NYC-based design firm Snarkitecture and Swedish clothing retailer COS collaborated on a striking project for Salone del Mobile at this year’s Milan Design Week. The installation—made up of thousands of white, individually cut ribbons—allows for exploration of a cavernous space, but the material used means that the walls and ceilings of the “cave” sway and move. Inspired by COS’ spring/summer 2015 collection, the project is simple yet sophisticated, and entirely dream-like.
Daniel Arsham—who, along with Alex Mustonen, founded Snarkitecture—took CH for a tour around the peaceful, poetic work. “COS came to us last year with the idea to create a space that would be a kind of pause or a break from all of the chaos around this week,” Arsham explains. “The first approach was to go and take a look at the existing collection and what were some of the ideas that they were working with in that.” He further clarifies that the inspiration for the installation came quite directly from the brand’s collection, “One of the things that we noticed was this idea of a sort of transparency, translucency and thinness of the fabric. So we sourced this material, which has a kind of lightweight quality to it.” In the context of the space, it lends an ethereal quality.
Arsham continues, “We worked with this idea about a kind of architecture of excavation. We started with something like a solid, and the removal of the material is actually what creates the volume that we can walk through.” Inside the otherworldly installation everything is soft and white. “It’s a material or tone that we often use in its relationship to architecture, something that feels kind of familiar. There’s also this idea that this space has a kind of reference to a cavern-like environment, which would be something very hard. So it’s the opposite of that, the play with this kind of solidity versus a kind of fluid, movable structure,” Arsham says. Walking through the ever-fluctuating space, far from the noise of town, visitors meet perfect strangers between the stripes—it’s both mysterious and playful.
The COS + Snarkitecture installation is open now through 19 April at Via delle Erbe 2, Milan.
Images by Paolo Ferrarini