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Virtual Showrooms and Digital Brand Experience in Advertising for Companies like Audi virtual showroom

Virtual Reality and Design: Interview with Digital Expert Alexander El-Meligi of Demodern

Virtual reality (VR) is growing in all different areas and industries. Architects use it as a tool to present their designs. For some companies, like AUDI AG, Digital Brand Experiences, where customers can take a look at newest car designs in 3D visualizations, is a fixed component of their communication strategy – and not just a vision for the future.

For Demodern, a multi-award winning agency specialized in creative technologies, virtual reality is part of daily business. They were honored by iF four times for their concepts: A virtual IKEA Showroom in 2017, an iF gold award in 2018 for their 3D world for the Birdly flight simulator above the historic German city of Ulm, and two iF awards in 2019 for their smart cities Retail Experience and the PETA “Eye to Eye” – VR Live Acting Experience they created in collaboration with Kolle Rebbe.

We talked exclusively to Alexander El-Meligi, Creative Director and Managing Partner of the Demodern office in Hamburg, about the present and future of VR and design.

iF: Mr. El-Meligi, how do you implement VR in your team?

El-Meligi: As soon as the overall concept is finished, we start implanting 3D or VR. In that way, we can evaluate concept, feasibility and quality very early. In the following project steps we enhance the application (either UX, design or development) after consulting with our clients.

iF: Digital brand experience and virtual showrooms are buzzwords of future-driven companies. How do you value the success of such concepts? Is it nice to have – or a must, especially for global players?

El-Meligi: I see these topics as natural developments and not as a phenomenon. New technologies and innovations are an essential element and driver of our society. Virtual showrooms and digital brand experiences are a result and consequence of a certain need in us. I believe, we should not ask how successful these topics WILL be, but how long we CAN be without them. Especially in retail there has to be a movement towards new technologies. In that way, digital brand experiences could secure the continuance of local markets. Modern users and customers want retail and product experiences beyond the shelfs. Virtual showrooms can interlock the store experience and the classical eCommerce to pioneer new ways in retail.

Brand expert Alexander El-Meligi of Demodern in Hamburg talks about Virtual Showrooms and Digital Brand Experience
„Virtual showrooms and digital brand experiences are a result and consequence of a certain need in us.”
Alexander El-Meligi Creative Director and Managing Partner, Demodern, Hamburg, Germany

iF: To some, VR is just a gimmick. What does it need to be established as a design tool?

El-Meligi: An optimized shape and form factor for the device or headset you need for VR is crucial! Users have to carry it on their bodies, so it has to be easy to wear and comfortable to be a device for the masses. The current VR headsets on the market are user friendly, but the projections are still not ideal. I think there will be major leaps forward – simultaneously with the publication of Oculus Quest and other standalone devices in 2019. These devices are wireless and without a PC. In that way, users are more flexible and the device is easier to operate and integrate without external sensor technology. Further, through upcoming browser models and 5G-networks, programming interfaces like web virtual and augmented reality (WebXR) will become much more effective. Apart from that, they secure a relevant reach of VR and AR on mobile device.

iF: In which industries is VR still in its fledging stages and in which ones does it make sense?

El-Meligi: Just like any other new medium, VR is still in a phase of orientation and definition. There are some areas where VR still has to find its place – in others, it has great potential for innovation, like in gaming, tourism or entertainment. The user feels a strong connection to his surrounding – the virtual experience becomes real. Companies can communicate their messages much deeper and concerning the design aspect, there is more to come: VR designers and developers can create whole new worlds.

However, virtual reality has not yet reached masses. I believe, in a few years, it will be THE medium, since there are numerous fields of application – be that in the private or professional sphere. I think, the technology will develop quickly in the next years and will also be a part in the filmmaking industry, where it had been neglected in the past. But concerning the technically improved and soon wireless free VR devices, this will be a thing of the past!

Awarded Design by Demodern: Best Practice in Virtual Reality and Digital Brand Experiences

This table represents a new approach to 3D product presentation and mobility exploration at the same time. Sales staff is empowered to present and explain in a more engaging and appealing manner. A full range exploration and stringent customer journey is brought to life.
Smart Cities Retail Experience, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019

This table represents a new approach to 3D product presentation and mobility exploration at the same time. Sales staff is empowered to present and explain in a more engaging and appealing manner. A full range exploration and stringent customer journey is brought to life.

PETA, the world’s largest animal rights organization, has commissioned the creation of an unparalleled virtual reality experience that puts people face-to-face with an animal. Completely controlled by a real actor, the animal invites the user into its world for a deeply emotional conversation. Behind the conversation lies advanced technology with face and body tracking at its core. The VR app transfers even the smallest of expressions from the actor to the virtual rabbit in real-time.
PETA “Eye to Eye”, iF DESIGN AWARD 2019

PETA, the world’s largest animal rights organization, has commissioned the creation of an unparalleled virtual reality experience that puts people face-to-face with an animal. Completely controlled by a real actor, the animal invites the user into its world for a deeply emotional conversation. Behind the conversation lies advanced technology with face and body tracking at its core. The VR app transfers even the smallest of expressions from the actor to the virtual rabbit in real-time.

This is the first 3D world for the Birdly flight simulator. Through Virtual Reality, the user is invited to explore the historic city of Ulm, Germany in 1890. At the heart of our experience is the highest church steeple of the world, the Ulm Minster. Our aim was to create a real-time VR experience that gives tourists the opportunity to explore the historic city from a bird’s perspective.
VR Ulm Experience, iF DESIGN AWARD 2018

This is the first 3D world for the Birdly flight simulator. Through Virtual Reality, the user is invited to explore the historic city of Ulm, Germany in 1890. At the heart of our experience is the highest church steeple of the world, the Ulm Minster. Our aim was to create a real-time VR experience that gives tourists the opportunity to explore the historic city from a bird’s perspective.

For IKEA, we created a high-definition, interactive showroom that uses the immersive power of virtual reality to offer an innovative 3D product experience. With new ways of exploration and visualization, customers can bring IKEA rooms to life – opening their mind and home to new possibilities. After slipping into IKEA's virtual showroom, visitors are able to explore and configure furniture items and their environmental context in real-time. They can try different fabrics, swap the wall color and even change the time of day to see their combinations in a different light.
IKEA Virtual Reality, iF DESIGN AWARD 2017

For IKEA, we created a high-definition, interactive showroom that uses the immersive power of virtual reality to offer an innovative 3D product experience. With new ways of exploration and visualization, customers can bring IKEA rooms to life – opening their mind and home to new possibilities. After slipping into IKEA's virtual showroom, visitors are able to explore and configure furniture items and their environmental context in real-time. They can try different fabrics, swap the wall color and even change the time of day to see their combinations in a different light.

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