Developing a graphic language for the era of crowd culture
In today’s digital era, everything from the places we eat, the destinations we travel to, and the places we work seem to be an opportunity to share our experiences with others across the globe. The architectural, interior design and real estate industry is not immune by the social media phenomenon that is rapidly sweeping through every aspect of our lives.
In today’s competitive market, real estate developers are approaching projects from a new angle. They are trying to not only create rentable spaces to maximize their return, they are also looking for experiential opportunities to capture their “social” return online. By creating feature murals, iconic sculptures or civic installations, they seek to find an anchor that pulls visitors into their projects in order to create “shareable” moments that help them build brand equity across social media. Branding buildings, districts and neighborhoods has become integral to the success of any project.
Challenges for Interior Designers
Traditionally, designers used to work closely with their clients to help them understand and develop an informative, well-structured and comprehensive design brief. The goal was to utilize most of the floor plate in order to maximize capacity and productivity. Now, the model has changed quite a bit. Clients want spaces that feel honest and comfortable so their employees can socialize, buildings are creating amenity spaces to maintain tenants in the building socializing, and developers are activating the outdoors to pull in visitors to create shareable moments.
This new layer to designing spaces creates a new set of challenges. This digital ecosystem has been around but it wasn’t until Instagram and Pinterest, when clients started seeing the power of the crowd culture. Clients now understand how the digital extension of their project can enhance and build brand equity in order to maintain relevance and front page on the latest social feed. This challenges architects and interior designers to find new ways to enhance spaces. The new goal is to create ‘moments’. This approach has allowed for more cross discipline collaborations between developers, architects, visual artists, fine artists, and media artists. We see a lot of more interest in shaping spaces graphically to tell a story, or murals to memorialize the history of the building. We feel this approach has created a lot more interest in the power of design and how consumers are focused on the experience consumption. This is great news for the industry as it creates more interest to invigorate spaces and shape more experiences worthy of sharing.
Social media has become integral to not only our daily lives but also has transformed the business narrative with the open public. These platforms have allowed people to consume, learn and adopt a further sense of design and how they want it to be part of their lives. Clients are more aware how social media can impact visibility and they look for ways to create a sense of “shareability” in their projects. Sharing provides brands with an excellent opportunity to connect with a highly-engaged social community through influencer marketing strategy.
As designers, we understand that our work now has a lot more visibility and people interact with our details and gestures more often. Whether it’s a ceiling condition, reception desk, feature wall, signage, wayfinding, mural, sculpture or media installation, our work has a lot more extension into the world through social media and we must have some awareness that all this work will be out there and maybe we can use this platform as an opportunity to build better spatial experiences with the potential for it to be shared will people across the globe.