16.–21.01.2023 #immcologne

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When the boundary between online and offline becomes blurred

NFT design in the interiors industry

When a house by the artist Krista Kim sells for half a million dollars or a ten-piece furniture collection by the artist Andrés Reisinger goes for 450,000 dollars, it might seem like business as usual at first. But what if neither the house nor the furniture exists in the real world? No, we’re not talking about an expensive scam, but about highly valuable digital creations in the form of NFTs.

The beginnings of the future of furniture and home design? Andrés Reisinger shows how it works. (Photos: Andrés Reisinger, Instagram)

The beginnings of the future of furniture and home design? Andrés Reisinger shows how it works. (Photos: Andrés Reisinger, Instagram)

On NFTs, the metaverse and the interiors industry

But what does NFT stand for exactly, what is the metaverse, and what are the advantages of the digital artworks? Explaining NFTs could probably fill whole volumes. But in essence, the idea behind the digital works is not to be sneezed at. The non-fungible tokens – NFTs for short – give digital artists a traceable way to identify their works for the first time. It’s all based on the much-discussed blockchain technology, which can be used to create an unalterable record of transactions. This technology allows the rights of use and the value of a digital object to be traced and documented. This means that all the ambiguity surrounding the ownership of digital works is removed for the first time, giving them a status that analogue art has long benefited from in the form of physical proofs. Put simply, NFTs are akin to a certificate of authenticity or an invoice from respected galleries.

But dive deeper into the world of NFTs, and it very quickly becomes very complicated and abstract. One concept that keeps cropping up in connection with NFTs is the metaverse, an idea that’s been making headlines. The metaverse is a second online world that we can enter as avatars. Once inside, we can admire artworks and products such as furniture, decoration and clothing that were purchased as NFTs. If one day you should happen to become the happy owner of the above-mentioned Mars House by Krista Kim, you could use this house in the metaverse and fill it with Andrés Reisinger’s furniture from The Shipping collection.

According to designer Misha Kahn, NFTs are a means to “free objects from existence in a physical space”. For the interiors industry, this represents a significant advantage and opens up completely new ideas for online business ventures. Designers can give their creativity free rein when they are creating a digital piece of furniture and release extraordinary works, utterly divorced from reality, on the market. Only afterwards might they consider how their ideas could be implemented in the real world. This process could unleash a host of creative innovations in the industry.

NFT furniture by Andrés Reisinger and Misha Kahn

Two successes with NFT design: Andrés Reisinger’s Hortensia Chair (photo: Instagram) and an extravagant table by Misha Kahn (photo: Instagram).

Turning futuristic visions into tangible business ideas

What might sound like the stuff of futuristic visions – not to mention very abstract and plucked from a video game – is already a reality and a huge, cash-rich market. Creators can earn enormous amounts with NFT design, as the examples of Krista Kim and Andrés Reisinger show. But how exactly might it work? The following two stories demonstrate that trading NFTs is already a viable business idea for the interiors industry:

Andrés Reisinger’s Hortensia Chair

Reisinger adopted an interesting and groundbreaking approach with his Hortensia Chair. It takes several years to completely design a conventional chair, run all the required product tests and successfully market it before it can take up its place in buyers’ living rooms. Not only is this effort time-intensive; there is a substantial financial risk attached to it, namely that the chair ultimately won’t sell despite all the work that has gone into it.

Reisinger’s NFT chair removes this effort. Once he had finished the digital design process, he simply posted the rendering of the new chair on Instagram to gauge the demand. In the case of the Hortensia Chair, the strategy worked brilliantly. The chair quickly went viral, causing a huge sensation. The earnings from the NFT generated enough money for Reisinger to produce a haptic version of the chair. Together with product designer Júlia Esqué, he finally breathed analogue life into his online vision. One of the astonishing chairs is already on display in the Design Museum Gent.

Misha Kahn’s digital auction

Designer Misha Kahn – famed for his daring, out-of-this-world furniture – chose a different approach, but a no less interesting one. He teamed up with the auction house Christie’s to hold the first auction by a major industry name to focus exclusively on NFT design from 18 to 24 August 2022. Bidders at the auction had the chance to purchase Kahn’s visionary NFTs, which they could then produce themselves with a 3D printer or commission Kahn’s studio to do so for them. This is a simple but impressive example showing how digital art can become tangible items of designer furniture.

NFT designs by Andrés Reisinger

The future of the interior design industry: detached from space and time. (Photos: Andrés Reisinger, Instagram)

The interiors industry of the future

The digitalisation of the interior design industry is advancing rapidly, and the sector is increasingly moving online, as industry insiders will know only too well. Any brand that wants to be a key player in the future should keep a close eye on digital trends and innovations. The excitement surrounding NFT design and online business ideas for the metaverse are still very abstract and hard to grasp today, but this doesn’t make them any less important. Within the world of NFTs and crypto art, there are plenty of different elements that could set the stage for pioneering innovations in the interiors industry.

Find out how this exciting new dimension of interior design is evolving and discover the – real-world – trends for interiors and exteriors that are making waves in the industry with our regular updates in the magazine by imm cologne newsletter . Subscribe now!