10 - 12 SEPTEMBER 2023


Inside the Metaverse

30 Aug. 2022

Like all good ideas, the Metaverse is not new just a variation on an existing concept. It has its origins in a dystopian 1980s science-fiction novel and open-world multiplayer platforms like Sims, SecondLife, and Roblox have been mainstream for twenty years.

Put simply, the Metaverse is the internet, but in 3D. A form of digital, virtual experience that simulates the real or future worlds with lots of people interacting in a persistent, immersive ecosystem across several devices. In the last couple of years, the metaverse has created a lot of buzz. That buzz is now being shaped into something that will influence the way that consumers live and work as immersive technologies move people towards an omnipresent world, sharing experiences and building more expansive environments in which they live.

Historically, the way people work and live has evolved organically in offices or homes. However, with the increase in people living and working in different places at different times, there is now a need for a new vision of how the real world looks and how to make the most of a virtual one. Elements of the metaverse are already mainstream. Virtual Reality, for instance, makes working collaboratively over distance easier. Watercooler meetings are still possible, just in the digital world. For architects and designers, the metaverse is virgin territory, full of possibilities, without the constraints and challenges of the physical world and traditional spatial design.


Until now, web design has been the domain of graphic designers, but the metaverse offers an opportunity for architects and designers to shape the next phase of social reality. Soon, everything that is being done in the real world will be substituted, augmented or paralleled in the metaverse and a generation of new virtual interior designers will be paid just to design virtual environments and curate digital living spaces within the platform. However, lack of physical materials will eliminate manufacturing costs and shortened lead times will accelerate the personalisation of designed spaces and products.

In the metaverse, technically, anyone can be an architect or designer and the proliferation of a new breed of “Metaverse Builders” is rising sharply in response to the growing demand for metaverse property and virtual designed interiors. The significant difference is that where architects and designers have worked with virtual and augmented reality technologies for years, the metaverse and meta-architecture of today does not need to abide by traditional designs. One of the biggest challenges for architects and designers is convincing people that virtual worlds will resemble or surpass the 3D version. The metaverse allows users to move around architectural designs, buildings, entire streets or even cities before they experience, and are convinced by, the brave new world that will be metaverse living.

As with every emerging technology, everything about the Metaverse is an educated guess based on what might happen to the interiors and architectural industries. With Bloomberg predicting that the metaverse could be an US$ 800 billion market by 2024 and the virtual reality market reaching US$ 678.8 billion by 2030, it’s clear there will be plenty of work and revenue for architects and interior designers. As the world makes the shift from real to digital, bricks and mortar retail stores are closing their doors and commercial real estate struggles as tenants abandon office or downsize. For architects and interior designers there will be no other option but to join the game. For those that do, there is a bright future in it.

The Metaverse and the implications for the global architecture and interior design industry, will be an integral part of the INDEX Design Talks being held alongside INDEX Saudi Arabia being held 6 - 8 September 2022 at The Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Riyadh. The programme, developed in close consultation with industry stakeholders, will explore the rise of technology in the interiors industry the dynamics affecting the industry.

To secure your participation go to: INDEX Design Talks