Arens created a 45-second video depicting a gabled house rendered in bright colours, which is being sold as an NFT-backed artwork. The purchaser of the artwork will also receive the physical house that the piece is based on.
The American pop artist and graphic designer was commissioned to create the video artwork by real estate agent Shane Dulgeroff, who claims it will be the first time an NFT has been used to sell a real house.
"When I learned about the NFT space I saw a unique opportunity to utilise a platform which has more technologies and opportunity behind it than a standard home sale," Dulgeroff told Dezeen.
"I immediately knew that I needed to be the very first person to explore this space."
An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a piece of data stored on the blockchain that represents a digital file, often a piece of art or a video.
The tokens prove the piece is unique and not interchangeable – non-fungible – and hypothetically more valuable.
Bidders will make offers on this NFT, with the winner also receiving the physical property at 221 Dryden Street.
The house is divided into two rental units, each with two bedrooms, with permission to build a third unit on the plot.
Along with the house, the highest bidder will get sole rights to the sci-fi piece of video art.
Digital-only architecture has already been sold on the blockchain as NFTs, with the Mars House sold for $500,000.
However, Dulgeroff believes NFTs could become a viable way of selling architecture in the physical world, not just the metaverse.
"I think NFT space may change the construct of transactions and architectural trends due to the viral nature and additional technologies available in the space," said Dulgeroff.
Architecture critic and Dezeen columnist Aaron Betsky already predicted that NFTs would prove attractive to property professionals looking for new ways to market their assets with viral stunts.
"Perhaps the real role of the NFT will be in the production of images that extend the digital renderings developers produce of their luxury condos before they are built," said Betsky.
"What we have gotten so far are amateur, off-hand sketches that have no sense of pushing our notion of what a designed object is."
But motion graphics artist Andreas Wannerstedt told Dezeen that it's too soon to judge how much avant-garde work will be produced in the new marketplace.
"It will take some time before the world understands the true power of NFTs but being able to create a unique digital file opens up a lot of doors," he said.
Architect Chris Precht said he is put off by the "horrible" environmental impacts of NFTs, which are part of the electricity-guzzling cryptocurrency system.
"Just to [mint] one token through the blockchain equals out the same amount of electricity I usually use in one month," he said.
As for the house in the San Gabriel Mountains, there have been no bids so far, but Dulgeroff reports a lot of interest from potential buyers – and the press.
"It is a world-first, so people are extremely curious and some are not 100 per cent sure how to perceive it quite yet," he said.
Images by Kii Arens unless otherwise stated.