for mood boards! There’s a lot of inspiration here, wouldn’t you agree?
Perhaps these beautiful AI designs will populate the interior worlds of the Metaverse someday. I’m sure I would visit Art Deco World. How about you?
See you in the next one!
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