Lumon’s balcony glazing concept promoted in North America with a virtual tour
Last year, Sweco’s VDC service specialists created the first VirtualSite™ model for Lumon for promoting their balcony glazing concept in Northern Europe. The model was able to illustrate how glazing can comprehensively transform the sense of space on the balcony.
“The virtual model illustrates Lumon’s customer promise in practice,” summarises Sweco’s XR Technology Manager Jyri Tuori. The three-dimensional virtual model transports you to a rainy day in November. At a press of a button, the balcony is protected by Lumon glazing, and the rain is kept outside. “The understanding of how a balcony can be used is completely transformed.”
The lifelike nature of the virtual model has also impressed professionals in the field. Initially, Lumon’s sales representatives thought that the glazed virtual balcony was larger than the one without glazing. “I asked them to stretch out their arms and assess the space before and after. The size of the balcony was the same!”
Virtual tours expanded the use of the virtual model
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the virtual model could not be presented with VR headsets as planned. However, further use was found for this exceptional tool. “Sweco’s specialists gave us the idea of displaying 360-degree images on our website and presenting the virtual model through virtual desktops, in Teams, for example,” explains Lumon Development Director Risto Kivioja.
Lumon’s customers around the world can now experience the transformational nature of balcony glazing on Lumon’s website using a smartphone or tablet. “The idea was processed further into a new use that may prove to be more versatile than the original,” Kivioja says.
Virtual model tailored for a new target group
Lumon wanted to develop a separate version of the VirtualSite™ model for the North American markets. “In Canada, for example, balcony glazing is a fairly novel and unfamiliar phenomenon for designers, architects and contractors,” Kivioja says. Even authorities are unable to say whether a glazed balcony is treated as part of the facade or as a ventilated exterior space, as is the case in Finland. “Now we have a visual tool that allows us to showcase our product quickly in just 15 seconds.”
The view from the balcony was adapted to suit a Canadian metropolitan area in order to evoke the right kind of image. The view shows skyscrapers and tall mountains behind a body of water. “The model will be used to promote balcony glazing around Vancouver in the west and Toronto in the east where the Lumon factory is also located,” Kivioja explains.
Solution to the challenges of climate change in urban construction
The virtual model highlights the benefits of a glazed balcony in the windy and rainy conditions that will become more common due to climate change, and not just in tall skyscrapers. “A glazed balcony is a sheltered and comfortable additional room for a small home in the city,” Kivioja explains. Glazing also reduces noise, offers protection from the sun and lengthens the service life of balcony structures.
Themes of sustainable development are embedded in the Lumon balcony glazing concept. The first carbon footprint calculation was carried out as early as eight years ago. “The lifecycle of our products is about 25 years, and our materials are nearly 100% recyclable,” Kivioja emphasises. A glazed balcony also saves energy. “Glazing pays for itself within three years and the carbon footprint of balcony glazing is compensated for in 2.6–4.2 years in energy savings.”
Sweco provides its clients with opportunities to adopt the latest spearhead technologies. “Lumon moves product presentation forward and involves customers in the purchase and selection process. Customers are encouraged to try and experience for themselves,” Tuori concludes.