Digital Blue Foam (DBF), a Singapore-headquartered global Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) building design platform has launched after a few years of beta-market usage and refinement by early adopters.
The DBF platform is a web browser-based software application that delivers compelling interactive generative design tools that leverage human design intuition and problem-solving together with data and artificial intelligence (AI). Digital Blue Foam replaces legacy technologies commonly used in the industry for early property and building planning tasks while adding more cutting-edge technologies such as geospatial data, sustainability validation, and city scoring.
Key Facts for DBF
With USD 2 million in founder, friends and family money invested, the AEC SaaS company is now in funding round discussions with new funds aimed at supporting expansion, recruitment, and platform enhancements. There are expansion plans for Asia, Europe, and the Americas, with the goal of making sustainable building design accessible using smart AI and unique generative design technologies.
With the AEC sector worth USD 12.9 trillion by 2022, the company makes note that the software technology market addressing the AEC sector is expected to register 8.4 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2021 to 2026. McKinsey & Company also notes the increased emphasis on R&D and CAPEX investments in construction technology. Global R&D for the top construction companies grew by 77 percent from 2013 to 2017. COVID-19 is now further driving investments in digitalization as firms in AEC work to strengthen the resilience of operations.
The DBF platform is a building design platform developed by architects, planners, and software developers, in addition to educators. It is the brainchild of architects Camiel Weijenberg and Sayjel Vijay Patel. Weijenberg has 10 years of experience running his architecture studio and has also worked for Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). Patel is an MIT alumnus and Founding Professor at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI).
Key Early Adopters
An early Digital Blue Foam user is Takenaka Corporation, one of Japan’s ‘Big 5’ building industry giants with integrated building delivery services from architecture through to construction and operations. Using DBF, Takenaka Corporation has accelerated project delivery by 750 percent. One large project that would traditionally take four years has been reduced to just one year, says Digital Blue Foam.
“Our software integrates the core elements of the design process—data collection, 3D modeling, sustainability validation, city score, project comparisons, and drawing production—within a single online tool,” says co-founder Camiel Weijenberg. “The tool syncs to various Building Information Modeling (BIM) software like Archicad, Revit, Rhino, and SketchUp.”
Takenaka now has over 20 teams and 500 users on the DBF platform, including their architects, BIM managers, real estate developers, and construction managers across Takenaka subsidiaries.
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DBF is also working with the next generation of architects and planners to lead change within the industry. In Singapore, DBF is working with Professor Dr. Clayton Miller from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and in Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
How DBF Works
Digital Blue Foam (DBF) works by enabling architects and planners to quickly generate and interrogate interactive generative designs bringing together data and AI around parameters of a building or development site. Geospatial data merges with web-based APIs from maps, environmental services, 3D data sets of city contexts, et cetera, to empower planning and design decision-makers at a scale and speed not available with conventional digital tools and workflows. The data is carefully analyzed, selected, and presented in an easy-to-use web-based environment, across multiple popular platforms.
The DBF AI includes real-time Daylight Autonomy Score, Solar Radiation Simulation, Instant Shadow Study, Wind Score, and Sun Path Animation—inputs that allow a designer to validate a design in real-time without the use of expensive and complex software while designing a net-zero Co2 building.
DBF also created a proprietary neighborhood scoring system to automate descriptive spatial metrics of neighborhood quality based on geo-location. The technology supports the ’15-minute city’ planning strategy, which places amenities and services within a 15-minute walk of residents, a critical sustainability metric. The 15-minute-City concept includes residential, office, health, institutions, public facilities, commerce, markets, restaurants, transportation, and utilities.
According to the United Nations, the built environment, mainly homes, and buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of global energy use and 30 percent of energy-related carbon emissions. 13,000 buildings need to be constructed every day until 2050 to support the earth’s largest migration to cities.
What’s In The Name?
The DBF name comes from the hot-wire cut blue foam models used by architecture and planning students in design schools. The platform, with 7000+ users, is priced similar to popular tools like Figma or Canva for individual users to enterprise teams, accessible through subscription.
To find out more about the platform and pricing plans, please visit https://www.digitalbluefoam.com/.