The 9 R’s in Interior Architecture

While the new Finnish Building Act brings long awaited regulations and sustainability tools for the construction industry, interior design is still for the most parts left beyond their reach. In the long run, the governmental controlling means will likely cover the material-intense field of interior design, but there is a need to look for ecology means elsewhere while waiting.

In the spring of 2023,  Circular Design training program of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment trained experts from various fields according to circular design principles. With the program’s emphasis on product design, service providers are still left with on their own. Delightfully, practical sustainability tools are being developed also for interior designers. Materialisting, for example, has developed an enabling tool based on Environmental Product Declarations to especially meet the needs of the interior designers.

While the common indicators for sustainability are being developed, offers circular economy the best models for doing the daily work of an interior designer more sustainably. The R-rule, named after the re-prefixes, is a clear framework for circular economy and is based on the idea of roughly ranking the variety of circularity actions. The primary rule is to refuse of anything unnecessary. In ideal situation, projects with low ambition on carbon reduction and circular economy targets should be refused. Accustomed patterns of thought and action should also be questioned. For example, different models of the sharing economy can be utilized in space planning, and the leasing model is taking the field by storm.

Artificial intelligence will also provide thrilling possibilities for the rethink-strategy. The depletion of natural resources can be reduced through resource efficiency. As interior architects, we can approach this rule by asking if the wanted result can be achieved by doing less in terms of weight, quality, and quantity. The digitalization, accelerated by the covid pandemic, also opens opportunities for resource efficiency from multiple points of views, although it must be remembered that the digital technologies are not matter- nor energy-free solutions.

The final R strategies related to the utilization of the material often require industrial processes. From an interior architect’s perspective, these strategies are strongly emphasized in common discussion and when choosing materials. Repurposed and recycled materials are, for example, self-evident options for textiles. What is concerning, is that the emphasis lies  heavily on these last in order strategies, which flips the order of the R-rule around. This must quickly be switched to match the ideal order of the model. The value of many commonly used interior materials decrease during the recycling processes, and in the absence of practical models and processes, the “100% recyclable”-labelled materials are often actually being recovered into energy through burning. How the EU directive on Green Claims takes the recyclability claims into account remains to be seen.

Interior architects and designers play a key role in the circular economy transition. The most influential change starts between the ears and is transformed into smarter ways of production and use of materials through the designers’ work. The circular economy of the built environment can be further improved by enhancing the flow of information between the different stakeholders and within the field by the practitioners. Circular economy requires services, training, innovations, change of attitude and seamless co-operation across industry boundaries.

For sustainability issues, please contact our sustainability coordinator Sisko Anttalainen: sisko.anttalainen@fyra.fi, tel. +358 40 7482554.


Artificial Intelligence

We are now, once again at a pivoting point in our technological development, and it’s happening at a lightning speed. At Fyra we closely follow recent tech innovations, to be sure that our spaces are built in accordance with them and to offer our clients the extra value they deserve.
This one got our hearts beating – generative AI will inevitably affect every creative field, including interior design. Fully completed images of interiors and architecture can now be created in a matter of minutes.

Just have a look at those examples we created with the text-to-image generator, Midjourney V5.

Generally, AI is said to affect 300 million jobs,  but hold your panic. AI isn’t going to take the jobs of all the designers and architects away, but it will definitely affect our workflow the way we know it.

Looking through a positive lens, imagine how much creativity and critical thinking can be unleashed, when mundane tasks can be outsourced to a machine. When that right inspirational image is literally at your fingertips.
Generative AI can be the best co-pilot in reaching initial understanding between parties, who can now just type-out into pixels how they would see the space come to life.

To take the concept of reading each other’s minds even further, a couple of graduate students in Osaka University, Japan, completed a project, where AI was diffusing images, directly from the human brain, depicting in blurred but accurate visuals what participants were seeing in their heads. Before we know if, we will be able to upload our dreams directly to Instagram!

And it doesn’t stop at text-to-image, soon enough we’ll make videos and 3D models from text prompts, as technologies like Picassso from Nvidia will become available to public

Therefore, testing concepts and ideas will happen much faster, resulting in more well-thought and balanced final solutions. Data for the Define phase of the design work would also be much easier obtained and analyzed with the help of the AI-powered copilots blooming in every possible existing platform from Microsoft office to your favorite browser.

Apart from direct professional help, think how much more eager an Architect would be to meet with a demanding Client on monday morning, after a truly peaceful weekend at home, while AI has taken care of taxes, training planning and weekly shopping arrangements

Of course, everything has its price.There is a reason world leaders are calling for a hold on the public deployment of AI tools. Lots of work needs to be done in regards of regulating and safe integration of AI in our lives, and even then there are inevitable drawbacks

As the development of the mobile internet affected our attention span, generative AI can take it even further, by stripping humanity of remaining sanity and critical thinking.
Yet, if managed well,  it can also help us solve our most serious problems, tackling climate change, democratizing education and medicine.

Either way, the irreversible process has started,  huge changes are coming to every aspect of our life. Let’s embrace it, be optimistic and proactive and let’s make it work!

If you want to explore the AI possibilities in your projects or just to hear more, please contact Marina, our Digital Development Lead, at marina@fyra.fi or +48664534105.