Re+Fractive.VR is a virtual visitor space that inspires an inner journey and embodies a meta wellness experience. Members of group:8 Zouha Jabal, Urszula Zwierzynska, and Ipek Yilmaz designed and presented this project as a part of PAACADEMY’s “Meta-Fluid Studio” with Mariana Cabugueira. The project’s main objective was to create a well-being experience using natural and architectural elements in the metaverse.
The META-Fluid online workshop was hosted by PAACADEMY, between May 15- July 15, 2022, on ZOOM. Meta-Fluid is one of the High-demand workshops at the PAACADEMY that focuses on exploring the quality and power of Fluid Design to conceive cyber-urban environments in virtual cities. The goal is to create a free-standing virtual city designed by 30 different designers teamed up in 3s. Some teams create meta-archi typologies for this studio, and some designers will join skills to develop a ‘Meta-Urban’ base. Combined, they make a free-standing, fluid virtual urban field and prove the Multi-Author Urban Design to be the directionality for the future of virtual cities.
The design journey started by trying to define first what meta wellness could mean. Wellness is an active process through which people become more aware of themselves and helps them to make choices towards a more successful existence, which was the steering axis of the project. This ideology is used as a pattern for the VR experience that the designers wanted to offer. By applying this idea, multiple resulting core concepts were developed, such as Zero gravity – because it is a virtual environment, They could take advantage of that. Mind, body, and soul – because this is what wellness addresses on a human scale holistically and peacefully – as emotions. As well as Cocoons – because they are related to safety, and the mother’s womb, a place where feels closeness. Also, Light fraction – Brings a spectrum of colors, and colors are a vibration of different emotions. Floating motion – as a way to think of a meta experience.
With that being said, the final name represented all the key characteristics, like a full spectrum of colors. Color, like light, is a form of electromagnetic radiation, the energy radiating at various frequencies. In the same way, every thought and emotion has its vibrational frequency, which the Re fractive Experience resonates with. The project mood boards reflected what re fractive means in terms of colors, atmosphere, and architectural experience that can inspire this VR world.
The designers were particularly interested in floating forms, sculptures almost, that don’t have contact with the ground. The project used this to bring new ways of entering spaces rather than the traditional entrances. Moreover, the light is a guide leading the avatar to different experiences. In the sketches, designers explored the idea of floating cocoons and their connection, a unified body versus separate units, and how they can act as private or public spaces.
The final concept is based on one hand on three bubbles, representing different dimensions of wellness: body, mind, and soul experiences. Floating bubbles are spread on different levels and can be navigated via ramps. They are not connected but offer a different experience. On the other hand, a composition of walkable ramps whose first base was changed into the water allows the avatar to explore the plot on both sides of the high street.
The RE+FRACTIVE.VR is part of the meta urban space, located in plot eight, which is divided into two parts: the first next to the central water and the second next to the towers in the east. From the beginning and in the first attempt to interpret meta wellness, the group wanted to embody this concept in the entryways that link the two parts and the highway. To do so, they created different levels of paths and ramps elevated above the water and animated with lights and trees along the way. These paths are guidelines that lead directly to the three floating bubbles.
At first, the disposition designed for the three bubbles was a single-shaped structure that held them one beneath the other. This design kept evolving until taking its ultimate form: two U-shaped towers, each containing a bubble inside, leaving the third bubble flying in the center, as shown here. The bubbles can be accessed through the tower’s base, through an unordinary journey where the avatars are teleported. For a finishing touch, they sculpted the tower’s facades, created openings for the three bubbles, and added holograms that ring the buildings and the bubbles to alter the sensory and spatial experience of the environment. The dynamic nature of the holograms shifts and refreshes the way they conceptualize and experience architecture
As for the interior modeling of the bubbles, the designers found both semi-private open and private spaces. Moreover, circular ramps are present in the interior design as a continuity of the exterior circular design. This is also the case for the perpetual colors and holograms allowing to immerse the virtual visitors in a soothing harmony. The project’s development process was achieved using Maya and Unreal Engine at the same time. In this way, the group had the opportunity to see the design they made from the human eye, and they experienced the places with avatars. Thanks to these experiences, they could take their project to the next level and enrich it with holograms, water elements, and different materials that harmonize with the dominant theme and enhance and nuance the experience.
Studio workshop by PAACADEMY
Studio title: Meta-Fluid
Lead by: Mariana Cabugueira
Project name: RE+FRACTIVE.VR
Students: Zouha Jabal, Urszula Zwierzynska, Ipek Yilmaz
Date: From May 15 to July 15, 2022