A decade into the fashion industry’s romance with the pop-up store, the concept of temporary retail is no longer a novelty to consumers. Hoping to engage their audience with a six-week storefront in the East Village, high-end scent maker Odin invited Brooklyn duo Snarkitecture to rethink the pop-up. The resulting space opened yesterday in a tiny (350 feet wide) 11th Street space.
Snarkitecture is known for its process-oriented approach (last year, partner Daniel Arsham sealed himself into the Storefront for Art and Architecture with white foam and slowly dug a tunnel out). But for Odin’s shop, the duo imagined a still, austere space emphasizing the preciousness of Odin’s products. "We wanted to create an unexpected moment within this small storefront," says Snarkitecture partner Alex Mustonen. "An escape."
Snarkitecture started off with a simple visual insight: all of Odin’s packaging is black, with little text or decoration. They decided to cast one of the bottles—a simple black cube with a drum-like cap—in white gypsum cement. The resulting cast was "almost like a ghost or mirror of their product," says Mustonen. Snarkitecture cast over 1,500 of the bottles, and hung the casts from the ceiling in an undulating sea of white cubes. On the ground plane, the ghost bottles rise on white poles to mirror the texture of the ceiling. The actual Odin products are few and far between, recognizable as the only objects in the store that aren’t white.
Rather than overwhelming visitors with gimmicks, Mustonen and Arsham say they hope the shop will offer consumers "a few minutes to contemplate this strange white-on-white landscape inhabited by only a few products."