Metropolis — creating a city in the clouds

Jillian Godsil
7 min readAug 11, 2022

An interview with co founders and siblings Rania and Rashid Ajami

From the Andrews Sisters to the Jackson Brothers, sibling harmonies are well known and respected. In business too, family run operations head some of the best known ABC & Son/Daughter combinations — but what happens when you take two artistic siblings and merge them into one business? Metropolis World is the answer.

Metropolis World, a soon to launch curated metaverse platform, differentiates itself from other metaverse platforms due to its design aesthetic: its cities are created digitally by hand and every property is a unique standalone piece of art. Unlike the majority of NFT collections Metropolis is not utilizing generative art to create the actual cities.

This attention to detail and unique approach is very much driven by the twin and diverse artistic backgrounds of the two Ajami siblings.

Rania — filmmaker

Award winning filmmaker Rania came to prominence while still in film school. She stumbled across the elite female bodyguard corps employed by Libyan dictator Qaddafi, nicknamed the Amazons in Europe. Rania travelled to Libya against the advice of her college professors to interview these women for award winning 2004 documentary Shadows of a Leader.

Her website is littered with awards from her other films most notably the 2008 black comedy Asylum Seekers and after exploring the fantastical in film, Rania began looking at creating stylized real-world environments. Seven years of development went into a NYC project called Pip’s Island where she created an immersive physical experience combining puppetry, digital animation, cutting-edge technology and live actors to create a thrilling adventure for young audiences and families.

“This was initially very successful and opened in Times Square,” says Rania. “We attracted a lot of interest as we were merging story, adventure and gamification and tying it all up with technology.”

Pip’s Island was fully tactile and spread across 13 different sets and began to spawn real interest in gamified stories, graphic novels and animation. Then Covid hit and the attraction had to close.