Alcōv: AI + Interior Design for Gen Z

Today on Disruptive Design, DNN Editor in Chief Courtney Porter engages in a conversation with Angela Shen-Hsieh, the CEO of Alcōv. Together they delve into the transformative role of AI in interior design. They explore how the design industry can leverage technology to target Gen Z designers and design aficionados, and discuss the consumer behavior shaping future design trends.

About Angela Shen-Hsieh and Alcōv

Meet Angela Shen-Hsieh, the CEO leading Alcōv, a burgeoning tech startup transforming interior design for the digitally-native generation. Angela boasts expertise in architecture, entrepreneurship, and AI innovation, cultivated through her influential roles at industry giants like IBM and Telefónica. Notably, her pioneering work includes developing Watson Analytics and leveraging AI for data monetization. Acknowledged as a design influencer and recognized as a ‘Master of Design’ by Fast Company, Angela is dedicated to democratizing interior design through Alcōv, an interior design app targeted at Gen Z and millennials.


Alcōv is a tech company with a mission to enable anyone, regardless of their budget, to tap into their creative side to envision and confidently create home spaces that make them happy, improve their well-being and feel uniquely their own. We also believe we can play a part to make the whole ecosystem stronger:

  • For CONSUMERS: We are addressing a gap in the way young people buy and the way the industry has traditionally sold furniture.
  • For BRANDS: We know the challenges retailers and manufacturers have to find customers. We connect consumers with the brands and products they are looking for.
  • For DESIGNERS: We provide new means for young designers to promote themselves and monetize their skills and assets.

How AI is bridging technology gaps for non-digital natives 

In simplest terms, Angela views AI as the next step in the process towards automation. As such, artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in bridging the technology gap for individuals less familiar with digital tools. It simplifies interfaces and provides intuitive user experiences, making technology more approachable for non-digital natives. AI’s adaptive learning tailors guidance, addressing specific learning needs without requiring extensive technical expertise. Voice commands and natural language processing enhance accessibility, enabling interaction with technology and making it more accessible. If you’ve played around with generative Ai’s like Dali or ChatGPT, you are likely already familiar with this.

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How AI is helping digital natives with analog technologies

But what about the digital natives? One of Angela’s freshest takes on AI was about how it can help support Gen Z and millennial digital natives in navigating analog technologies by providing virtual simulations and educational platforms, more advanced than googling a how-to. Placing ‘analog tech,’ in the context of the home, Angela provided the examples of electrical wiring and plumbing. AI tools, beyond the generative AI’s that have gone mainstream, allow exploration and comprehension of analog technologies in controlled environments. AI-powered simulations offer hands-on experience and understanding, catering to tech-savvy learning preferences.

The intersection of technology and consumer behavior: Gen Z and Millennial Shopping Trends

Distinct from older generations, Gen Z and younger millennials exhibit unique shopping preferences, favoring niche brands, emphasizing individuality and authenticity. They prioritize sustainable, high-quality products over mainstream labels. And they shop mobile-first: prefering to utilize mobile payment apps for swift transactions. Despite their tech savvy, however; they do find value in physical retail, echoing the significance of a unified omnichannel approach. This has a name: the fusion of digital and physical retail—termed “phygital“—resonates with this digitally-engaged cohort, where social media shapes product research, brand discovery, and purchasing decisions, emphasizing the omnipresence of mobile technology in their lifestyles.

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