Salil Parekh

Greenhouse v3.0
Thesis project for my degree at the National Institute of Design, this exploratory project looked to understand the various methods and tactics of creating collaborative spaces in Virtual Reality
at Quicksand
and The Busride
in 2017

This is a project of many parts. From the very outset, it should be said that this isn’t a regular design project with a problem and a solution. This is perhaps a research project of sorts, which explores the possibilities of the future of design practices. Neither of these individual projects reaches an endpoint or concludes. It does, however, explore the various possibilities, and gives an idea of the potential. New domains are explored, skills learnt, and novel possibilities are investigated. It’s not about the end product, but rather what happens along the long winding journey that takes you there. The explorations, and learning along that path is what makes up the bulk of this project. Although the aim is to always make something tangible, something that can be used by others, it wasn’t possible to do so in this project. This project was was designated to be a research exercise, and by having explored so many options, concrete conclusions can be stated. But having the approach to create something substantial did push the project to at least knock on the door of completion.

First, the domain of toolkits are scrutinised, and the process of their making is broken down and inspected. Along the path of creating a toolkit for helping foster collaboration, the very premise, the very idea of a toolkit is gutted and dissected. New formats of information dissemination are explored, and the concept of a novel new approach is explored. Although the final product doesn’t exist, a prototype is explored.

Failing at creating contextual and relevant toolkits

Following the the collaboration toolkit, the second part of the project explores the possibility of creating a space derived from the insights of the research. The brief does change a few times, and the final outcome may not have been completely faithful to the initial proposal, but new grounds are explored. The unexplored realm of Virtual Reality is traversed, and with it, the process, and the pipeline of creating in this new medium.

What would the studio–Greenhouse–look like in a collaborative, virtual world?

How does traditional spatial design in the physical world translate to the digital one? Can we use this immersive medium as an augmentation to our reality? These and such other questions are answered. Spaces in VR are built out and used as a test-bed to answer these questions.

Build, test, repeat

Crafting spaces in virtual reality with photogrammetried objects

It’s important to look at this project as speculative, research-based project that gets some resolution and completion. In retrospect, this project is perhaps an instigation to explore the ideas of what the future of collaboration holds, both of the framework, and the spaces it might be practised in. The project also spawned a new source of funding for the studio along it’s journey, which goes to show that even hard research makes for a credible output.

See the project documentation here .

Creative space which explores the studio's work with audio-reactive visuals

Developing a Processing to Unity workflow