Chennai-based interior design startup uses AR to help users visualize decor
When we decide to design or renovate our rooms, our workspaces, our homes, we try to choose the colors, the furniture and the decoration. But, the choice is not easy without visualization.
What if we could virtually see what a place would look like with a certain type of setting? Chennai-based Pixel and Mortar solves this problem by helping users visualize interior settings using an augmented reality platform.
Founded in 2020 by Siddharth Chandrashekar,develop a platform that allows users to combine digital and physical, enabling a world where a skilled interior designer creates mood boards to understand user preferences, then suggests furniture, rugs, wallpapers, lamps, furniture, etc.
Image Credit: Pixel and Mortar
The platform will allow users to see exactly what their bedroom décor will look like in 3D, and will also allow them to replace and rearrange them as needed.
Talk to Your story, Siddharth reveals that the end-to-end AR platform is expected to go live in early 2022. Over 30 leading furniture and home decor brands online have already signed up to offer their inventory through this platform.
Siddharth has always been interested in the arts and the visuals. He worked as a film publicist for over 100 films over a decade and a half, and also directed a South Indian film.
In 1997, he launched Mitrra Media, a design agency that provides artistic, innovative and product-based design services for small and medium-sized businesses. In 2013, he launched an experiential space design firm, Pencil and Monk, an interior design firm specializing in customizing personal spaces, from budget homes to luxurious hospitality projects.
“As part of this business, I started working on a lot of houses and realized the desirability of this space, but there are a lot of costs involved. I also realized that one can think visually, but it might not be possible to present it in words. The problem people face is not being able to express their needs. We started to work on a principle of design-thinking to understand the customer’s point of view, to understand their point of view, identify the problem, and then provide the solution, ”Siddharth told YourStory Media.
He adds that amid COVID-19 lockdowns, the demand for interior design increased further as people were locked in the house all day. However, the main challenge was that even if they were interested in doing renovations, it involved very high costs. This led to a new solution: design by room, not by house.
Illustration: YS Design
Use augmented reality
Siddharth explains that while working on a project, a designer should research furniture, select the best, put it on software, create the design layout, and then put in price details. A designer bills the client for this entire process.
The idea was to reduce the time taken by the designer to complete this whole process., thus reducing the cost. Other than that, there are different types of furniture available but the challenge lies in visualizing which one will best suit its place.
With Pixel and Mortar, the team is leverage AR to create a platform that will help put furniture, rugs, paint, decor, and more together. in the room and show users a 3D model what that would look like in real life.
“Due to the need to work from home amid the pandemic, people also had to set up workstations, a suitable background for Zoom calls, among others. Apart from that, many people have returned to their hometowns amid the closures caused by the pandemic where they are embracing the idea of home improvement and interior design to suit their lifestyle. This is pushing demand in Tier II and III cities, ”he says.
Siddharth explained it with Pixel and Mortar, the idea is not only to decorate new houses but also to remodel existing rooms, places as needed. It allows people to design maybe one or two rooms according to their needs. People can also offer renovated rooms to friends or family members at low cost.
Image Credit: Pixel and Mortar
Business and projects
Speaking of the business model, Siddharth explains that the startup will charge users a fee for interior design services. It will also operate on a commission model with the vendors providing the furniture and decor.
“For independent vendors, implementing an AR platform to present their product as a 3D model to users can be a costly affair. But under Pixel and Mortar, all the vendors come together and put their products in the room and build the 3D model, reducing costs, ”he explains.
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, interiors and home renovations in India are estimated at between $ 20 billion and $ 30 billion. Other notable players such as Livspace, HomeLane, Bonito Designs, Infurnia among others also work in this sector.
Siddharth explains that the seeded startup has already developed the platform and is currently testing it. He adds that the designers have already been onboarded and are currently undergoing training to use the platform.
Scheduled to be launched commercially in early 2022, the startup aims to “achieve 50,000 rooms in the first year and one crore of coins over the next five years.“
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