Architect called in to build Visa ‘virtual’ HQ

Visa Europe, one of the latest brand owners to commission premises in the fast-growing, Web-based ‘virtual’ world Second Life, is using a ‘real life’ architect to work on the designs.

Rambir Lal, a consultant architect with Web and 3D design group Clusta, has been working on a prototype building based on the shape of a spiralling pack of cards which may form the basis of Visa’s presence in the virtual reality game.

It’s the first time Lal has designed a building for a virtual world space. ‘It’s completely different to designing for the real world,’ he said. ‘You don’t have to worry about things like environmental issues. You can explore space differently – the characters in Second Life can fly, for example.’

Not-for-profit organisation Visa, which is owned and run by 4500 European banks, recently bought an island on Second Life and has announced plans to poll users to find out what kind of presence they want the card company to have.

Andrew Allen, creative director of Clusta, said various ideas, including allowing customers to choose different artwork for their cards, could be in the pipeline. However, the island is currently just a ‘building site’ – complete with scaffolding and Visa-branded hoardings erected by Clusta.

Sandra Alzetta, senior vice-president of consumer market development at Visa Europe, says, ‘The Second Life world is one that is at the forefront of technology – and, as such, is complementary to the extensive work that Visa undertakes in researching and developing new technologies.’

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