January 21, 2021
Six Virtual Experiences Worth Getting Lost In
Designers, manufacturers, and curators continue to come up with imaginative solutions for experiencing design—without leaving your home.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, we are far from seeing the end of virtual experiences. Last year as museums, fairs, and designers shifted gears to conduct scheduled programming digitally, many came up with imaginative substitutions. Whether it be through digital exhibitions, virtual showrooms, or creating new visions for online shopping, the year was filled with new—and safe—ways of engaging with art and design. The beginning of 2021 has proved to be no different. Below is a selection of recent art and design experiences that can be explored from the comfort of your home.
On January 13, New York-based design studio Crosby Studios launched Crosby Studios Home, a new home goods collection available to browse via virtual showroom. Using gaming software and augmented reality (AR), you can explore the virtual apartment and purchase the items inside through HBX’s online store. Once you click an object, you are also given the option to enter AR View on your mobile device to get an idea of how the product will look within your own home before purchasing. “In times when our reality is a hybrid of real, virtual, and augmented, Crosby Studios aims to capture the essence of what we truly crave when we enter spaces: comfort and stimulation, clarity and calm, and a sexy personal story,” founder Harry Nuriev states in a press release.
Representing a variety of workstyles, Haworth’s virtual showroom takes visitors on a journey through the manufacturer’s “ideal workspace.” Designed to showcase settings and furniture it wouldn’t typically be able to put in a physical location, the showroom covers 53,000-square-feet over a ground floor and two mezzanines. Before you set off exploring the company’s most popular offerings, you can grab a virtual coffee in the café complete with Jasper Morrison’s Tate chairs and Patricia Urquiola’s Immerse table. The showroom features spaces to collaborate, spaces for individual reflection, meeting rooms, lounges, as well as a separate white-walled product gallery.
Spanish tile giant Porcelanosa began the year with PORCELANOSA Group Virtual Exhibition 20/21, an interactive space for designers to virtually view the Group’s new collections in eight different rooms inspired by global design capitals—Milan, London, New York, Madrid, Sydney, Paris, Bali, and Moscow. Upon entering, guests will be virtually led through the showroom by a tour guide in the form of short, informational videos. For additional information, a separate room functions as a “download gallery” for the brand’s latest catalogs.
The Webster Art House
Last week, fashion company The Webster launched The Art House, an immersive experience featuring exclusive artist collaborations with six brands. Designed in partnership with Superficial Studio, the 3D-rendered collaborations are on view in virtual reality galleries—three of which are available to browse now with the other three scheduled to open on January 26th. The dreamy digital space recalls the color and contours of David Adjaye’s pink concrete boutique in Los Angeles, one of the brand’s eight global stores.
The Met Unframed
On January 12, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon launched The Met Unframed, an immersive gaming experience featuring more than a dozen digitally rendered galleries and some 50 words from The Met’s collection. While The Met’s New York galleries are still open at limited capacity, The Met Unframed is a digitally inclusive medium for experiencing despite your physical location. Because it is not an exact digital replica of the museum’s plan, the regular Met goer is sure to experience the Museum’s iconic moments such as The Great Hall and Temple of Dendur from a vastly different perspective. The Met Unframed is accessible from any 4G or 5G smart device and can be explored for a five-week run.
On January 15, design galleries Friedman Benda, Galerie kreo, and Salon 94 Design launched DNA, a brand-new platform that explores over 80 works of design objects and furniture alongside 28 comparative essays by writer and curator Glenn Adamson. With the belief that there have been many “missed opportunities” to physically exhibit design this past year, the platform functions as an innovative way to explore contemporary design but also serves as a more informed means of purchasing design objects. Adamson writes, “What gives [DNA] greatest value, though, is the context it provides to each of the designers, by placing them alongside their peers….seen three by three, in 28 different configurations, they are seen afresh.”
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