For my MA final project I am looking at re-inventing the high street as a virtual entity. Mixing digital design, technology, web power and Interior Design as a means of fully replicating the cities we know and love into a virtual high street marketplace. This is the future of high-streets and this is a narrative from a time traveller telling you why...
"What is Re-Cord? Re-Cord is part virtual design, part guerilla hijacking marketing stunt. It liberates the mundane physical high street into a virtual replication that is not limited by budget, physics, building regulations or materials.
It uses the floor plans of already existing physical high street stores as a basis for replicating exact models of these plans in a virtual online environment.
But why do this?
I live in the year 2030, I have seen the rise and fall of the once powerful high street. I have experienced the days when people used to queue outside of stores a day before the release of a new product or long awaited album. This no longer exists...
The digital era started to take-off in the early 2000's some thirty or so years ago. There were websites such as Amazon that meant thousands of products could be viewed and purchased at home on a screen, saving time, money and petrol (which incidently was at an all time high).
Consumer spending increased on a virtual scale year on year, until in 2020 when 90% of all consumer purchases were taken from online stores. The physical high street became redundant. Filled with poorly made, poorly kept stores with equally dire products. The only natural thing to do was with increasing demands for inner city living, to turn the high street into high end apartments.
The revolution began back in 2025 when consumers took to the blogs with strong words and unhappy smilies protesting that they demanded more form their profitable online retail experience. And then it happened... Re-Cord.
Re-Cord was the first, it broke boundaries, it incorporated familiar retail environments in a fully immersive online experience.
By taking the exact dimensions of the once great high street stores and creating 3D models of these spaces the high street was re-born on a virtual scale.
RE-Cord was the first OVRES (Online Virtual Retail Experience Store) to successfully market this venture. They were primarily a failing Record store who had the foresight to see no future in retail. They saw the future in virtual retail. They employed a few virtual designers and went away creating a high end interior store that was a complete replica of the store they used to own.
It launched and became massive. Unsigned bands paid a small fee to drop off their promotional MP3's and within a matter of seconds millions of users worldwide could listen to their music and the majority of bands got signed. It was a win-win environment.
It cost them next to nothing. Website hosting, computer programmers and virtual interior designers were the only expense. A recent report stated that a shop fit out that once cost £100,000 now only cost £5000 on a virtual scale. A shop could be designed and implemented in less than a week.
From a designer's point of view this is Nirvana. The possibilities were endless. Concrete cladding? Why not, no virtual ethical consequences with doing such a thing. You could become a child again with no concept of reality or consequences.
I am Jake Gardner-Griffiths an OVRES principle designer. I am a new breed of designer who can be as creative and as un-creative as I please, without any justification.
I Re-Design virtual stores with the finest materials available and some created from my own imagination.
I Re-Develop the whole mantra of retail and consumerism.
I can Re-Store classic stores on a virtual scale as a virtual conservationist.
And I can Re-Cord the whole process for generations to come."
Keep tuned for the progress of this conceptual project. A taster of the mood board is shown below.