The newly opened, state-of-the-art Kabuni design studio in Vancouver has an app that matches clients in need of interior design and furnishing expertise with those very designers and experts. The app’s algorithms also create connections between designers and local artists, or what the company calls “makers”; architects, realtors, and clients are all welcome, as well. It is, in sum, a design studio and also a community-building device, creating all kinds of connections, and, as CEO and founder Neil Patel says, “helping build better homes for people.”
Interior designers and artists can come to the studio, spend creative time there, and actually meet potential clients—homeowners who have come through the process of having their wish-lists customized by the app, which in turn matches them with an appropriate professional. “We want this to be a creative, energizing experience for everyone,” Patel says. Local artists are also featured, on a rotating basis, in the studio, and home décor items created by Vancouver artisans are available for purchase through the app, as well.
The 3,000-square-foot space has plenty of flexible seating and desk configurations, giant-screen Apple Macs with the very latest design technologies loaded in, multi-touch tables to aid and abet the design process, and, at the centre of it all, a 3-D Dream Room, in which clients and their designers can use holographic imaging to decorate any space they wish. Patel is clearly excited by the potential. “There is really no limit to how people can explore options for their homes,” he says. Ryleah Resler, a Kabuni resident designer, shares that enthusiasm: “We can go through the entire interior design process with a client, and show them what kinds of flooring might work best with their preferred furniture, right down to drapery colours, throw pillows, and wallpaper choices. It really is amazing,” she says. “It is empowering for the clients, and for the designers. They can basically speak the same language—see exactly what each other is seeing—in the Dream Room.”
There are ambitious plans for further Kabuni spaces in various cities around the world, but the Vancouver location, on Pender near Cardero, is making a big statement about how technology, design, and community can all harmonize, and then materialize.
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