The team at Cirque have been exploring the capabilities of a new wave of Artificial Intelligence tools to learn how A.I. could fit into our design processes. We’ve been utilising the power of the image generation tool ‘Midjourney‘, to create some sample office layouts that we will showcase later in this article.
It’s incredible to see how Midjourney can create such realistic and immersive images that offers us a sneak peek into what the future of office design might look like. While these A.I. tools show immense promise, they still lack the freedoms to manipulate the small details of design we would need in a professional setting.
Join us as we dive into Midjourney, exploring the challenges and opportunities that come with blending artificial intelligence and the art of office design.
From The Mighty Pen to Machine Learning
The invention of CAD (Computer Aided Design) revolutionised the design industry by making traditional pen and paper methods obsolete, significantly increasing efficiency and precision in fields such as architecture and product design. With the rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), could human-created design eventually become redundant?
A.I. has the potential to analyse huge amounts of data and generate designs that optimise various factors such as aesthetics. As these intelligent systems continue to improve, they could streamline the design process and come up with innovative solutions that may surpass human creativity.
Human designers still possess unique qualities such as empathy and intuition, which are difficult to replicate in machines. As a result, we believe the future of design will involve a collaboration between humans and A.I., combining strengths to create even more remarkable designs.
What Is Midjourney?
Midjourney is an independent research lab on a mission to discover innovative ways of thinking and unleash the creative potential of humanity.
Comprised of a passionate team of only 11 full-time members, Midjourney is a self-funded venture that concentrates on the intersection of design, human infrastructure, and artificial intelligence.
The Midjourney software is accessed via a bot on the popular community platform Discord. Users are able to create up to 25 images for free at which point their monthly subscriptions start from $8 a month.
On the 15th March, Midjourney announced V5 of their tool. They made the announcement on Twitter saying:
“Starting today our community can test Midjourney V5. It has much higher image quality, more diverse outputs, wider stylistic range, support for seamless textures, wider aspect ratios, better image prompting, wider dynamic range and more. Let’s explore!”
During our research we used a mixture of V4 and V5, we’ve highlighted which version of Midjourney we used for each image in the captions.
The Art of Prompting
If you’ve never heard the term ‘Prompting’ before, don’t worry – neither had we until recently. A ‘Prompt’ in the A.I. community is a concise text phrase that an A.I. system (in this case Midjourney), interprets to generate an appropriate response (e.g. an image).
The A.I. deconstructs the words and phrases within the prompt into management segments known as tokens. These tokens are then matched with the A.I.’s training data, leading to the generation of new work. A carefully crafted prompt can be the difference between an average piece of work and an A.I. masterpiece.
For decades highly-skilled experts have been using computer code to create software and companies that have changed the world. Now A.I. is democratising these processes making them accessible to more people. The future of creativity could lie in prompting.
To learn about Prompting, have a read of the Midjourney Prompt page – https://docs.midjourney.com/docs/prompts
How We Can Use A.I. For Concept Development Today
It is already possible to use Midjourney in the initial concept phase of office layout design. One of the biggest challenges in the design process is finding that perfect starting point – a unique and functional idea that sets the stage for the entire project.
With the power of A.I. image generation software like Midjourney at our disposal, we can iterate potentially hundreds of ideas in a matter of hours. Without A.I. it would be impossible to even consider such a large number of concepts, let alone execute them in less than a day.
By crafting unique prompts, we are able to generate a multitude of office layout designs that cater to various preferences, styles, and functional requirements. This rapid iteration allows designers to explore a wider range of ideas, pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
Designers can use these concepts as a springboard to refine and develop their vision further with the client. This collaborative approach between human creativity and A.I. accelerates the design process and could lead to more innovative and efficient office design.
Creating Our Own A.I. Offices
Like most A.I. curious people, we are a long way from becoming proficient in prompting. During our research, we found many ideas on how to create the best prompts in Midjourney. We used ChatGPT, found resources on Twitter and in some cases made up our own ideas.
So here are 12 vastly different images all made with Midjourney.
For this first image we edited a prompt we found on Twitter replacing some key points to include ‘London Design Agency’. As you can see from the image prompt, not all of our requests were granted in the image. This will be a theme throughout our images.
This image was created using Midjourney v4.
An Art Deco-inspired office with a pop of blue and natural light. Midjourney always offers you four images. We couldn’t pick a favourite here, so we are showing them all.
In this prompt, we specifically asked for a tree in the middle of the office but didn’t get one. The words ’empty’ and ‘large’ have given us this near-symmetrical image. At least we got a few trees dotted on the sides.
WeWork Office in London, a simple and effective prompt. Midjourney clearly takes inspiration from the real-world.
A.I. image generation is only restricted by your imagination. Why not have a boardroom table in an ice cave!
How does Midjourney handle real world objects? We asked for the Eames Lounge Chair in a Private Office and got some stunning results!
This was one of the first prompts we tried on Midjourney v4, a lengthy prompt for what is essentially Google HQ. Take a look at the ceiling in this image to see that v4 doesn’t handle lighting and ventilation systems very well.
We found that adding ‘Editorial Style Photo’ to prompts gives a very lifelike, magazine-styled feel to the images. We used the word ‘Bohemian’ with this traditional home office but didn’t get anything too unconventional.
For those that are familiar with Studio Ghibli, you will know that this prompt is spot-on!
Not quite the ‘Brutalist Architecture’ we were dreaming of, but it’s quite amusing to see Midjourney’s take on the famous Oval Office.
Finally a huge open space design. We took this prompt from Instagram and minus the confusing seating arrangement in the middle, we were delighted with the outcome.
If you want to try creating your own images with Midjourney, we recommend watching this video which gives a detailed overview of version 5.
The Future of A.I. Image Generation
Artificial intelligence has taken such a leap forward in the past year that it’s very easy to see another game-changing landscape appear in the next 12 months. We won’t be surprised if we are using professional grade A.I. design software that has replaced the current market leading CAD software by the end of this year! That may sound like a bold statement, but with thousands of companies globally all working to build new A.I. tools, we are seeing exponential advancements on a daily basis.