Ikonia and The Sandbox partner to immortalize New York NFT mural of soccer legend Andrea Pirlo in the metaverse

The Sandbox is partnering with Kyiv-based NFT incubator Ikonia to bring the real life mural celebrating Italian soccer icon Andrea Pirlo, located on Lafayette Street in NYC, into the metaverse.

The 15x6 meter mural, painted by famous Italian street artist, Jorit, is being sold as a single edition one-of-one NFT — meaning the piece will be totally unique and exclusive to the owner. Titled The Hero NFT, it allows the buyer ownership of the real-life mural for one year, as well as perpetual digital rights to the monolithic piece of street art.

Real-life mural on Lafayette Street, NYC (left) ; Mural recreated in The Sandbox (right)

Together with MetaLabs, Ikonia has recreated Lafayette Street, including Jorit’s mural of Pirlo, in The Sandbox, allowing players to walk along the digital street where the mural will be the centerpiece. Pushing the limits of the digital art space, this collaboration offers a unique opportunity for dual ownership in both the physical world and the metaverse.

A tribute to Pirlo’s illustrious sporting career

One of the most recognisable and respected names in world football, Andrea Pirlo played 116 matches for Italy — the fifth-most of all time. He commanded the Italian national team to a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and the final of the 2012 Euros. But never was he more instrumental than during Italy’s triumph at the 2006 World Cup — winning the Bronze Ball, being selected for the Team of the Tournament after a man of the match performance in the final against France. Pirlo also won two Champions Leagues and 7 Scudettos in Italy as well as playing for New York City FC, where this mural is based.

Alongside The Hero NFT, several other collectibles will also be available. Animated art, video and sculptures will allow Pirlo fans to tap into the emotion and nostalgia of his illustrious career and biggest achievements.

For the chance to purchase one of the collectibles, potential buyers can register on the shortlist located on the NFT website. Potential buyers are awarded points for inviting more people to the shortlist and performing certain tasks, increasing their chance to get rare collectibles and win special prizes. These exclusive NFTs will give buyers entrance to a bonus lottery, with the chance to win:

  • Dinner with Pirlo (buyer of The Hero Mural)
  • 15-minute Zoom call with Pirlo and four guests (one buyer)
  • Personalized video messages from Pirlo (15 buyers)
  • Handwritten autographs from Pirlo (32 buyers)

“Involvement in this project has been incredibly captivating; the mural alone is an amazing feat, and a fantastic piece of art in its own right. Seeing it then immortalized in the metaverse furthers the astonishment. Giving the buyer a chance to own a piece of artwork across multiple realities is a rare opportunity, and not something I have encountered in other projects.” — Andrea Pirlo

“It was our goal to capture the prestige and importance of Pirlo’s career in a way that no other NFT project has attempted previously,” adds Patrik Arenesson, CEO and founder at Ikonia. “Whilst many recent soccer NFT endeavors have slavishly relied on name value alone, it was important to everyone involved to create a project that not only embodied Pirlo’s illustrious career, but also pushed the boundaries of previous NFT projects, providing utility to buyers beyond just owning a piece of digital art. Living in an increasingly digitized world, the preservation of historic moments is more important than ever. By commemorating Andrea’s achievements in a way that can inspire people in both the physical-world, and the metaverse, it highlights the innovative ways in which technology can play a key role in passing on stories and legends to the next generation”

“As The Sandbox and other metaverses expand, they have a key role in adequately, and appropriately, preserving the art, culture, and achievements of real-world heroes, such as Pirlo. As younger generations increasingly look to socialize and learn online, projects such as this offer have the capacity to inspire the next generation of soccer fans.” — Sebastian Borget, Co-founder and COO at The Sandbox

Jorit’s mural of Pirlo represents the first occasion in which street art of this scale has been created for the purpose of being turned into an NFT. Emulating the elegance and vision of Pirlo’s playing style, the mural itself and its digital counterpart, mark a watershed moment for NFT projects.

The Hero NFT will be listed for auction (purchasable in ETH) on the 1st of June 2022, at 3pm UTC, via the project website, with the release of other collectibles following in the four weeks thereafter.

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