Case Study: Baccarat Hotel Lobby

Over the last 2 years Floored has modeled hundreds of virtual scenes across a broad set of real estate spaces; commercial, residential, retail, hospitality, education, and industrial. Our web based rendering engine, Luma, is built to make viewing and exploring virtual worlds as easy and accessible as consuming digital images and video. As we continue in our efforts to capture the world in 3d, we have had the unique opportunity to not just capture but to help others shape the world.

Floored worked directly with Starwood Capital Group’s Kemper Hyers during the design phase of the Baccarat Hotel New York as a visualization tool used to aid in key decisions on furnishing, materials, and accessories. By virtue of creating a fully interactive 3d model of the flagship hotel’s Reception, Concierge, Lobby Lounge, and Bar, Starwood was able to view furnishing selections and materials from any view angle as if the space already existed.

Throughout the process, the 3d model helped the design team visualize furnishing arrangements, furniture heights, and material relationships. Seeing the space as a cohesive whole early in the process, Starwood was able to make quick design alterations that might have been very costly later in the process. Working through the design virtually allowed for faster design iteration in a process the previously left much to the imagination, and ultimately resulted in a in an alluring, harmonious space for the flagship hotel.

The Baccarat Lobby Scene was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects completed by Floored to date. It was a pleasure to work with the Starwood team, and it is great that the space is now built and can serve as a reference point for the end result. Below we’ve put together a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the digital model and finished space, where you can clearly see similarities, differences, and where the design changed between 3d modeling and final construction.

Challenges & Successes:

  • Performance: Performance was a huge challenge on this project. Floored had to find a balance between the incredible detail of some design elements, and model that is navigable on most computers (the Baccarat Chandeliers alone were each around 500,000 triangles!). One or two individual chandeliers added up to a typical scene budget for geometry. This was tackled through a combination of reducing geometry and engineering improvements. Some of the earliest versions of the fully furnished scene ran at an incredibly low frame rate even on our best hardware. The eccentricity of this scene helped engineering identify and optimize a few small bottlenecks that summed up to be a major performance gain. By the time the project was completed, we had the scene running on most hardware.
  • Materiality: Fabrics and materials on this project were incredibly rich and luxurious. Getting these to read accurately in the scene was an endless challenge. On seeing the finished space, it’s clear that in some cases, we nailed it, and in others our graphic representation did not do justice to the true qualities of certain materials. These shortcomings have helped our graphics team identify key areas of focus to improve the engine. Material budget was also a challenge in a scene with such diverse, high resolution materials. An engineering solution called Temporal Anti-aliasing (TAA), which allows the rendering of frames at a lower resolution and to accumulate multiple frames over time improved the performance of this scene.
  • Lighting: Capturing the right mood of the space was key to the design team. There were a couple of very specific lighting schemes that were challenging to capture using our existing tools. The first was pin lights in the BBar, that were successfully represented using a custom GOBO (a graphics method using cube image files to author the pattern a specific light source shines). The second was cove lighting, initially simulated using emissive textures with a gradient. The need for a realistic way to simulate cove lighting inspired our graphics team to add rectangular light emitters to the rendering engine, which can be seen in the reception images. Again, performance issues also limited the number of lights we could use in the scene to simulate the desired effects; TAA was also instrumental in increasing the lighting budget in this scene.
  • Furnishing & Accessories: More than any previous scene, this space had a high demand for custom furniture and a high level of detail. Floored’s 3d Artists have a deep expertise in furniture modeling and have now accumulated a library of over 7,000 unique pieces of furniture and accessories, working within strict triangle & texture budgets to maintain scene performance.

VIEW THE FULLY INTERACTIVE 3D MODEL HERE

As part of our 2015 Holiday Hackathon, the modeling team revisited the Baccarat 3d model. We updated a few key materials, lighting, and details to more closely match the finished photos:

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