Engineer Fatima Al Asaad: My metaverse projects reflect peace and tranquility

The young Saudi, Fatima Al-Assaad, known as “SATTOM” was sent to study architecture in the United States, she completed her university studies in 2017, with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and settled in Los Angeles, where she worked, and is still part of an engineering company undertaking Special projects for hospital and research centers. Since the epidemic hit the world, Stom, the descendant of the eastern region, in addition to his work, has undertaken the interior design of commercial, entertainment and artistic projects in the virtual world (metavers and other virtual world platforms), where he uses his knowledge in the field of engineering, in the preparation of spaces that ensure that users relax while playing, shopping or even recreation … About the differences between design for our world, virtual reality, its style, how architecture has shaped its way of thinking and future projects, engineering “Stom” talks to “Madam”.

Saudi engineer Fatima Al-Assad, better known as ‘Stom’ (Photo: Christina Marie Rivera)

Tell us about your first steps in designing in the virtual world …
Through my studies and work, in the field of architecture, I have developed my interest in electronic design and virtual architecture; Initially, it was limited to the preparation of three-dimensional designs, in the context of artistic expression (Digital Art), and the design of various things from spaces to pieces of furniture in a virtual image. However, after a while I shared my work online, I started collaborating with artists and companies in various fields to create virtual experiences for users. The media in which my design works appear in the virtual world were product advertisements, short lyrical “video clips” or electronic exhibitions of works of art, etc.

Is the design process of any virtual world project limited to 3D graphics?
In terms of how it works, whether in reality or in the virtual world, the starting point is the search for an idea to solve a specific problem. In fact, for example, the client may need a home to live in, and in the virtual world the client may require the design of a space to host a digital conference … From the idea, whatever it is, I draw the design initially plans and then builds the 3D model in both cases; In real construction, I have to collaborate with contractors and engineers to transfer my plans to reality, but in the virtual world it is possible to collaborate with programmers or specialists in 3D programs, in a certain way, according to the platform metaverse that will take. projects.

Women’s artistic creations

What kind of projects have you designed, in the virtual world?

From the Japanese-style virtual showroom project
  • A virtual showroom, the decor of which is inspired by Japanese design style; He used abundant wood in the aforementioned project and used the material on a part of the floor outside the doors, simulating “engawa” in traditional Japanese rooms … The aim of the project was to create a showcase for home accessories from various companies. , for the purpose of selling “online”. The pieces included: a lamp designed by a Philadelphia-based artist, a mirror by a New York company, and a mural signed by a Dutch artist; She created a place for the mentioned lighting unit in the living room within the design, and also used the crystal accessories in the bedroom, in addition to installing the artwork on one of the walls …
  • A (real) household goods company, on the occasion of the launch of the first product in the virtual world; After discussions with the client, I decided to use white color in the project with a simple design and materials like glass and concrete, with no separation between interior and exterior spaces using elements of nature, such as water, stones and plants inside, in way to evoke a comfortable feeling in the ranks of the country’s visitors to the world. default.
    Designed by a company that sells household goods
  • A virtual exhibition of women’s artistic creations; My design idea was to arrange the works of the artists in a series of wavy figures, arranged in the shape of a flower and in the presence of a reflective pool, in order to emphasize the contributions of women in society in general and in the artistic community in particular. , in the abstract.
    Designed from the virtual exhibition of women’s artistic creations

The above represents a part of the virtual spaces I have worked on, in the virtual world.

Does design in the virtual world care about the psychology of users and does it take into account the effects of colors on them, for example?
My goal in designing virtual spaces was to transport viewers to places that evoke feelings of peace and tranquility within them, ever since I focused on working in this field in 2020, when the world’s population was concerned about the dire health situation due to epidemic. To achieve the goal, he often follows the rules of the school of “minimalism”, with straight lines and curved shapes “clean” and far from exaggerated decoration, with rationing in the use of materials and colors to the extent of three of them.

plaster and concrete

What are your favorite design materials and colors?
In terms of materials I am attracted to plaster and concrete (raw), and the warmth of the space is added by wood. In terms of colors, I like to work with white, gray, earthy and generally monochrome colors. Of course, it is necessary to take into account the taste of the client, the identity of the project he has designed and the legacy of the brand. Another important factor in creating a serene design is the elimination of boundaries between interior and exterior spaces and the strengthening of the visual connection with nature, looking from the inside and adding green touches to the interior.

Do you follow trends in the (realistic) world of design when it comes to decorating, furniture and accessories when designing for the virtual world?
Not necessarily, every project is unique, in terms of the sources of inspiration that move me at work, and therefore the use of every element to fill the architectural space, as well as the furniture if any, is because of the story I want to show across the country. For example, in the aforementioned Japan-inspired virtual exhibit hall, the seats were low, similar to traditional Saudi seats, in the main living area. In the bedroom there was a pillar bed, a few inches from the floor, and it extended to the walls, in the form of planks covering the bare concrete. In other cases, the design may follow the prevailing trend, although this factor is not a major design factor.

human experience

How did your studies at the College of Architecture help you in designing for the virtual world?
Architecture has developed my interest in design and my understanding of interior architecture and its effects on the human experience, knowing that the user experience takes an important part of design, also in the virtual worlds. In addition, the architecture taught me to thoroughly research each project, study precedents, and perform many design iterations before reaching the final solution. Currently, he follows this design path in the virtual world. I also had to learn how to use a lot of 3D software both in university and at work, noting that many of these tools I currently use in the production of my virtual worlds.

What are your future projects in the real and virtual world?

I did not announce this before this interview with “Madam”; I am in the process of working on a range of new virtual projects, meeting and healing spaces, whose designs have been inspired by the historic baths of the Middle East, North Africa and Andalusia. The footage will be published periodically throughout the summer; The images will be available for purchase in the form of immutable digital assets (NFT) or physical prints. As for real-world projects, I’m very excited, since the construction of the new Salk Center for Biological Science and Technology (based in La Jolla, California), I’ve been involved in designing with a small team of architects within HDR for which I work. It is worth noting that the main institute building, which is located next to the new building under construction, was designed by the famous American architect Louis Kahn in the sixties of last century and is considered one of the most famous buildings of the century. twentieth century. My dream of being part of the design team for this historic project has come true!

I often follow the rules of the “minimalist” school in the design of spaces in the metaphysical world

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