Multimedia technology is everywhere, and smartphones and electronic devices have become essential to our daily lives. For a long time, people thought that mobile phones and computers offered an escape route when the pressures of real life, school and work weighed more than we could handle, or at least they helped us find quick solutions by seemingly finding the answer to almost any question in a click. But now, research shows that many technology owners experience stress and anxiety. It comes as no surprise, as we consistently use our devices to check email, shop online, access the news, download videos, engage in social media, order food, look at maps... and the list goes on.
Istituto Marangoni student Manami Galliker's Hana, a gamified app creating a slow and quiet virtual space as a metaverse to take refuge in
While technology makes many anxious and stressed, what if the same technology could help us find a relaxing digital space? That’s what Istituto Marangoni Milano Visual Design student Manami Galliker thought when she designed Hana. A mobile phone and computer app, Hana creates a slow and quiet immersive virtual space as a kind of metaverse to take refuge in when people need a break from the real world and the digital universe they live in. In a nutshell, entering Hana allows visitors to build their own garden, meditate or listen to soft music while relaxing from the information overload and the hustle and bustle of our lives.
However, what makes Manami Galliker’s work so unique is that it draws a new, different path for the future of the metaverse, as reported by Stefania Valenti, Managing Director of Istituto Marangoni. “During the Covid pandemic, this student created a kind of metaverse that works as a digital land where you can relax your mind and refresh your thoughts. As you can see, this happened some time ago,” said Valenti in her speech at the first Metaverse X Luxury Symposium in Milan. “This means that our students already have a metaverse-oriented mindset in their 16 to 18-20 years. They know better than we do how to implement the tools and the possibilities for them to use this new language to trigger a real transformation in the creative field.”
Inside the futuristic Exhibition Pavilion in The Talent District, Istituto Marangoni's newest metaverse
It is no coincidence that Istituto Marangoni established itself as a metaverse education pioneer and launched its own metaverse, The Talent District, as a virtual platform for showcasing events, collaborative projects and student work. Breaking new ground for meta-fashion, Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse now combines interactive experiences, Web3 technology, digital language, and its talents’ international creativity worldwide.
Featuring areas where students can be the real stars of this new immersive space created in partnership with Monogrid – a Florence-based digital interactive agency developing platforms of the highest technological level – Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse hosts the futuristic Exhibition Pavilion, a set of hyper-technological rooms where design, fashion or art take centre stage. You can meet the students’ avatars presenting their best projects there, designed with Igoodi, the first Italian company specialising in photorealistic avatars of real people.
Wandering through Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse, you can come across the degree project by Visual Design student Manami Galliker
Wandering through this innovative space, you may come across Manami Galliker’s avatar. With her voice, she will share with you her project, Hana. What can we do to spice things up after this one-off experience? Well, easy to say, we met the real Manami Galliker. Read on to discover how she dreams of redeeming technology’s status by finding new ways to use it to benefit our mental health.
Ciao, Manami. As one of the first talented students to join our “Meet me in the IM Metaverse” series, can you tell us a bit about your experience creating your avatar, giving her your voice and landing your project in the Istituto Marangoni metaverse?
This summer, I was asked to go to Milan to produce my “avatar”. To upload my work onto Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse, they needed a complete 3D scan of my body and face and to record my voice.
In Istituto Marangoni's The Talent District, Manami Galliker’s avatar will share with you her project, Hana
The experts at Igoodi scanned your body and brought you into Istituto Marangoni’s Talent District…
Being entirely scanned was indeed a unique experience. I walked into a a blinding white, round room filled with countless cameras. I had to stand still for a few moments while the cameras scanned me, and the day after, my digital twin got uploaded to my phone. I was surprised to notice how accurate the scan was: down to my painted fingernails and birthmark, every little detail of me was now digitalised.
Istituto Marangoni Visual Design student Manami Galliker's degree project
What about your Hana app?
My degree project, Hana, is a mobile app (also supported for VR) created to offer a slow and relaxing space where people can escape when needing a break from the real world and the web. After my dissertation on escapism, I started wondering if there is a healthy way to escape reality, especially in digital spaces. The world we see on the screen offers us a getaway from the stress and pressures of our everyday life. Still, it is also notoriously oversaturated with all kinds of information, which we are bombarded with daily.
A gamified meditation app, Hana will gift the player various seeds, which they can later plant in a completely customisable garden area within the game
So, were you thinking about how to deal with this when you first came up with your degree project concept?
Yes, Hana was created as a response to this problem. It is a gamified meditation app which offers guided meditation, a relaxing sound mixer and a digital garden. The app will gift the player various seeds, which they can later plant in a completely customisable garden area within the game. Digital spaces tend to have a bad reputation, especially in the mental health field. We are now trying to redeem tech’s image by finding different methods of use to benefit our lives.
The metaverse: where are we and where are we headed? As a new talent with a keen eye for Visual Design, what do you think about Istituto Marangoni’s The Talent District?
As you can see, both my work and the Marangoni metaverse demonstrate new ways to use our technologies, so having the possibility to merge the two was a fortunate opportunity. When used correctly, virtual spaces can become beneficial and, in this case, allow me to exhibit Hana to a larger community. Platforms like these are especially helpful to young designers like me, who still lack the experience and the connections necessary to have a physical exhibition.
To conclude, how would you describe your journey into the metaverse?
Once Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse was online, I visited it as a guest, and I realised how the avatar’s presence highlights the fact that behind every project, there is a person; my digital presence added a face to my work. Overall, I think the Marangoni metaverse is a great way to offer young design students a chance to exhibit their work in an attractive, contemporary, and easily accessible place.