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Virtual Visualization

Graham & Brown (G&B), a 72-year-old, U.K-based, family owned business has stayed true to its roots—while evolving the company for the modern world. Led by CEO Andrew Graham, grandson of one of the founders, the company recently launched an app to visualize pattern and color on the wall.

Created in-house, the app lets decorators see the pattern on the whole wall before choosing their wallpaper. Using augmented reality, you can see how the room will look with the new pattern, move around the room to see the design from any angle, with different light sources, or go “up close and personal” to see the intricate detailing of the design. The measurements taken by the G&B app provide the exact quantity of wallpaper rolls and/or paint cans (when paint is available in the U.S. in Spring 2019) that are needed and can be ordered directly from the app.

Andrew Benson, developer at G&B, and Paul Martin, the company’s head of IT, were behind the development of the app and integral in bringing it to life. As an intern, Benson’s first project for G&B was a holographic factory tour of the production facility with Microsoft HoloLens, which allowed the team to bring a virtual “tour of the factory” to the London Design Festival in 2017 as part of “The House of Wallpaper by Graham & Brown.” An app projecting wallpaper at life size was developed for this event, and it would become the catalyst for the G&B app.

On the back of this work, Benson became a permanent developer with the company, just as Apple announced their augmented reality development kit: ARKit. Benson was tasked with creating the first iOS app, as a proof of concept (POC) using this new technology to prove that wallpaper could be visualized. In a matter of weeks, the POC was ready and, soon after, the G&B app was released.