A metaverse videogame directly inspired the Paris Web-3 Café installation which features furniture pieces for sale both within and outside of the digital world.

Key features

Harry Nuriev, founder of Crosby Studios, and Gaia Repossi, creative director of Repossi, merge the metaverse and physical retail with their latest collaboration, Web-3 Café. Debuted during Paris Fashion Week SS22, the duo has set up an installation and café at Galerie Charraudeau from 4 March to 4 April, a prelude to a new videogame set to be released from Crosby Studios later this year. This phygital experience seeks to address what Nuriev observes as core shift in retail: ‘The traditional retail approach doesn’t work anymore,’ Nuriev tells Frame. ‘Why? Because consumers want to make sure before they open a door into the next shop, that they are going to feel safe and comfortable, just like they are in their own living room or favorite coffee shop.’

The gallery installation comprises furniture and art pieces translated from the digital game including pixelated, miniature versions of Crosby side tables and stools, which are available to purchase in real life and in the game. Adjacent to the space is a fully functioning café. Developed by Meta Development Agency, the game, which will be launched on the virtual platform The Sandbox, is aesthetically inspired by low-tech early video games and allows players to design their own digital interior spaces as they go along. This look also influenced the physical installation and its accompanying furniture pieces. Visitors can also preview the game and a jewellery collection by Repossi presented in augmented reality. 

Frame’s take

Crosby Studios’ video game recreates the physical environment in a digital world. Its installation then recreates that very digital world back into a physical environment. While metaverse technology is still emerging and as a result, not intuitive for a majority to use, the common person’s relationship to the phygital world is not as far removed as one might think. When online shopping, we interact with the digital world to observe and purchase physical items. Nevertheless, the widespread availability and acceptance of this method of shopping may not be enough to draw people into physical retail space. ‘I think people need a reason to leave the comfort of their home,’ explains Nuriev. ‘If there is nothing to do but buy or browse products, then you can do that online. When you feel like you are home, your perception of the experience changes. And that changes the way you see the furniture.’

This space will be featured in Frame 146, out 1 May.