Why this digital house you can’t live in costs thousands of dollars
17th March 2021

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“Mars House,” a futuristic-looking pad designed by Toronto-based digital artist Krista Kim, features sweeping views, plus modern, see-through furniture and even an infinity pool.

“I see it as a weekend home, like a villa,” Kim told The Post. “It’s perfect for a couple.” 

The only glitch? It doesn’t actually exist. 

You can’t physically step inside, let alone live in the abode, which boasts a psychedelic, thermal-gradient theme and is being sold digitally as a bundle of 3-D files that includes an original soundtrack by Jeff Schroeder of the Smashing Pumpkins.

The files, available through the art-selling platform SuperRare, can be uploaded as a showy Zoom background for remote meetings or to a buyer’s “Metaverse,” a “Sims”-like computerized world that can be accessed via virtual-reality goggles, such as Samsung’s Oculus set. 

“Can a person fall in love with a digital home and live in it virtually?” Kim asked rhetorically, having drawn inspiration for the house from the ancient Zen gardens of Kyoto, Japan, and the chilled-out feeling she gets from transcendental meditation. She called her augmented-reality project “a masterpiece” and “a marker of our time.”   

The current ask for the non-fungible token (NFT) asset — a buzzy, new art-world commodity that employs the blockchain technology of cryptocurrency and the prestige of owning original editions of fine art — is 30 Ethereum tokens.

That’s $59,752.84 in real-world money, which is a steal compared to the recent, record-smashing $69 million sale of a digital collage by Beeple, a k a artist Mike Winkelmann.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has also gotten in on the non-fungible fun, auctioning off an original techno song about — what else? — NFTs on Valuables, another selling platform. 

“This isn’t for everyone,” said Kim, who has collaborated with the likes of the high-fashion brand Lanvin and is working on an installation for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference in Venice, Italy, this September.

She designed the environment in March 2020 — ”It became my dream house,” she said — in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, but she only discovered “NFTs,” and an opportunity to cash-out big, three months ago.

“It’s for someone with a vision,” she said. 

Kim, a self-described “futurist,” worked with Buenos Aires-based architecture student Mateo Sanz, who used Unreal Engine, a video-game design software, to build out the virtual digs to her exacting e-specifications. 

Instead of a deed, “Mars House” comes with terms and conditions, which outline the rules of the software. “I own the copyright,” said Kim. “The buyer will own the assets. They can only make one copy of the files, which we will help them upload.” 

No kitchen is included in the open floor plan — there’s no way to eat food in cyberspace, after all — but there are two steel boxes in the middle of the glass-inspired structure. One is, confusingly, a bathroom, according to Kim, and the other is a walk-in closet, perhaps for virtual clothes. 

Kim said that, down the line, she’s hoping to release the geometric furniture featured in “Mars House” as a physical line made by a glassblower in Venice, and finished with an anti-microbial coating made in Germany.

But for now, buyers will have to settle for coding. 

“I believe the augmented-reality lifestyle is upon us,” said Kim, who hopes avatars will one day gather in the house’s far-out living room — and porch.

“The expansive outdoor area makes it perfect for a nice party,” she said.

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