How does offsite innovation work?
Did you know the FuseBox offers support for not just entrepreneurs but also individuals and small teams from established companies too?
Gareth Evans from LCE Architects signed up as a resident last year as a way to get hands-on learning to see what immersive could mean for the development of his company, here he explains his FuseBox journey…
Your name and job title
Gareth Evans, Senior Designer @ LCE Architects
A little bit about LCE Architects
LCE Architects are based in Brighton and have been going for 30 years. We work in a variety of sectors and have been innovating in our use of 3D tools and technology for a while now.
How did you hear about the FuseBox residency:
I had been a long-time attendee of the VR Meetup and an enthusiast of immersive technology since 2012. I had heard about the residency at the monthly events and after giving a talk for the Meetup back in January, decided to become a resident.
Testing out immersive technology in the FuseBox
Why did LCE Architects sign you up as a resident?
From the great reception we received on the night in January and connections as a result, I was able to demonstrate to LCE how valuable the FuseBox could be for us. Previously, my interests and experiments around immersive technology were taking place outside of working hours. As our use of VR within the office grew and its importance recognised amongst the team, the exploration around immersive technology was seen as a valuable area to invest in.
My aim for the residency was to provide a space and extra time to explore immersive technology and to be part of a group for sharing ideas. Soon after, it was to develop workflows/tools that could be used in the LCE design process.
Presenting at the FuseBox
How did it work?
Working from the FuseBox at least one day a week, gave me time outside of my regular design work, to devote to research and development, specifically towards immersive technology and its relationship to architectural design.
The flexible nature of the FuseBox allowed me to work my time around my commitments at the office easily, as well providing the feeling of a dedicated space to work from.
Feeding back to the office has been through show and tell, though the intention is to put something more formal together. To present to the LCE team as a whole and assess the work that has gone on.
What did the FuseBox provide that your own offices couldn’t?
The greatest benefit to having a location, remote to the office, has been the level of attention I can give my research whilst at the FuseBox. By being away from detail drawings, design reports and construction queries I can focus on investigating tools, developing skills and undertake inquiries that are sometimes indirect to architecture.
Being surrounded by people who understand your passion to test/explore, and to be able to discuss a problem/concept over coffee is important. It is the collective group at the FuseBox that makes it such a huge resource, as much as the space itself. The brown bag lunches have also been great. To meet and discuss ideas with experts that you might not encounter outside your daily work is something you won’t find easily. Having access to the latest technology has been a big opportunity for LCE. We are a comparatively small practice and to be able to test/experience the most current technology first is something that requires much investment.
Attending a brown bag lunch with Alick Mighall
What have you created/tested/developed/launched since being a FuseBox resident?
My time has been spent developing workflows for translating our design models at the office for use on mobile VR devices and exploring the use of WebVR/A-Frame for design team and client communication. Also, tangent to my other work, I have been collaborating with FuseBox residents, Mnemoscene, in creating an AR promotional design concept for the Design Brighton Festival 2019, that we presented at their launch party last month with fantastic interest.
Have you or your company benefited in any other way through the residency?
LCE were able to present to the SOLACE (Society Of Local Authority Chief Executives) group who came for a tour of the FuseBox in October. It gave us the invaluable chance to connect with those in local government, to see first-hand, their view on the use of technology for planning and design. As well, being part of the FuseBox, we were approached by former resident, Fracture, and are now consulting to them to help develop an exciting new AR tool for immersive design.
Presenting to the SOLACE (Society Of Local Authority Chief Executives) group.
Would you recommend the FuseBox to other companies wanting to explore the idea of offsite innovation?
So, what next?
It’s my plan to move the results of my experiments so far into something that is used within our work flows at LCE and to continue developing my skills towards WebVR. With the Oculus Quest on the horizon, I believe we will see a major shift in VR adoption, the access that mobile VR provides is going to be important, especially for us at LCE and the work we do.
Finally, how do people find out more about you and LCE Architects?
On our website www.lcearch.com, follow us on Twitter @lcearchitects, or get in touch directly firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always interested in speaking with others about their own experiences with immersive technology and how they are using it.
Find out more about being a FuseBox resident