LOS ANGELES: Saudi architect Sattom Alasad has expanded from designing physical buildings to virtual ones.
Collectively known as a metaverse, digital spaces like Alasad’s allow users online to immersively interact with the environment and each other, and the technology world is looking at them as the next big thing.
“A lot of big companies are investing millions of dollars to own digital land so it’s only natural that the digital real estate is also going to go up in value and is going to be in demand,” digital artist and architect Alasad said. “So as an architect, I am trying to actively participate in developing and designing that digital world for us.”
Metaverse development has been pushed forward due in part to the increased number of people working and interacting remotely during the pandemic.
Alasad wanted to use the online spaces dominating people's lives to provide a tranquil, otherworldly escape.
“A lot of what was going on in the world around us was weighing down on us, so I wanted to take that as an opportunity to start developing my dream world,” she told Arab News.
“I’m currently working on translating my designs to be sold as NFTs where the owner can choose to host the spaces in the metaverse or the digital world where they can be experienced fully and immersively through virtual reality.”
These digital spaces are also a way for Alasad to express and explore her Saudi heritage, incorporating familiar design elements from her home.
Of all her projects, the one closest to her heart was a collaboration with the charitable collective of MENA region creators, Ya Habibi Market.
“Creating and sharing art is an incredible way to meet and connect with other creatives who live in LA whether they’re from Saudi or other parts of the Arab world.
“So in some ways I found it I would say more empowering to try to connect and understand my culture while being away from it.”