Cultured
Mad Men, December 2010
By Tali Jaffe


"I want to build a house for Lil Wayne that has no ceilings, or maybe glass ceilings" says Daniel Arsham. "He's not afraid to take chances. And he is not afraid to fail."
The same can be said of Arsham, who moved to New York from Miami in 2007 to found Snarkitecture with architect Alex Mustonen. The Brooklyn-based practice - which focuses on manipulating existing spaces through architectural interventions - now has a staff of five and counts Richard Chai, Jonah Bokaer, The Florida Marlins and numerous private collectors among its clients. Arsham, (who has a solo show opening this week at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin), has long flirted with architectural elements in his work. "I try to make architecture do things it's not supposed to do. Things that are unexpected and playful," he says.
Arsham and Mustonen met while studying art and architecture, respectively, at the Cooper Union. Although their first collaboration - a design for the fitting rooms of the Dior Homme store in Los Angeles - was in 2005, it wasn't until this year that Snarkitecture's first full-scale permanent project was complete; the new LegalArt studios and offices in Miami. "In my experience a lot of architectural practices get bogged down with practical matters. Because I don't have that so much, I'm able to make outlandish suggestions to Alex," Arsham says. "Sometimes I say no," Mustonen adds, "but I usually figure out how to make it work. It's one of the strange benefits of a practice that's neither art nor architecture."