Snarkitecture’s installation, Playhouse, is unexpectedly inserted in an alleyway between Third and Fourth Streets, introducing a dramatic spatial shift from the two to four story buildings that form the street front of Washington street. Using forced perspective to create the illusion of unexpected depth, Playhouse is an immersive environment open to all, but only fully explorable by children due to the diminishing scale. Continuous seating reinforces the depth of the forced perspective and provides a place of rest and social interaction. Playhouse is intended to bring people together and encourage engagement with architecture in a playful and inclusive setting.
Snarkitecture is a New York-based collaborative practice established by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham to investigate the boundaries between art and architecture. The name is drawn from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of The Snark, a poem describing the “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.” In its search for the unknown, Snarkitecture creates architectural-scale projects, installations, and objects. Their work focuses on the reinterpretation of everyday materials, structures and programs to new and imaginative effect. With a conceptual approach centered on the importance of experience, the studio creates unexpected and memorable moments that invite people to explore and engage with their surroundings. By transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected.
Kramer Furniture and Cabinet
Volume Gallery, based in Chicago, was founded in 2010 by Sam Vinz and Claire Warner. Placing a strong emphasis on emerging contemporary designers, Volume Gallery releases editions and publications and organizes exhibitions that showcase the work of American designers. The gallery asks critical questions of what it means to be an American designer in a culture that is rapidly becoming more global, while simultaneously examining the American experience.
Snarkitecture’s playful designs use many different materials, always in their signature white. They developed the Playhouse concept while exploring fabrication options with Kramer Furniture & Cabinet in Edinburgh, Indiana. One of Kramer’s stock materials, solid white three-quarter-inch expanded PVC sheet, proved the perfect match to Snarkitecture’s all-white aesthetic. The scale of the structure was tailored to the site and to the materials, so each “slice” could be cut from a single four-foot by eight-foot PVC sheet. Snarkitecture worked with Kramer’s engineer to create a digital cut-file for Kramer’s CNC machines. As they cut the 40 sheets of material, each unique piece was marked with a coded sticker identifying its place in the final assembly. The team at Kramer partially assembled three sections of the Playhouse in their shop before trucking it to the site on Washington Street, where the sections were joined together.