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‘Meta-Horizons: The Future Now’ by Zaha Hadid Architects and Refik Anadol Studio

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Meta-Horizons: The Future Now
© RAS

The cultural hub of Dongdaemun district in Seoul, Korea is all set to house the ‘Meta-Horizons: The Future Now’ exhibition at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), this insightful event from the 26th of May – to the 18th of September 2022, focuses on the powerful integration of art and technology; where architecture amalgamates with artificial intelligence and digital design tools to co-relate the boundaries between the virtual and physical environments. With a trifold theme of Innovation, Imagination, and Interaction, the event aims at reinforcing the advancements in the technology and media genres. DDP’s design aims to translate the diverse cultural viability of the region and complement the cultural legacy of the district.

Meta-Horizons: The Future Now
© Kyungsub Shin

The inaugural exhibition explores ZHA’s pathbreaking contributions across multi-functional genres, right from digital technology to artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The exhibition spaces have been designed to feature the firm’s design ideologies, processes, and research pieces in the form of interactive digital art. Thus, incorporating immersive technologies and futuristic fabrication methodologies used in the design. This marks a pivotal integration of architecture and digital media. The three facets of the exhibition defined in terms of Innovation, Imagination, and Interaction, provide the visitors a walkthrough of ZHA’s works categorized under their four research teams: Computation & Design (ZH CODE); Virtual Reality (ZHVR); Analytics & Insights (ZH A+I); and Social Interaction Processes (ZHA Social).

Meta-Horizons: The Future Now
© Kyungsub Shin

The Exhibition

Each zone among these has a design ideology to offer, each zone acts as a catalyst to initiate the exchange of ideas and developments in design processes. While Innovation showcases the thoughtful and rigorous processes and research, the Imagination zone provides a glimpse of design and advancements in virtual reality. Whereas, the Interaction zone showcases immersive technology and collaboration.

Let us have a detailed view of each of these zones:

The INNOVATION highlights advancements made through design in the built environment through research-based cohesive approaches and physical prototyping. The highlight of this zone is the Striatus, a recently accomplished 3D-printed concrete bridge.

The IMAGINATION strengthens the aspects of communication and vision that aids in formulating the design between the physical and virtual realms. By means of the cyber urban incubator ‘Liberland’ and ‘NFTism’, a virtual gallery space, ZHA here showcases its efforts in designing the Metaverse, the promising future of design.

The INTERACTION zone displays the ongoing development of technologies across cross-functional verticals of design, thereby focusing on the seamless user experience across realms of cyber-physical, mixed reality, augmented, and virtual reality. ‘Project Correl 1.0’, a collaborative experiment in multi-presence virtual reality; the ‘LOOP’ mixed-reality experience; and the ‘NEW WORLDS’ a design simulation, are the masterpieces of the exhibition in this zone.

Meta-Horizons: The Future Now
© Kyungsub Shin

The Structure

45,000 aluminum panels of varying sizes and curvatures form the parametric facade of the DDP, giving rise to the ambitious free-flowing form of the structure. The forms are inspired by the ancient city walls and cultural artifacts discovered in the region. The advanced 3-dimensional digital construction services helped turn this parametric vision into reality, making DDP the first public building in Korea constructed through technological interventions. Owing to the series of panels and perforations, the facade inculcates a feeling of pixelation, adding a sense of animation and ‘play’ to the whole structure.

Owing to the series of panels and perforations, the facade inculcates a feeling of pixelation, adding a sense of animation and 'play' to the whole structure.
© Zaha Hadid Architects

The Highlight

The ‘Meta-Horizons: The Future Now’ exhibition marks the association of RAS + ZHA: ‘Architecting the Metaverse’, a proactive collaboration between ZHA and Refik Anadol Studio (RAS). Multi-model AI algorithms have been employed for the analysis of image and script data, resulting in comprehensive datasets enabling visitors to experience art and architecture from a completely new perspective.

Thus, ‘Meta-Horizons: The Future Now’ by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in collaboration with Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has laid a strong foundation required to integrate art, architecture, and technology, thereby setting new standards of exploration in design.

Project Info:

Exhibition: ‘Meta-Horizons: The Future Now’
Collaboration: Zaha Hadid Architects + Refik Anadol Studio
Photographs: Zaha Hadid Architects, Kyungsub Shin, RAS
Location: Seoul, South Korea

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