Virtual reality: saving architecture and events during COVID-19

Social distancing during the pandemic has separated creators and the general public from the big events of the art world.  This has led artists, event organisers, and cultural sites have sought refuge in technology in order to keep the connection with their followers alive.

We’ve already talked about the online initiative that is bringing together the main events of international design, Virtual Design Fest, as well as museums like the Louvre that have turned to virtual tours to make sure their doors stay open.  These are two examples of how technological solutions allowed the sector to bounce back when it seemed to be in trouble due to a lack of physical contact, and now it continues to reinvent itself.


Virtual reality at events

With an ambitious program that covers everything from design presentations from some of the best creators in the world to bilateral conferences with big names in architecture, Virtual Design Fest has provided a way for the whole community to stay together.  This latter statement came from Maurizio Stochetto, the owner of the legendary Bar Basso in Milan, which turns into a pilgrimage site for designers every year during Milan Design Week.

With his statement, Stochetto summed up the feelings of a community that is used to creating its relationships through physical contact with the buildings and works of art that they breathe life into.  His was the opening statement of the launch video for the event, which also featured Stefano Giovannoni, Es Devlin, Ini Archibong, Ben van Berkel, and Bec Brittain, among other big names.  Founder of the India Design Forum, Rajshree Pathy, also participated in the opening of the event, saying that “in these challenging times, it’s important for the design fraternity to connect and to see how we can reimagine the world going forward post the COVID”.


The 360-degree house

Virtual festivals have not just saved some of the most important events of the design world.  They have also made it easier for events that had to close due to the COVID-19 crisis to continue to receive visitors.

This is what happened with Casa Décor, which is one of the most emblematic cultural events in Madrid in its own right.  When the lockdown period began, its organisers got to work designing a virtual tour that covers every single detail of the five floors of the building at Velázquez 21, where the exhibition is being held this year.

The concept behind this edition is sustainability, and inside you can see spaces designed by Patricia Bustos, Guille García-Hoz, Mayice Studio, and Paloma Cañizares.  It was supposed to end on April 19, but since they had to close the doors during lockdown, the organisation decided to re-open the exhibition on June 8.  When the re-opening was announced, a press release from the organisers explained how well-received the content on their website had been, and that it had received “thousands of views”.