Allsteel challenges architects and designers with augmented reality design competition

Contract furniture manufacturer Allsteel Inc. has upped its game with the launch of a new digital tool that streamlines product selection, planning and specification for architects and designers. The KITS Collaborator is a free augmented reality iPad application allowing users to develop furniture layouts for any environment, and the company is rolling out this design aid with a “Where Would You Gather” competition. The contest is open for entries until September 14.

To enter the competition, participants download the app, take a photo of a location, and then use the app to design a one-of-a-kind place where they would like to gather, incorporating Allsteel’s collaborative furnishings. Entries uploaded to the contest website,, are eligible to win an all-inclusive Grand Prize trip for two to NeoCon 2013 in Chicago, custom Gather furnishings including a Linger chair and a Scooch ottoman, and American Express gift cards.

The KITS Mobile app engages the iPad’s camera, creating to-scale onscreen environments from the device’s snapshots, which can then be furnished with a simple swipe of the user’s finger. It also allows users to move Allsteel furnishings around within the space, change materials, color combinations and finishes, and produce unlimited high-resolution photo-realistic renderings within seconds. A series of easily accessed functions and controls allows users to add, remove, duplicate, change or group products together; or they can toggle between photo view, 3D view, plan view or elevation view.  Selected furnishings are dragged and dropped into place, and the app uses a series of advanced algorithms to effectively determine the geometric ground plane, sizing each item appropriately as it is positioned in the environment – and without the need for a ‘marker’ traditionally required to accurately assess and calculate space dimensions.