After conquering the physical world of interior design with numerous award-winning commercial and residential spaces, Roar has turned its sights to the metaverse. Helmed by architect and interior designer Pallavi Dean, the boutique design firm from Dubai bought two plots in Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser-based platform, in February.
Roar Meta Space will operate in this user-owned digital world as a furniture showroom, an art gallery and a studio that develops decor solutions for clients in the virtual environment.
We chat with Dean about digital design hacks and the future of architecture:
How can a user interact with a room in the metaverse?
The most common form of metaverse technology used today is extended reality, or XR, which merges the physical and digital worlds through the headset and connected devices. With extended reality, we can step into virtual worlds and interact with 3D room sets.
Will colour and lighting still be part of a digital-first design?
Yes, because we are still emotional beings triggered by all things sensory. While my avatar in the metaverse may not care for a particular colour, I — as the person behind that avatar — certainly do. But maybe now I can suspend reality and my bedroom can be full of plants in the morning and can have a spa-like interior by the afternoon.
What are some design principles of the digital world?
For now, it is a softly-softly approach. We need to transfer relatable design features to build an emotional connection between the physical world and the metaverse while we are still learning about users’ needs and desires in this new living sphere.
But, certainly, we now have the possibility of creating a new kind of architecture: even though right now we are creating building typologies that already exist in the physical world. In the coming years, as more of us utilise the space, we will become more confident, adventurous and adept with the evolving technology.
Can architecture be less restrictive in the metaverse?
Absolutely. The beauty of the metaverse is that the current accepted norms of design and architecture don’t need to apply. In the physical world, cultural traditions aside, we often have design parameters in place because of safety regulations or because of what’s actually possible in terms of engineering. In the metaverse, until a governing body comes into place, there are no such challenges — apart from our imaginations and the design budget a client can commit to a project.
Can people seek inspiration from a furniture studio in the metaverse?
For creative people, inspiration is all around us — it’s just a matter of opening our eyes and our minds, and then connecting the dots. We are already seeing elements of crossovers, such as Andres Reisinger recently designing a chair as an NFT and then producing it as a physical piece of furniture.
What’s the end game for Roar Meta Space?
Our initial plan is to develop the plots into a multifunctional building — at the junction between commercial and hospitality — that will include an art gallery, a furniture store as well as an event space and a hotel. We want it to become a one-stop source for people to exhibit and buy NFTs, host their conferences and meetings, and stay overnight after a drink at the bar.