Creating an intelligent design
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Creating an intelligent design

DWP says it is rewiring the Thai architectural sector by infusing AI into its work processes, unlocking creative potential

A design generated by DWP using AI.
A design generated by DWP using AI.

Bangkok design firm DWP claims to have revolutionised the Thai architectural industry by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into its design processes, enhancing efficiency, and positioning itself at the forefront of Thailand's design landscape.


Sarinrath Kamolratanapiboon, executive director of DWP, said the company was the first in Thailand to leverage AI for design projects, starting two years ago while working on a metaverse project for a client, which provided the opportunity to study and apply AI.

"The first project derived from AI-generated design was the BMW showroom on Ratchaphruek Road. At that time, BMW was about to launch the new X5, but the showroom construction wasn't complete," she said.

To avoid losing sales opportunities, DWP suggested BMW start selling immediately by integrating the showroom design into the metaverse. This allowed BMW to start scheduling customer appointments and showing demos.

Visitors could see the interior architecture space in the metaverse as the design was already complete. While waiting for the showroom construction to finish, customers could experience the space virtually, making this approach quite successful, said Ms Sarinrath.

She said the use of AI enables DWP to skip traditional design phases such as conceptual or schematic design, which usually take months, reducing them to days or hours.

Ms Sarinrath says the use of AI and virtual reality has transformed how DWP manages projects.

This groundbreaking approach starts before the design process itself. Following initial client meetings, project details are entered into ChatGPT to generate ideas, which are then refined using Midjourney, a specialised design programme, to create perspective images.

The advantage of generative AI is instead of relying on Google searches or browsing on Pinterest to assemble ideas, DWP now produces its own reference images using ChatGPT and Midjourney for design, cutting down search times for references, said Ms Sarinrath.

"This makes the process exclusive to DWP. We are not copying others because we generate original content ourselves," she said. "We don't need to use ChatGPT all the time as creative designers on our AI team already have extensive knowledge."

This is not just basic interior design knowledge, as they are familiar with the cultures of various countries, informed about cinematography, acquainted with great artists and well-versed in history, said Ms Sarinrath.


The use of AI and virtual reality (VR) has transformed how DWP manages projects. When costs are projected to exceed the budget, clients can view VR models and decide on necessary adjustments without the expense of physical mock-ups, she said.

"This approach not only saves costs, but also accelerates the design process, allowing DWP to complete concept and thematic designs in half the usual time," said Ms Sarinrath.

AI tools also inspire creativity by generating initial design ideas that designers can further develop. This not only ensures originality, but also meets its clients' specific needs with greater precision, she said.

Over the past two years, every DWP project has started with AI, significantly increasing team efficiency and enabling the company to take on more projects, said Ms Sarinrath.

"Clients have responded positively. They know the work is generated by AI," she said.

"We educate them that they can fully rely on this work because we don't copy from anyone. The space we create for their project is unique and doesn't exist anywhere else in the world."


While AI presents numerous opportunities, it also poses threats, particularly to staff roles.

Recognising this, DWP has focused on upskilling its employees, said Ms Sarinrath.

"Just as the transition from AutoCAD to building information modelling required training, adopting AI demands a similar commitment to learning," she said.

Investing in AI for DWP's employees is an ongoing effort. Although the financial investment isn't substantial, the time investment in training is significant.

"We were fortunate to recognise this trend early and adopt it, setting us apart from other interior designers in the country," Ms Sarinrath said. "We actively promote AI use among other designers."

By collaborating with international schools and universities, DWP integrates AI training into educational syllabuses, ensuring the next generation of designers is well-prepared.

The company emphasises the importance of knowledge in AI, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and sustainability for new hires, she said.


An influx of new Grade A office supply completed in recent years might be considered a threat for office landlords, but it presents a huge opportunity for interior designers.

"Office tenants slowed relocation or resizing during the pandemic. This pent-up demand has surged since last year, boosting the growth of workplace designs," Ms Sarinrath said.

As a result, the company's proportion of workplace designs has grown to 60% from 40%, followed by hospitals accounting for 20%, while the hospitality and residential sectors make up 10% each.


The pandemic had a strong impact on DWP, prompting a business restructuring from a mixed model to a studio-based format. This change allowed DWP to diversify and mitigate risks more effectively.

The company is now organised into three major groups: lifestyle, which includes hotels, residences, retail and workplaces; community, covering hospitals and education; and architecture, which handles projects across all studios.

Each group is managed by dedicated teams and leaders, reporting to executive management.

This diversification reduces risks because if one studio faces challenges, the others can continue to operate, she said.

"The restructuring has paid off," Ms Sarinrath said. "Previously we had annual growth of 10-15%, but last year growth exceeded 30% and we expect the same growth rate this year. The improved economy, better market conditions and international opportunities contribute to this success."

Half of the growth is projected to come from overseas revenue, with the major markets in Southeast Asia comprising Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

She said the Bangkok office is the largest, with 100 staff, followed by Dubai with 30 employees and Shanghai with 20.

"The Bangkok studio works as a front office for design jobs from overseas before handing over conceptual designs to local offices to continue, unlike other firms in Thailand that take conceptual designs from overseas and continue design development," said Ms Sarinrath.

As DWP celebrates its 30th anniversary, the company aims to remain a mid-sized firm, with a maximum of 150 employees.

This size ensures flexibility, close-knit team dynamics and manageable operations, maintaining strong profits without the complications of becoming a larger entity, she said.

"We want to continue running a profitable and manageable business," said Ms Sarinrath, who plans to step back by the end of the year.

"A design studio of our size is more flexible, allowing us to know and engage with all employees personally. This is essential for maintaining the company culture and efficiency."

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