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How instability and decay can lead to good design « MAD Blog
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How instability and decay can lead to good design

Decay/collapseruin/constructioninstability/precariousness. While you might think that these phrases would be the end result of bad design, for Brooklyn-based design firm Snarkitecture, they were the beginning of some challenging, thought provoking, and entirely innovative design. They were some of the concepts—along with material transformation/misuse, smoothess/roughness, and illusion/dreams—that the firm used to begin to think about a new group of designs.

Snarkitecture’s designs range from table lamps to large-scale architectural interventions. The firm consists of Daniel Arsham, whose background is in fine art and who maintains a separate studio practice and Alex Mustonen, whose background is in architecture.

Daniel (left) and Alex (right) in one of their new projects A Memorial Bowing. Photo: Noah Kalina

Their recent body of work, currently on exhibition (Funiture) at Volume Gallery in Chicago, grew out of what the  designers called a “summer residency”–2 weeks in the summer of 2011 in which  Daniel’s art studio got together with Alex and the rest of Snarkitecture to brainstorm ideas and create sketches using that set of phrases.

Example of preliminary sketches. Image courtesy Snarkitecture

The sketches were edited, refined, and redrawn over the next year, eventually forming an actual set of fabrication drawings. At the same time, the designers experimented with materials and objects, which in turn further refined the drawings. Experimentation with materials is a cornerstone of the firm’s practice and process: as Daniel says, they like to hear what the materials are telling them to do.

A table in the Snarkitecture studio, covered with some of the experiments with materials

Below is an image of the Pour table, one of the pieces shown at the Volume exhibition which shows how the concepts instability and collapse turned into a table. Interesting to see the connections with some of the preliminary sketches (above). The top is made from marble–as Alex notes “The marble contrasts a very hard material with a liquid form, as if it might spill from the top.”

Pour table. Wood, marble; 18" x 33 3/8" x 21". Photo: Travis Roozee. Courtesy of Volume Gallery.

If you would like to experience one of their site-specific projects, you can visit Marlins Ballpark in Miami to see A Memorial Bowing and Beacons.

And coming very soon, a dramatic pop-up installation for the store Odin in New York City, featuring their new fragrance. Here’s a sneak peek—we’ll keep you updated as soon as details are confirmed!

Plaster casts of the Odin fragrance bottle, which will cover the entire installation.

 

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  • architectural de..

    Use of fabric and other materials in drawing is really good idea.


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