DISEGNO VIRTUOSI: First Virtual Design//ers

Though primarily associated with music and fine arts, a Virtuoso has been redefined in the last century as a highly-skilled person in any given pursuit.  In the field of design, the emergence of its Virtual realm has paved the way for the explosion of new paradigms and processes that continue to unfold today.

After the discovery of augmented reality and the impact in terms of innovation that it had at the time, artists from all areas embarked on an exploratory journey where they created various proposals oriented towards virtuality. We will focus on the arts and design-oriented categories; and how they allowed the evolution of these disciplines through the years.


Mark Novak is an architect, an artist, a composer, and a theorist. Considered as the pioneer of virtual architecture, he is the creator of concepts such as liquid architecture and transarquitecture. With his approaches, Novak wanted to break the existing limits about the real world and the virtual world.

Data-Driven Forms (1997-1998) consists of spatial models made with algorithmic functions extracted from web page links and placed in a three-dimensional plane. Using spline curves, they are interconnected to generate the curves. This project explores two concepts: the exchange of one group of data towards another group and the arbitrary exchange between two groups of data.

ParaCube (1998) consists of a parametric cube that is manipulated to create two shapes: first, a surface simulating a skeletal frame and second, a smoothed surface simulating the envelope or skin. Each one was done in a computerized way separately; the scheme was created in 4 dimensions by adding four coordinates at each point in three dimensions. As a result, a 4-dimensional object.

VR reconstruction of the Theater of Dionysus by Richard Beacham (1997) A team from the 3D visualizations unit led by Beacham created a highly detailed and reconstructed model of the ancient theater of Dionysus in Greece and the theater of Pompeii, using as a database the archaeological and historical records. These models were meticulously made without letting any detail escape, thus reliving an important part of history.


EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, Steve Mann (1999) His research began in 1978, then 34 years later he invented a lens that combined the human eye with the electronic camera and screen. He intended to improve the visual sense of people through computerized clothing for their day-to-day wear. They were part of his day and at that time, it was considered something strange, even illegal. However, his research was what paved the way for new technologies (such as google glass).


Le sacre Du Printemps – Kalus Obermeier (2006) Klaus is an intermediate artist and he created this interdisciplinary artistic production that consisted of performers in one dance live on stage. With stereoscopic cameras, live images are taken that are then computerized and projected in 3 dimensions that can be seen through stereoscopic lenses—these images, in combination with the integrated music, become figures that go to the beat of the dancer’s movement. With this, they wanted to graphically represent the level of anxiety that the digital world produced in humans.

Adrein M / Claire B is a dance company that creates performances where the dancer is performing within a three-dimensional space created and continuously transformed by the movements of the dancer.

An Adjacent Disclosure. Troika Ranch (1991) The dancers were performing live in completely different locations—though not so far apart from each other. The captured images were projected onto a screen  in  which  the  two  dancers  seemed  to  dance  together,  though  they could not at all touch it.

Dancing with the virtual Dervish: virtual bodies.  Diane Gromala and Yacov Sharir developed this between 1991 and 1994 in the field of virtual art Environments Project, and included the first environments made quadri-dimensionally. It allowed the actors to project what they were seeing through the viewers at the same time where viewers could interact together with them through controls that made it possible to move through the virtualized body.


Burberry is one of the brands who are at the forefront of the fashion digitalization revolution. In 2006, the brand was the first company in the fashion industry to be “fully digital” and started live streaming fashion shows on its websites in 2010.  It was also the first brand that uses virtual image technology like holograms and projections in their stores.

In 2012, Burberry created Magic Mirror—their first virtual store where customers could live the shopping experience through immersive multimedia content similar to their website. It consisted of digital mirrors where it contained huge interactive screens as well as a 360 ° immersion for customers. This move to digital has led the brand to rethink how it had designed its physical stores and guide it towards a more digital landscape.

Burberry Kisses in 2013 was associated with Google and showcased a digital marketing strategy not previously seen in the world of fashion. The campaign consisted of users being able to send “kisses” virtually. Through Google’s facial recognition system, users could send personal messages sealed with their virtual kisses. The kiss was captured via webcam and the computer replicated the user’s lips.

In 2015, Burberry is once again launching an innovative campaign in collaboration with Google. The Burberry Booth provided in-store consumers the opportunity to share their images with celebrities—using real-time video stitching technology on their social media profiles—providing the customer with a fully personalized and inclusive experience.

TommyNow – Tommy Hilfiger (2018) was the first catwalk made with augmented reality. It allowed consumers to buy the looks while the show was running by simply clicking on the model’s photo. Later, they launched the Tommy Now Snap App. This app allowed consumers to choose a product from the Tommy Hilfiger collections.   By using the camera of your cell phone, you could see the clothes in a virtually generated model which would allow you to rotate and see the piece at all angles. This made it possible to concentrate all the catwalk looks available in 70 countries worldwide in addition to those available on the website in a single application.

Gucci Hallucination – In 2018, Gucci changed what was known as fashion marketing—with the aim of making the shopping experience more fun, the brand used augmented reality in its store windows and in print ads. These prints could be scanned in the Gucci App and once scanned, the piece in augmented reality could be seen making the illustrations in the artwork move. Five illustrations were used in total and were released in 52 stores around the world.

These and more artists managed to see into the future when no one else did. They ventured into concepts never before experienced—becoming the pioneers of the digital world and paving the way towards a previously little-known reality that is now essential and difficult to separate from the human being: the connection with the virtual, laying the foundations of digital innovation.

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