If you’re someone with an interest in architecture and design who’s active on Instagram, you might have noticed one genre of imagery emerging early in the pandemic: plausible buildings and rooms , but subtly surreal. On closer inspection, these are not photographs of actual locations, but 3D digital artworks known as “dreamscapes”, created by a growing number of designers, including Evoque Lab from Italy, Charlotte Taylor from London and Stefano Giacomello from Studio Rotolo in Montreal. .
Dreamscapes are ethereal, but their popularity is rooted in the practical creative challenges of the past two years. At the start of the pandemic, many lifestyle brands found themselves canceling traditional product photoshoots (which typically require travel and gathering large teams in a physical space) and began looking for other ways to situate their products in evocative advertisements. Suddenly, 3D-rendered dreamscapes transformed from an artistic hobby shared on social media into an in-demand service influencing contemporary aesthetics.
“We started to see [designers of real life] cafes, shops, using the same colors, the same types of objects or architecture that you would see on Instagram,” says Giacomello. To exemplify this influence, he points to the popularity of dreamscape details such as archways, pastel hues, and desert-inspired decor in today’s interiors. Curves are easy to digitally render, so flowing styles and objects, from curvaceous bathtubs to plump chairs and sofas, have a digital moment and are in our homes. Popular household items such as Gustaf Westman-inspired sculptural candles and curved mirrors all seem drawn from the computer-generated serenity of virtual realities.
Although dreamscapes can influence IRL design, they are ultimately not meant to be physically repeatable. “These are impossible spaces,” says Giacomello. Nevertheless, he works to create real furniture inspired by the organic forms of dreamscapes for clients and his own studio.
If metaverses (immersive and sophisticated virtual worlds) emerge as some technology leaders hope, today’s dreamscapes could become the models for the look and feel of virtual spaces we might one day visit. Already, metaverse architectural firms have emerged and interior designers can’t be far behind. The evolution of these worlds is limited only by the imagination of their creators.