by Jincy IypeSep 05, 2022
Virtual residences. Digital art. Virtual avatars. Digital currency. The untouchable, intangibly embodied world of the metaverse, and its virtual real estate ecosystem, in particular, is set to become the next big thing in the digital space, its unpredictable and boundless nature its most fascinating yet daunting attribute. What we can accede unanimously, is that the digital realm, as a tech-dominated dystopia, with all its incomprehensible and fathomable elements, portrays tremendous aptitude for incubating human creativity, imagination (and inherent malevolence), a truly exciting and scary venture. It carries the potential of overcoming real-life limits, to redefine our homogenised concepts of creating and functioning. The question remains, of how far the virtual realm transects with disciplines of design as we know it, and what wonders or failures it yields, questioning and abandoning what we currently hold sacred.
Metaverse real estate development firms Everyrealm and The Alexander Team segue into a vastly real exercise in building the intangible, and pushing the limits of creativity in the metaverse with The Row, a private, “members-only” metaverse real estate community. It will be a limited-edition series of 30 3D architectural landmarks, each sold as a 1-of-1 non-fungible token (NFT) designed by globally acclaimed artists including Daniel Arsham (who also serves as Everyrealm’s Creative Ambassador), Misha Kahn, Andrés Reisinger, Alexis Christodoulou, Six N. Five, and Hard. The first Row district will be launched on the premier Web3 metaverse world-building platform Mona, built for creators, by creators, while future ones will be produced to take life within additional metaverses in the future.
"The metaverse has no physics, no weather, and no limitations other than human ingenuity. The Row brings together visionary artists best known for their architectural landscapes and collectors seeking a unique, limited edition residence that they can deploy across many different metaverses over time,” explains Janine Yorio, CEO of Everyrealm, a metaverse real estate investment and development firm backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase, Dapper Labs, The Weeknd, Marc Anthony and Paris Hilton, among others. Everyrealm invests in, manages, and develops assets including NFTs, virtual real estate, metaverse platforms, gaming, and infrastructure, and currently has holdings in more than 26 metaverse platforms, has developed six metaverse real estate projects, and owns over 4,000 NFTs.
The featuring artists will develop and build each of 'The Row's' headline-grabbing, digital architectural landmarks with the ability to be deployed across an array of metaverse platforms within The Row district. The elite membership to The Row is by invitation only, and will become available once the virtual district has completed development later this year.
“In the metaverse, one does not need to adhere to the many constraints that exist when creating spaces, exhibitions, and artworks in the physical world," said Arsham, who created Divided Layers, a large-scale installation put together by Kohler, as part of the FuoriSalone exhibit during Milan Design Week 2022. "When designing for The Row, I considered how my sculptures would appear from inside this unique piece of architecture. I explored the possibility of seasonality; how I might be able to alter the seasons, and how the design could remain in existence in both daytime or a nighttime environment forever. I am excited and eager to see how people might engage with these pieces of architecture once they are deployed in the metaverse.”
"Our clientele collects trophy real estate in the real world, and now we are enabling that same level of curation in the metaverse,” says Oren Alexander of The Alexander Team, who first announced their collaboration with Everyrealm, and their plan to co-develop an architecturally-significant master-planned community back in December 2021. “The Row will be the most high profile real estate development across many metaverses, a series of iconic landmarks accessible on a global scale,” he adds. Led by brothers Oren and Tal Alexander, The Alexander Team remains the highest-grossing residential real estate brokerage team in both New York and Miami. They have represented celebrity clients such as Ken Griffin, the Weeknd, and Kanye West and are behind some of the highest-priced transactions including the largest residential sale in the United States.
Fantastical, illusionary architecture created by artists in the Metaverse
The Ares House by Daniel Arsham
The globally celebrated American artist working across disciplines of sculpture, painting architecture, drawing and film, crystalises ambiguous, "in-between" ambits and spaces, and creates stages what he describes as “future relics of the present”. His “uchronic” (a hypothetical time period of our world, compared to an altogether fictional one) aesthetics and approach to art anchor around his concept of "fictional archaeology", fusing the past, present and the future, which can be witnessed in exactness in his contribution to The Row. His works draw from, and display, the malleability and power of nostalgia, often through references to historical moments and age-old myths.
Architecture has remained a significant part of Arsham’s digital creations, ever since he stepped into the digital space with the series of 10 NFTs some two years ago. The Ares House created for The Row is cryptic in its presence, seemingly existing in the ancient world as much as this one – an Olympian-sized bust of the Greek god of war and courage is articulated on a hefty scale in order for it to be inhabited. Arsham created the work across five variations, its exterior materiality informing the colour palette of the insides. A unique crystal property outlines each variant, rendered in amethyst, quartz, pyrite, and volcanic ash. “The materials intend to make you think about age and time,” informs Arsham. The preamble for the digital design is found through the base of the pedestal, and into an expansive foyer, which leads up a giant staircase, where other sculptures, art pieces, and one-off furniture and surfaces welcome you.
