Dezeen Magazine

Grimshaw and Farshid Moussavi create metaverse social spaces

Grimshaw and Farshid Moussavi create metaverse social spaces

Architecture studios GrimshawHWKNWHY and Farshid Moussavi have partnered with metaverse company to create a series of virtual hubs informed by the ancient Silk Road.

Each architecture studio designed a metaserai – a concept referring to caravanserai, which were roadside inns on the Silk Road – where users of the metaverse can trade, attend cultural events, and network.

Grimshaw's design at
International architecture firms are invited to design social spaces in the metaverse by

Pax. world founder Frank Fitzgerald began to create spaces in the metaverse during lockdown when he became frustrated with doing business and socialising via teleconferencing.

He launched, which claims to be the world's first true virtual society, this month. The platform lets users host events includings concerts, trade shows, lectures, parties and festivals in the virtual Metaserai buildings.

Grimshaw's design at
Grimshaw designed changeable spaces based on the data generated by user interaction

The Metaserai designed by Grimshaw has a rectangular shape and floats above its location with visitors entering the space through spherical gates.

Once inside, their interaction with other users generates a flow of data up through the suspended structure. These interactions create other, bespoke spaces, forming what the studio calls "shape-shifting" architecture, which were generated by a kit of parts based on various human interactions.

HWKN's design for
HWKN's design is a hexagonal form set in the desert

"Experimentation with design, technology and materials is an inherent part of Grimshaw's history and legacy, enabling us to transform the experience and outcomes of our built environment," said Grimshaw partner Keith Brewis.

"Engaging with the metaverse as it matures, and working with, we are also experiencing the empowering nature of the digital world: Grimshaw's metaserai acting as a place where users can create rather than consent to their own environments."

HWKN's design for
The spaces can be used as business, cultural and social hubs informed by Caravanserai of the Silk Road

HWKN's created a metaserai named Paxton with a multi-level hexagonal form. Located in the desert, it includes a giant amphitheatre for concerts, wallless galleries for art, meeting rooms that open to the sky, and a rooftop garden with exercise facilities.

"Paxton is a world you choose to enter in order to explore, change, and grow," said Matthias Hollwich, principal and founder of New York architecture firm.

Farshid Moussavi Architecture's metaserai features event spaces arranged around three large circular courtyards, with open views to communal halls. The exterior of the virtual building is mirror-clad, reflecting the surrounding scenery.

WHY designed an interactive blooming garden for its metaserai. Visitors are welcomed into an open plaza with a tree at its centre that grows outside of the roof through a central void.

Curated art galleries, waterfalls, "painted" timber and stone are featured in the space, while floating islands with pools are surrounding the main structure.

Farshid Moussavi's design for
Farshid Moussavi designed event spaces arranged around three large circular courtyards

"Our spaces are intended to be a place where people can be and become the most illuminating and imaginative version of themselves," said WHY buildings director Andrija Stojic.

"They visit not only to encounter new worlds, but to immerse themselves in community and collaborate with like-inspired peers," he added.

Farshid Moussavi's design for
The mirror facade is used to reflect the surrounding scenery

According to Fitzgerald, is a fully functioning virtual society governed by DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) and with an economy built on its $PAXW token.

" is the metaverse for grown-ups and as well as creating functionality and governance that will allow people to trade, network and experience culture as never before on a virtual platform," he said.

WHY's design for
WHY designed a blooming garden with a "tree of life" at the centre is partnering with a series of non-profit organisations and NGOs to develop solutions to issues such as sustainability, democracy, diversity and privacy in the metaverse. is now open to landowners and will launch to the public in early 2023.

Large numbers architects and artists are invited to create mind-bending structures in the metaverse. In July this year, metaverse community The Row has launched with 30 virtual properties created by artists including Daniel Arsham, Misha Kahn, and design studio Six N Five.

Photography is courtesy of