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July 21, 2023

Powering interior design with AI
In Singapore, Sixides focuses on bridging homeowners and interior designers. Besides championing transparency, the company recognises that there are needs to be a process for homeowners to communicate their design preferences and themes quickly and clearly, as well as to professionalise and accredit interior designers.
     As a consumer-driven interior design platform, Sixides was on the lookout to partner with an institute of higher learning to implement its forward-thinking ideas. The company approached the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to help translate their ideas to meet industry standards.  
    The university's Infocomm Technology (ICT) faculty could help Sixides with technology use, while Design Factory@SIT would provide a certification programme for accreditation. Sharing the same values as SIT, especially in design thinking, Sixides leapt at the exciting opportunity to collaborate.
    "Sixides had a great idea: If you are a homeowner and you see a piece of furniture that you like, snap a photo of it and upload it onto the Sixides platform. Sixides would then generate various possibilities of what interior designers can do for you," said Senior Lecturer Scott Jones, ICT, SIT, who oversaw the project. "That is where SIT came in – we provided the ICT skills and resources to help Sixides realise their vision." 
     SIT developed a machine-learning algorithm that is trained to recognise design elements such as furniture, colours, materials, and classify images according to a set of interior design themes. Eventually, the system can allow consumers to receive instant, industry-standard quotations.
     Besides using technology to elevate the industry, Sixides felt that professionalising the sector was also crucial. Thus, it envisioned a system where interior designers could take classes and earn badges to showcase their unique competencies and verifications. This would assure homeowners of the quality and standards of their interior designers. 
    "Sixides had already identified a core set of competencies and SIT's job was to provide a level of standard for the courses, which we have long-standing experience in," said Assistant Professor Mark Teo from the Business, Communication and Design cluster, who is a former architectural practitioner involved in developing the courses. "We worked with Sixides to flesh out the different components of the intended training and propose a framework of competency that would meet the needs of the industry. The courses were also designed to engage adult learners through the integration of applied learning in the delivery of the course content."   
     The Modular Certification Courses will be taught not just by Sixides and SIT, but also by industry partners and experts. The programme features four pillars (Design, Sustainability, Buildability and Project Management) with three levels of courses, from basic to advanced. For instance, the Sustainability and Healthy Interiors courses focus on sustainable practices and principles of interior design, from materials to overall interior spaces.   



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