Arsham explains, “As the metaverse develops, I can imagine these pieces of architecture being constructed as incredible places to inhabit. In the initial versions, I have placed my own artwork in the space, but one could imagine a collector placing artworks from other digitally native artists or works from artists who create primarily in the physical world. I have created very accurate visualisations of how this work might exist, how you might move through it, how light passes through it, and what it might feel like at different times of the day. It’s really a magical way to create architecture in the metaverse.”
Virtual architecture by Andrés Reisinger
The Barcelona-based designer, artist and virtual creator of Argentinian origin is nothing short of an internet celebrity in his own right, with his instantly recognisable, dream-like imagery garnering widespread interest from a plethora of multi-million-dollar collectors, brands and international art galleries alike.
Reisinger’s virtual architecture presents a visual manifesto on the digital form of architecture, free from spatial constraints and limitations of reality. Traditional, realisable architecture is acknowledged as permanent, where the basic unit of the building, a house, is embodied for long-term habitat within the metaverse. “This permanence is challenged as conventional housing, and becomes obsolete in the metaverse,” the developers relay. Reisinger’s glass house is strictly geometric, walled by non-existent greens, and strives in its transparency, “to prevent meaninglessness, boredom, existential dread and emptiness”. He stitches together the most stimulating conditions possible - the see-through design spatiality, the phantom-like architectural atmosphere and the icy aesthetic of the project - arising to the untouchable density of time, illusory indulgence and elevating the experience of dwelling that does not exist.
Quagmire’s Karst by Misha Kahn
American designer and sculptor known for assemblage, Kahn permits the "illogical and the irreverent" to wash over his entire process of creation and manifestation. Kahn employs everything from lo-fi and ad hoc techniques such as improvisational moulds and collage to virtual reality and other high-tech tools in his mad-cap creations. Kahn’s quagmire series initially realised as ceramic objects, is inspired by how space is, or can be defined in the digital world. "It has to do with using grids to create depth in an environment that’s tricky to understand," explains Everyrealm. Growing and pulsating with abandon like underwater plants, the aesthetic of this wacky digital house—Quagmire’s Karst—is an execution of that visual language which injects logic onto illogical forms.
The Mirage by Alexis Christodoulou
As a front runner and pioneer of the imaginary and digital architecture aesthetic created world over, Alexis Christodoulou Studio has forged relationships with mega brands such as Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, La Mer, Nowness, Architectural Digest, Wallpaper, and many more.
Christodoulou's The Mirage is the metaverse's first personal levitation centre, "designed for one's enjoyment and spiritual transition into a digital existence. Built around the simple contradiction of gravity through various points of the day - each edition of The Mirage exhibits a unique tone to mimic the position of the sun as it floats above." The Amsterdam-based digital artist appeals to everyone, to begin their virtual existence in the candy coloured cantilevering home accompanied by floating white orbs, shedding the weight of the real world.
The Pearl by Hard
Considered a pioneer in the metaverse architectural ecosystem, Hard.Architects is an emerging voice in the Web3.0 creator community, having conceived imaginative avant-garde spaces that exhibit architectural concepts reinterpreting the creative side of the digital landscape.
A giant smooth pill standing on a bed of salty rock formations become the main form of The Pearl, Hard's contribution to The Row. The design was "fuelled by the introspective journey that explores the lust for opulence that resides in self-worth and the need for belonging. The visual is a criticism of the desire for the epicurean lifestyle," shares The Alexander Team.
Make Room For Us by Six N. Five
Founded by Ezequiel Pini, an award-winning Argentinian designer and digital artist, Six N. Five is a contemporary art studio that creates experimental, digital and real worlds with a clean and modern aesthetic. The works are outlined with the goal of legitimising CGI as "a new medium of artistic expression", which is apparent in Make room for us .
Six N. Five's contribution to The Row not only proposes to adapt architecture to nature "but speaks of our repentance and forgiveness for the damage we have caused in the physical world. Now it is our turn to adapt to what has always existed". An amorphous white blob with apertures rests unsettled upon craggy cliffs, as an adaptive design that mimics cellular organisms. The proposal is an architectural system that interacts with nature in an imaginary ecosystem of cliffs, mountains, and virtual dreamscapes.
Everyrealm developed The Row similar to traditional real estate developers when they build an upscale development, first by assembling the digital land parcels, then heading and managing the architectural design and construction process, (which in this case is all digital), like how video games are made, while The Alexander Team will lead the sales effort for this ultra-luxury master-planned community, to provide their clientele with exclusive access to the metaverse.
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