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What is Metaverse?

To talk about metaverse, we need to understand better what it is. In recent years with the pandemic, our lives have become physically more isolated while being much more digitally connected. Most people might even feel that this is the beginning of the ‘metaverse’, but at most, this could be a peek into what metaverse could be. It is best to think about metaverse as a digital alternate reality, where emotion, purpose, and experiential qualities of space are more emphasized than visual ones.

How Does Architecture Work Into Metaverse?

The way to think about architecture in metaverse is more about the user experience using virtual reality and augmented reality. The best way to approach this is to think about the people more as “players” than “users”. Connecting people through storytelling and experiences is integral to good design in the metaverse, which is especially relevant in co-working office designs, high-end fashion stores, store, restaurant and cafe decoration and retail store designs. This platform will undoubtedly create more opportunities for brands to engage with consumers and some experts believe it will fundamentally transform how we live and shop. Some great examples of this have been utilized by a few global brands such as Balenciaga, H&M, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coca Cola and many more. Retail brands have been at the forefront of utilizing metaverse globally; as an architecture firm in Istanbul. We know that it's a great way to get brand recognition among a younger demographic and early adopters of technologies.

Examples of Brands Embracing Metaverse

A few brands have started to use the gaming platform Roblox as an entry point in the metaverse. Roblox is a platform with 43.2 million daily active users. With only 15% of the users aged 25+, the majority of its users are under 13 years of age. The user demographical details show that brands are not eager to adapt to the latest technology but are interested in establishing brand awareness among a much younger audience. In May 2021, Gucci created Gucci Garden in Roblox. Gucci Garden is an immersive multimedia experience, an interactive virtual exhibit where all players that join become Gucci mannequins with their avatars. As the players move through different rooms, the avatars absorb elements from each area, and they emerge at the end of their journey as one of a kind creations. In contrast, Hyundai used the platform to showcase future mobility lifestyles in the metaverse with themed parks showing Hyundai motor products, technologies brands and future solutions in a gamified environment. On the other hand, Balenciaga has not only collaborated with different game platforms and games such as Roblox and Fortnite, but also one of the first global brands to have their own “Metaverse Business Unit”.

On the other hand, brands have also been integrating NFTs into their metaverse campaigns, such as Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT (a non-fungible token studio that produces digital collectables, such as digital sneakers) to merge culture and gaming. Previously, RTFKT sold 600 pairs of sneakers paired with virtual NFTs in six minutes for over $3 million. Coca Cola has also paired up with 3D creators at Tafi to create digital “wearable NFTs”s that can be worn in the open-source gaming platform Decentraland, hosted on the Ethereum blockchain.

We can easily say that we will be seeing more brands utilizing metaverse as a new medium. But to say that metaverse has become a part of our lives would be a bit too early, as it is an ever-evolving and ever-changing medium that is yet to find its grounds. But we are sure that it will be a much a part of our lives and consequently a common medium for brands as much as the internet is. We would like to end our short peek into metaverse, architecture and brand experiences with a quote from Mark Zuckerberg:

“Hopefully, in the future, asking if a company is building a metaverse will sound as ridiculous as asking a company how their internet is going.”

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