The acceleration of digital transformation has opened the door to new innovations and technologies that are transforming the tools provided to customers, companies and spaces, whether they be of a work, educational or hospitality nature. Among them is the Metaverse, one of the most frequently heard terms in recent months and which has nevertheless been under development for several years, where four important technological advances such as VR/AR, Blockchain, 5G and Artificial Intelligence converge for the first time.
Originating in the novel "Snow Crash", published in 1992 by Neal Stephenson and where this term refers to a fictional virtual world, the Metaverse is a universe parallel to the physical world, made up of multiple virtual spaces where people can interact socially and physically as avatars. Its arrival paves the way for an infinite number of possibilities in a variety of different fields, from entertainment, education, health or the digital economy, to those related to architecture, interior design or design, where it is already possible to create cities, buildings and products, and furnish spaces without the limitations of the laws of a physical world.
“In addition to being a furniture, contract and office space company, at Actiu we are designers of experiences that improve the well-being of the people who inhabit the space. Real spaces and others like this new Metaverse, which we are already asking ourselves questions about regarding what it should look like and how we can help build it,” says Gustavo Valbuena.
During the fourth event organised by the company, as part of its Madrid Design Festival programme, the Head of Innovation and Digital Strategy at Actiu analysed this parallel digital universe together with Edgar Martín-Blas (Co-Founder - CEO & Creative Director of Virtual Voyagers), Daniel García (CEO and Founder of Polygonal Mind) and Sergio García (Branding Bruce Lead of FLOC*).
“The Metaverse represents a step forward towards a new internet based not so much on information as on experience, which will no longer exist as a parallel place, but as a space that overlaps on top of the real world,”, explains Edgar Martín-Blas, who points out how there is not a single Metaverse, but many different ones, each with a different focus, at work, in leisure, design, etc; and a layer that connects them and allows you to jump from one to another.
This new reality is associated with two important changes, associated with how content is no longer consumed but is rather experienced, and how the user is now the owner and creator of a type of content that can be transferred. “Values are changing in the new generations, for whom the importance and value of the materials moves into the background to allow this virtual world to take centre stage,” adds the CEO & Creative Director of Virtual Voyagers, who highlights the importance among young people of being able to represent themselves in a virtual world where they can even design their own spaces.
“We're facing a time of opportunity where technologies are tools to improve and create ideas that improve society,” says Sergio García, for whom the Metaverse applied to architecture provides advantages such as being able to create buildings that can be changed along the way depending on how they are used and experienced by their occupants.
“Nevertheless, and although this virtual world is free from physical restrictions such as gravity, there are other types of technical limitations specific to each platform,” adds Daniel García, who points to the importance of knowing the target audience in each case.
Edgar Martín-Blas knows a lot about how buildings created in the Metaverse can become a source of inspiration for real architecture, who has designed his house in real time together with an architect who he worked with online. “I have been able to go over the drawings virtually and thus anticipate what my house would be like in the future, generating a very agile and fast model, which has allowed many people to work in parallel,” explains the CEO & Creative Director of Virtual Voyagers, who together with his team, has launched the Virtual Voyagers Academy, the academy for Metaverse explorers developed with the Complutense University of Madrid.
With great freedom in design and no limitations on physical space, the Metaverse represents a significant opportunity for architecture, interior design and product design. Virtual simulations allow you to anticipate layouts, calculate energy costs and choose the most suitable decoration, furniture, colours or textures for this new parallel universe where everything revolves around the user experience.
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