Space10 counts AI as a collaborator on Sofa in an Envelope prototype

The AI ​​acted as a “inventive collaborator” in a challenge by way of IKEA’s Space10 analysis lab and Panter & Tourron design studio to reinvent the settee as a light-weight, foldable seating design.

The ensuing prototype, known as Sofa in an Envelope, weighs lower than 10 kilograms and folds right into a vacuum-sealed bag very similar to an outsized buying groceries bag that may be carried house by way of one particular person with one hand.

The challenge stems from the purpose of subverting expectancies on settee design, which the studios noticed as restricting the product class to huge and ponderous items.

Photo of the Space10 Couch in an Envelope prototype displayed at an exhibition
The settee in an envelope was once designed to be light-weight and foldable

Via designing sofas essentially for convenience, they felt the designers have been additionally making the goods a burden.

Space10 and Panter & Tourron sought after to create one thing extra sustainable, cellular, adaptable and sociable, and so they sought after to problem synthetic intelligence (AI) to do the similar.

“This challenge began in an effort to problem problematic design archetypes,” stated Space10 manufacturer Georgina McDonald.

“As beloved because the settee is, it’s regularly a pressure on folks on account of its weight, the planet on account of its design intricacies, and a burden on buddies who generously assist us get round.”

Renderings showing many different possible sofa configurations in one envelope
The settee may also be tailored in lots of configurations

The studios labored with AI systems Midjourney and Runway, which generate pictures from herbal language descriptions, in addition to the ChatGPT chatbot in creating the settee earlier than in the end turning it right into a bodily prototype.

McDonald’s to begin with experimented with the usage of ChatGPT to reply to the query, “May a sofa are compatible in an envelope.”

After finding that the chatbot lacked the creativeness to suppose past strict definitions of “sofa” and “envelope,” it teamed up with Panter & Tourron to peer if AI might be triggered to suppose out of doors the field.

Two sofas by Space10 on a green background
A number of sofas may also be mixed to create a bigger floor house

Panter & Tourron approached the challenge via two intersecting paths: the primary the usage of their very own sketches and the second one the usage of generative AI, principally Runway, to create pictures.

To start with, they discovered the AI ​​annoyingly restrictive: any use of the phrase “sofa” would all the time go back the similar archetypal shapes they have been seeking to steer clear of.

However transferring directly to selection ideas like “platform,” “light-weight,” “sustainable,” “simple to transport,” and “dialog pit,” the effects started to modify.

AI-generated visualizations of a green sofa that doesn't follow the conventions of a sofa
An AI has get a hold of masses of iterations of the design

In the end, the designers ended up the usage of a brand new function introduced all through the challenge that allowed them to coach their very own customized type the usage of their renders as a dataset.

The AI ​​would then generate permutations on those pictures, the designers would iterate, and a collaborative cycle could be created.

The general design is composed of a inexperienced seating gadget on a flat platform with skinny foam-padded seats and modular, folding “wings” that may function backrests and armrests or as a bookend.

McDonald says AI acted as a “inventive collaborator” at the Sofa in an Envelope challenge and a “visible tick list” that allowed studios to verify they regarded as a variety of seating positions, makes use of , shapes and extra.

Then again, the era proved much less helpful when it got here to different elements corresponding to subject matter composition, even supposing that capability would possibly come one day.

For instance, her responses to the “sustainable” advised sound like simplest sustainable merchandise however would possibly not use extra sustainable fabrics.

Right here, the challenge’s human designers stepped in and selected an aluminum base, mycelium foam cushions, and cellulose-based 3-D mesh for the upholstery in order that the product was once absolutely recyclable.

Rendering by Space10 showing many Couch in an Envelope packages stacked on a pallet for transportation
The skinny and light-weight design would make the transportation extra sustainable

After her enjoy on Sofa in an Envelope, McDonald says she’s now not enthusiastic about letting AI design with out human intervention and thinks the price of human designers is of their innate subjectivity.

“Why will have to a automobile have extra enjoy?” he instructed Dezeen. “A automobile hasn’t ever sat on a sofa earlier than. It is by no means cried on a sofa earlier than. It does not know what it looks like, so it would simplest get us to this point on this specific factor.”

“The gadget is an accumulation of everybody’s emotions. And I do not believe the typical of an accumulation will have to be the item that dictates what is true or true.”

Rendering of the packaging design for the Couch in an Envelope project, showing a large white vacuum bag with a rectangular shape inside it
The settee is vacuum sealed in a bag so that you can take house

The Sofa in an Envelope prototype was once exhibited at Space10’s Design within the Age of AI exhibition on the 3 Days of Design competition in Copenhagen. This can be a speculative challenge and there are recently no plans to place the settee into manufacturing.

Space10 is a Copenhagen-based analysis and design laboratory taking part with Swedish furnishings producer IKEA.

Whilst the studio is simply beginning to paintings with AI, its earlier idea designs come with concepts for a way AI might be included into furnishings and design, together with in Updateables, a challenge that envisions an app for recycling drained furnishings.

3 Days of Design came about within the Copenhagen venues from 7 to 9 June 2023. Take a look at the Dezeen Occasions Information for info, in addition to a listing of different structure and design occasions going down around the globe.

Representation by way of Selina Yau


This text is a part of Dezeen’s AItopia collection, which explores the affect of synthetic intelligence (AI) on design, structure and humanity, each now and one day.

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