During NeoCon DIRTT's Chicago swanky penthouse is a bees nest of activity. But, as it turns out, it's just too damn popular. This year the wall and prefab construction company is closing its doors to drop-ins. That means its June 11–13 DIRTT Connext show will be by invitation only. DIRTTY business for sure.
“Being so close to NeoCon and the Mart is both a blessing and a curse,” explains Mogens Smed, DIRTT founder. “When we first started it was great for the design community to discover us. Now that we're a known entity, the tire-kickers and sales people looking for free sushi dilute the experience for our real client tours.”
If you're lucky enough to score an invite, or are actually a client, you will experience the global launch of new interactive virtual reality being developed at DIRTT. “The reaction to its first iteration at the Arab Health Show in Dubai was astonishment,” says Barrie Loberg who heads up the ICE software team at DIRTT. Attendees explored and modified a virtual hospital room design while their tour guide was in a different part of the building.
ICE is named for its ability to “melt” into other technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. Loberg's team is preparing to demonstrate an even more astounding experience for the Connext visitors.
This year DIRTT makes the separation between furniture and construction wider by inviting guests who already have a basic understanding of DIRTT's benefits as a hyper-personalized, prefab construction method. “If you come into our Connext experience, and it's your first time exposed to DIRTT, it's confusing,” Smed explains. “We use this show to push the boundaries of what's possible with our technology. Nearly everything people see in our Chicago Green Learning Center is cutting-edge. Most NeoCon visitors are expecting to see updated finishes and options on chairs and cubicles, they don't know what to make of us unless they already know how dedicated we are to innovation.”
DIRTT's regional partners and sales reps are in the process of sending out invitations to clients and designers to book their tours in June.