Interior architects are trained to define the quality of spaces in the ‘physical world’. However, could they be the ones to lead the way how virtual spaces are going to look like and even more important: how they are going to feel like?

While Virtual Reality (VR) has been one of the most emerging fields in creative industries in recent years, most of the digitally created spaces today are ‘look alike’. They copy the parameters of the physical into the virtual. This is about to change as more and more VR content will require a distinct environment that is unlike a ‘fake replica’ of the physical world we live in. New archetypes of spaces are emerging within VR with the opportunity for interior architects to invent and to create them.

‘Space Duality’ as part of the USM Design Grant was set up as a semester project in the department of Interior Architecture at HEAD, Geneva School of Art and Design. A group of twelve Bachelor students developed seven projects offering completely new space related experiences that are immersive and deeply emotional. Entering the different VR projects while being placed inside or on top of built furnitures does transfer the viewer into an unseen environment full of surprises. While some of the projects have an enchanted charm about them, others challenge us on how we would define what ‘interior spaces’ are in general.

The seven projects of SPACE DUALITY are based on three major positions:
-they aim to create new visual typologies of interior space in VR without direct relations to known physical references
-the design of the virtual spaces are based on emotional narratives that would route the experience
-each project proposes a physical piece of furniture that provokes a body position that aims to support the immersion of the chosen emotion

When we started with investigations of VR technologies and case studies, we visited content creators and technology providers in Switzerland. We realized hat the relationship between the perception of VR spaces and physical being provided a unique opportunity to enhance the immersion of the experience.

The design of the virtual spaces were created, tested and realized in Unity with HTC Vive headsets. The physical objects were prototyped, tested and built with support of the schools workshops.

Finally the seven projects were arranged into one consistent exhibition layout and design. The camouflage appearance of the installation visualizes how the design of the objects relate to the VR world were they can only be felt, not seen.