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Our new creative ally? Embracing AI in the design world

We take a look at what this rapidly emerging technology could mean for the creative industries.

31. 01. 24

When we asked three leading interior designers for their predictions for the year ahead, it was unsurprising that AI featured in their roundups. Using artificial intelligence tools for product and interior design is increasingly common, so it feels like the right time to take a look at what this rapidly emerging technology could mean for the creative industries.

AI and generative design come together to add something significant, and exciting, to the creative process - allowing for increased levels of personalisation and bespoke design, and delivering numerous options in response to prompts from experienced design or manufacturing teams. We’re thinking of it as an assistant rather than a replacement - we’re already comfortable with using everything from Photoshop to computer rendering tools as part of the furniture design process, and this new wave of tech will add a different dimension over the coming years. It’s a way to brainstorm, a starting point for product and interior design that injects efficiency and helps us get to the part we love more quickly - discussing and refining ideas with colleagues, clients and partners and delivering a stronger product as a result.

We expected that our campaign for HIX 2023 would include some novel takes on hotel interiors, new materials and more - when you're working with three brilliant design studios, you know that the end result will be pretty special. But we didn't expect to be quite so cutting edge - Bell & Swift really embraced the future-facing theme of the hotel industry event by using AI technology for a key element of their lobby design.

Bell & Swift's HIX 2023 stand.

Conscious that there's a lot of negativity around AI and what it will mean for creatives, the team explored how they could use it as a tool and harness it for good, bringing together a recycled structure, eco-friendly materials and AI-generated fabrics to create statement pieces - a compact sofa and accompanying dog bed.

We were keen to see how Bell & Swift made use of AI to generate the fabric design and dog bed - the team told us that it was a fun way to work, with some fairly off-the-wall designs thrown up as part of the process! This is a new kind of creative collaboration - figuring out which prompts to use, how to refine the results and narrow down the options.

Bell & Swift's AI-generated fabric designs.

A new kind of creative collaboration.

Visual designer Ariadna Giménez uses AI to generate colourful, organic designs inspired by Antoni Gaudí. Her images suggest what the Catalan architect’s work might look like if he was still working today - the Gaudism Instagram account has over 120K followers, suggesting that the software is hitting the mark in delivering designs that resonate and inspire.

Image: Ariadna Giménez -

Image: Ariadna Giménez -

There’s real potential to use AI in our bespoke furniture design - whether it’s creating a super-sized sofa for a university student lounge or standout seating for a destination shopping centre, our bespoke business is growing and it’s an important part of what we offer. New tools could allow us to generate multiple iterations of a design and get to a visualisation stage with clients more quickly. From there, our experienced team will review and hone the design, considering fabrics and finishes, adjusting sizing and considering the practical elements too, in order to deliver something that’s just right for the space. We’ll use our experience and knowledge to build on what the AI tools generate rather than simply approving a finished product.

Our L-shaped sofa for Regent's University London, created using AI.

Despite the deep-fake bad press (Tom Cruise is particularly uncanny) and worries over how it will affect education and jobs, overall we're pretty excited about the potential to use AI as a creative tool - the release of The Beatles' last single showed how this emerging technology could bring us one more song featuring all four members. Film director Peter Jackson worked on the track, employing the same AI technology that was used in his documentary Get Back to clean up and separate voices in archival recordings. Now and Then is poignant, emotional and we loved it - hearing John Lennon's vocals alongside his bandmates more than 40 years after his death is something special and shows how much machine learning has to offer.

To keep up to date with our latest collection and new additions to our contract furniture range, join our mailing list and look out for our regular email newsletters, or follow us on Instagram.

Main image: Ariadna Giménez.

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