Creating the look and atmosphere of a new hotel is a complex undertaking, with every design decision needing to be weighed and approved. The TownePlace Suites in downtown Nashville was no different, so design and development team The Gettys Group turned to visualization experts Theia Interactive to help give it an advantage. In response, Theia created a fully rendered, high-quality 3D build of the hotel in VR, giving the designers the ability to walk its virtual halls and make design changes on the fly – saving time and money.
“Building a high quality 3D model in VR, The Gettys Group was able to save a huge amount of time without sacrificing anything – in fact, it actually gave them more options than ever before,” said Bill Fishkin, president and co-founder of Theia Interactive. “By taking advantage of new technologies like VR and game engines, we can provide designers more flexibility at a fraction of the cost, changing how hospitality design is done.”
Using Unreal Engine and its Optim collaborative template, Theia created a scale model of the Marriott International’s TownePlace Suites, focusing on the lobby, guest rooms and common area, along with a rooftop bar. The hotel – which opened in Nashville’s Capitol District in October 2020 – includes 204 suites and studios, a 50-person meeting space, an outdoor courtyard and several other amenities, including a rooftop bar. The virtual model allowed the designers to change every aspect of the look, including the furniture, the floor, the color of the paint and more. The model also featured dynamic lighting to show how things would look in daylight and at night.
As the design came together, stakeholders had the ability to tour the 3D model remotely, either on their desktop or by putting on a headset and wandering around the model in VR. They could then leave notes for the designers, or even have full voice conversations with them in real-time, all without having to leave their own home or office. The designers also had access to a fully-equipped virtual planning space where they could collaborate remotely as needed (in or out of VR). The TownePlace Suites marks the latest in a series of collaborations between Theia and The Gettys Group dating back to 2017.
Once the TownePlace Suites visualization model was complete, The Gettys Group reached out to hospitality management firm Big Little Fish and offered a virtual tour of the 4,500-square-foot rooftop bar. The group immediately saw the potential, and leased both a coffee shop in the lobby and the rooftop bar. They brought in chef Aaron Thebault, a rising star in the culinary world, and opened the fine dining establishment Zeppelin on November 6, 2020.
"We had a strong vision for TownePlace Suites, and we knew from experience that Theia could relay our vision via real-time rendering,” said Ron Swidler, chief innovation officer at The Gettys Group. “The combination of Theia, CloudXR and AWS helped make our vision a reality, and it helped others, including our stakeholders and tenants like Zeppelin and Moonshot Coffee Bar, buy into the vision as well. We are thrilled with the outcome!"
Theia will appear at GTC 2021 to discuss this and other recent projects. Fishkin, Swidler and NVIDIA senior manager of global business development XR Greg Jones, will deliver the session “Faster Approvals, Fewer Redesigns: Learn How NVIDIA’s Cloud XR and AWS Supercharge The Gettys Group’s Iterative Design Process.” The session will be released on April 12 at 4:00 p.m. PDT.
About Theia Interactive
Based in Chico, California, Theia Interactive is an immersive solutions studio and software developer, with a passion for building beautiful virtual environments for Enterprise businesses. Whether it’s virtual reality experiences, augmented reality demos or mobile apps, Theia tells engaging stories through virtualization. Theia has created award-winning projects for companies such as Epic Games, HP, Mohawk Group, NVIDIA, Suffolk Construction and Toll Brothers. For more information visit https://theia.io/.