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In celebration of Italian luxury leather company Valextra’s 80th anniversary, Snarkitecture has sculpted a new pop-up project inside its retail store on Milan’s via Manzoni. A billowing cloud-like canopy in all white drapes from the ceiling, creating an ephemeral atmosphere and visual impact upon entering. “Our approach considered the forms and palette of the Valextra collection,” explains Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. “We felt that a monochromatic space would provide a striking, but complementary, setting for the Valextra pieces. Several key elements of the design were inspired by visits to Milan.

We were interested in the juxtaposition of hard, architectural surfaces with soft textures, as well as the play between precision (the grid-like scaffold) and looseness (the irregular scrim fabric). “The New York-based studio approached the Valextra pop-up in ways that it has grown a recognition for. The relationship between art and architecture is explored, with the concept derived from the simple structural order of common scaffolding systems — often overlooked as temporary frameworks rather than a complex module.

This led to Snarkitecture dividing the floorplan into three main bays — each with its own internal support system — from which a white, billowing mesh is suspended. The all-white interior is wrapped and enveloped in layers of tactile fabric, blurring the boundaries between the walls and ceiling. In this all-white tactile environment, luxurious materials are treated with industrial rigor. End walls are unconventionally upholstered with thick fury white carpet or quilted fabric, while center units are encased in fluted foam. The floor is clad in fiberglass tiles that reproduce a high definition stone print. As Valextra’s latest men’s collection circles around the “sophisticated winter traveler”, Snarkitecture’s colorless scene is a fitting backdrop to highlight the enduring beauty and graphic purity of the brand’s new items.

Design: Snarkitecture

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