The tech transformation of design starts here: BIG Architects signature the first project for the Metaverse.
It's on Decentraland, one of the metaverses available on the net. And it is the headquarters of one of the most hype digital agencies in the world: Vice Media. Which explains the choice with a pragmatic observation: a virtual venue is a playground for creatives, the goal is to experience the possibilities of hybridizing phygital products and brands.
A metaphorical shrug of the shoulders which, however, indicates a further change of perspectives. Until recently, in order to design, the presence relationship, the non-verbal exchange and the construction of a collaborative relationship of trust were essential. Then there was Covid, which forced everyone to invent digital alternatives to non-verbal communication in a daring way. And now we are at the virtual brainstorms on Decentraland, but in the offices designed by Bjarke Ingels, complete with an alter ego (they are called avatars) similar to playmobil.
Virtual to be designed
The interaction, although virtual, is not without emotions. Indeed: the absence of a physical body is an appreciable guarantee of immediacy and informality, say the habitués of the metaverse. And it is also an opening on a theoretically infinite experimentation of identity. And of possibilities.
Bjarke Ingels explains: "What architect hasn't dreamed of building without limitations of costs, materials, building regulations and even without having to comply with the laws of physics?". And he continues: "The metaverse is a new space and we are still trying to get an idea of it. But we believe that as a designer we have a duty to dream big and build it as beautiful and functional as anything else".
The ideal is technological
Zaha Hadid Architects also recently announced the next project: Liberland Metaverse. It is a virtual place inspired by the ideal territory of the same name between Serbia and Croatia: a visionary place (in which no one can currently live due to lack of institutional structures) inspired by libertarian values.
"The time is ripe, technologically, economically and socially, to move our productive lives more and more into the metaverse", comments Patrick Schumacher, director of the studio. "We are just beginning to appreciate the potential of a space suitable for true global participation."
Here too, the idea of the metaverse resonates as a virtual model (and to a certain extent safe from risks) of a new physical world. A bit like what happens when using BIM (Read also: BIM: what it is and how it transforms architecture), which allows you to work on a hyper-realistic digital model and avoid design errors.
Social experiments in virtual places
The paradigm shift therefore concerns an experimentation in which it is not dangerous not to have limits, in which to enjoy total freedom structural, both from the both from a design and an anthropological point of view.
Re-found economic models, social behaviors, rites and relational forms. It seems the end of human error, because from here on the error will be virtual. But technology will really be able to keep us safe from mistakes? It is a vision that is divided between intelligent marketing strategies (Liberland spaces are for sale as NFT and are paid in cryptocurrency) and a utopian, and probably sincere, hope of rebirth.
It is not an easy world that we live in and, understandably, it would be nice to be able to imagine not only living elsewhere (albeit without a body), but also being able to transform physical errors into evolutionary potential.
The technology to design, the technology to build better and produce more rationally. Technology to rediscover a human space within complexity, interacting with infinite possibilities. Perhaps a mystical attitude is needed, or perhaps it is right to cultivate neglected dimensions of the human being.
Or, even better, use technology so as not to neglect any possibility, to even give yourself the thrill of having time to start over, this time with a greater degree of responsibility and concreteness. It is the attitude of parametric design (Read also: Giacomo Garziano : an algorithm for designing), which leaves it to the AI to probe the infinite and to human beings the pleasure of finding and redefining themselves.
Cover photo: Liberland Metaverse MasterPlan Render by Mytaverse