The best of design, from a Tetris-like sofa to a 3D-printed table – Robb Report

The big idea: the world of meta-design has arrived

When the architect Luis Fernandez was working on his first environment for the Metaverse, a burgeoning interactive gallery designed to display NFT artwork, he kept running into a problem: none of the established platforms or available technology couldn’t make the room’s sparkling virtual marble, ivy-covered walls or central water feature look as photorealistic as he’d hoped.

Fernandez, who also designed interiors and menswear, eventually teamed up with two fancy platforms called Mona and MetaMundo, which helped him and his design team achieve the high-fidelity look that he wanted. he was looking for. The resulting space uses premium materials and proportions that feel familiar but aren’t limited by fiddly things like gravity.

“You can play God a bit,” Fernandez says. “Obviously, there is no physics. There is no materiality. For me to keep some semblance of the real world, but then play around and fool the eye with some things you just can’t build [in real life]is the path I have chosen to pursue it.

Increasingly, designers are using the Metaverse and other future technologies as a testing ground for their most ingenious ideas. And it’s not just because they offer exciting ways to push the boundaries that craftsmanship can’t. In video games, the backbone of the metaverse, cinematic environments are just as important as heroic characters and gravity-defying gameplay. So young designers who grew up playing The Sims Where Minecraft are uniquely prepared to find innovations in virtual spaces that translate to the real world. And even if they haven’t spent hours playing games, many creatives in this field have already been using the technology that underpins these virtual worlds (computer-aided design, 3D renderings, etc.) for centuries. decades.

“Designers are generally forward-thinking and open-minded by nature. Designing is about putting something new into the world, and it’s always to some degree an experience,” says Sarah Housley, head of consumer technology at trend forecasting agency. WGSN. “They can be curious people and open to experimenting with new technologies.”

Fortunately, we can enjoy the fruits of these experiences in the real world. This year’s Best of the Best design winners include furniture and objects that might have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Among them, the undulating curves of the 3D printed Corail dining table by Roche Bobois and the new modular sofas by Sara Hayat, which could make your living room look like a game of Tetris. Both blend unique human ideas and computer-controlled technology to stunning effect. This mix could shed some light on the direction the design world is taking.

“If I’m going to use a CNC milling machine, I want it to cut shapes and forms that would otherwise be impossible,” says Bradley L. Bowers, this year’s designer to watch, referring to the computer-controlled machining tools that cut, shape and engrave wood, stone and metal in ways human hands cannot. “If I’m working with an artisan, I want to create such a deeply human form that a robot would really struggle to do it.”

Abdul J. Gaspar