How Software Fundamentally Changed Design: Eric Safyan
“If you don’t see the technology, I did my job,” says Ralph Jacobus, who has developed a way to change interior design at the press of a button. Ramenwerk, his company, makes interiors more flexible without altering the original vision. “The architect envisions the room,” says Jacobus. “I help integrate the technology.”
Jacobus, a self-described IT guy from the software industry, worked with Eric Safyan / Architect to create Dassara in Brooklyn, New York. The has screen technology that enables the owners to alter the space on a whim, or business decision. Projectors and color LEDs hidden in the ceiling and an 80-inch TV hidden behind a 90-inch, two-way mirror make it easy for Dassara to go from sake bar to art gallery to sports bar on the occasion of a game that would draw customers.
“It’s an atmospheric effect,” says Safyan. The lights are programmed to run background color in correlation with what’s on the screen. For regular dinner service, the backdrop is low key, subtle, a changing display of art on a 21-by-4-foot wall. A static image can run as well. For art events or sports the colors are amped.
“It’s not a disco light,” says Jacobus. “It adds color to a room so images seem more vibrant.” Sound has also been well considered here: a music system is part of the overall technology, controlled via a tablet or a remote.
Safyan’s team designed options for the owners. Once a layout, materials and overall aesthetic were agreed upon, Jacobus was brought in to talk ceiling height and wainscoting angles (which give best, most even light?). The design evolved, changing to accommodate the technology.
There’s even a chandelier whose LED orbs are controlled by the software. Jacobus is working to standardize the technology as much as possible, and eventually it will work like the cloud concept—local intelligence transferred to central intelligence so there’s always monitoring and support.
The future of design undoubtedly includes extending the design process to the fabric of a building’s code.