When the Washington, D.C.–based tech startup Visidraft launched its app-based visualization software in May, its goal was for architects and clients to use the tool to collaborate within CAD to see how products like furniture and finishes would look in a space. As the team quickly found, architects didn't want to give clients that much access or spend too much time accommodating yet another software plug-in.
“We found, despite how secure the platform is, some firms did not want to mix their internal model handling with Visidraft,” the startup's founder Andrew Kemendo wrote in an email to ARCHITECT, adding that users found the process of going to the website to upload renderings and install a Revit plugin to be too time-consuming. “We heard frequently that Visidraft would ‘over communicate’ to the client—that is, show the client more than the architect wanted them to see,” Kemendo says. “Given that the whole purpose was to grow communication, there was an obvious mismatch.”
So, the startup changed its approach and last week re-launched as Pair. The new iOS app has the same capabilities of Visidraft but also features a product catalog and the ability to share designs. Pair's primary function is enabling users to position furnishings and appliances in augmented reality. The catalog contains more than 250 products from manufacturers including Herman Miller, OFS, and OpenDesk. Users can select from the product options in Pair’s catalog, import 3D models of the furnishings into their virtual environment, share their layouts through email and social media, and purchase products from within the app.
Kemendo says he expects the app's new catalog feature to be used largely by consumers. He also envisions it as a sales tool for designers to pitch products to clients. Along with the catalog, the startup also debuted Pair Maker, a feature that allows users to upload their own 3D models and, in the future, will enable their designs to be publicly available within the app.
Going forward, Kemendo hopes to expand Pair's product offerings to include artwork, decor, flooring material, and other accessories to broaden the user experience.
Check out other augmented and virtual reality apps for design and construction.