The effectiveness of interactive virtual reality for furniture, fixture and equipment design communication: an empirical study

Abhinesh Prabhakaran, Abdul Majeed Mahamadu, Lamine Mahdjoubi, Patrick Manu, Che Khairil Izam Che Ibrahim, Clinton Ohis Aigbavboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to propose a novel approach to developing an interactive and immersive virtual environment for design communication in the furniture, fixture and equipment (FFE) sector. The study further investigates its effectiveness in enhancing the design communication and coordination between the stakeholder. Design/methodology/approach: Quasi-experimental research was adopted involving 12 FFE professionals, designers and end-users in single-group pre-test-post-test design. The tests were performed primarily to ascertain the impact of the application of interactive virtual reality on delivering furniture design selection and coordination tasks. Further interviews were used to elicit participants' views on the functionality and usefulness of the proposed approach. Findings: The findings indicate that an interactive immersive virtual FFE environment: enhances the productivity of the design team through a collaborative virtual workspace offering a synchronised networked design testing and review platform; reduces the time required for the stakeholders to comprehend the design options and test those; enhances the design communication and quality of the design and encourages the collaborative culture in the industry; improves the design satisfaction of the stakeholders; and finally, requires significantly less time for design decision-making when compared to traditional methods. Research limitations/implications: Future studies should incorporate space planning concepts and explore non-experimental methodologies in a real-life FFE project setup. Practical implications: The proposed approach provides opportunities for enhanced interpretation of design intent in FFE as well as efficiency in design selection and coordination tasks when compared with conventional two-dimensional methods of communication. Originality/value: This study proposes a step change in the way furniture design is communicated and coordinated through an immersive virtual experience. Previous studies have not addressed the issue of impact on design coordination instead focussed on marketing and sales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1467
Number of pages28
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • BIM
  • Design communication
  • Fixture and equipment
  • Furniture
  • Virtual reality
  • Visualisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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