2023 promises to be a year of innovation, and the evolution of the metaverse goes hand in hand with this spirit of pushing the envelope that permeates every sector, architecture in particular. A celebration of the digital world in which to experiment with new frontiers in building and living ideas, the first MAD, Metaverse Architecture and Design Awards 2023, is about to begin. You still have until January 31 to submit Web3 projects, ideas, products, and spaces in this award that’s a great opportunity for planners and designers to showcase creative, unconventional work.
The projects will be judged by a multidisciplinary jury made up of new media professionals, designers, and Web3 and industry specialists. The finalists will be notified in February, with the awards ceremony to take place in March 2023 in the Spatialo.io metaverse, a community platform that’s sponsoring the event. The MAD Awards are intended to celebrate people and projects that go beyond the limits of the physical world, freeing up cities, buildings, and projects from the usual constraints of gravity and geographies as we know them.
From the Innovation Awards categories, including Workplace Extension, through to the Built and Unbuilt categories, which recognize a range of projects and products, the MAD Awards will place a spotlight on the people who are at the forefront of design in all its forms. There will also be special awards for the most talented practitioners, including Designer of the Future and a section dedicated to aspiring creatives called Student of the Year.
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Cindy Allen, editor-in-chief of Interior Design and chief design officer of SANDOW Design Group, will chair the jury made up of architects, designers, and Web3 and media specialists from around the globe. They’ll have the task of identifying the projects best able to merge design and the virtual world. This diverse group of visionaries includes Yves Béhar, founder of fuseproject, an industrial branding and design company, and cofounder of Tonic, a new NFT community; Hagy Belzberg, founding partner of BA Collective, a Los Angeles architecture practice renowned for unconventional design and experimentation; Stanley Felderman, partner of Felderman Keatinge & Associates, recognized for his ability to bridge the worlds of physical and digital design through holistic and sustainable strategies; Amanda Ferber, founder and CEO of The Architecture Hunter, and an influencer in the architecture sector listed in the Forbes “30 Under 30” for her Instagram profile with more than three million followers; Lorne Sugarman, CEO of Metaverse Group; Jinha Lee, cofounder and chief product officer of Spatial.io; Avinash Rajagopal, editor-in-chief of Metropolis; Evan Orensten, cofounder and executive editor of Cool Hunting; Molly Murphy, managing director and principal of Gensler New York; and Tessa Bain, cofounder of digby.
Virtual projects, products, and spaces, as well as virtual places, islands, cities, and homes – architects and interior designers are being called upon to rethink the future of their profession and of reality. Basically, the metaverse is any three-dimensional digital space in which people can interact with a virtual environment and each other, perhaps buying, selling, and exchanging properties, or creating unique virtual objects in the form of digital files, which can have monetary value as tokens.
This is why the metaverse is a place that growing numbers of architects are looking at. Among the pioneers of this new virtual space is Zaha Hadid Architects with Architecting the Metaverse, a 2022 project that saw the Seoul studio collaborating with the DDP Design Museum, combining art and architecture, and working on establishing intersections between data, artificial intelligence, and architecture.
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Another studio particularly involved in the metaverse is BIG, Bjarke Ingels Group. In 2022, this Danish studio designed Viceverse for Vice Media Group, the first workspace of the international media platform and publisher in which to experiment with a new form of work, with dematerialized offices “contained” in futuristic spaces. In Decentraland, the name of this virtual space, it’s possible to organize meetings with internal staff, customers, and collaborators, just like a real workplace.
Also worth mentioning is that pax.world, a leading metaverse design firm, has brought together some of the world’s most respected architectural firms, including Grimshaw, HWKN, Farshid Moussavi, and WHY, to create virtual cultural and commerce spaces inspired by the ancient Silk Road. Called “metaserais,” these common spaces will host virtual cultural events, such as concerts, art galleries, fairs, markets, conferences, and hackathons, educational events such as lectures and panel discussions, and even parties and festivals.
As we wait to see what the coming months will bring, the MAD Award 2023 will certainly help us understan
All images courtesy of Spatial.io