Architects: Gage Clemenceau Architects
Location: New York, USA
Architect In Charge: Gage Clemenceau Architects
Area: 1,300 sq ft
Photographs: Courtesy of Gage Clemenceau Architects
Typically, fashion environments are defined by a rather restrained minimalism that focuses the attention only on the clothing– for the obvious reason of only selling clothes. In our collaboration with Nicola Formichetti, we rewrote this equation and produced a new genre of experimental space that not only showcased, but magnified the impact of his fashion designs into a new form of immersive environment that fused the very genetics of architecture and fashion. Such combinations of artistic disciplines have historic roots in the 19th century German term Gesamtkunstwerk, which describes mixing the more traditional “arts” of music, sculpture, painting, etc.
We updated this ambition with new materials, new technologies, and new visual effects that have only recently become available and combined them with what is perhaps the most popular and increasingly important of the contemporary arts today– fashion. With shows such as the Alexander McQueen exhibition, Savage Beauty, at the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the associations between high art and fashion have never been stronger.
The Nicola Formichetti project paired this development with new ideas about architecture towards innovative and progressive new ends. The installation was comprised of hundreds of robotically cut and mirrored facets mounted to lightweight composite structural backing. These individual reflective facets were hung from the ceilings and walls then secured to the flooring. Each facet was attached to its neighbors using a system of precisely bent aluminum clips. Large sheets of mirrored abrasion-resistant plastic covered the floor which helped to produce an endlessly reflective environment, allowing the clothing to be refracted in a variety of unexpected perspectives. In this installation, fashion was no longer an object that sits within a minimal architectural box. Instead, it became an active participant in a new type of environment that combined the spatial and optical aspects of architectural design with the temporary, ephemeral, and fluidly beautiful forms found only in the worlds of high fashion.