When H&M launched COS in2007, it was as if theglobal fast-fashion behemoth were offering an antidote to its own relentless trendiness. COS, head of women’s wear, and Martin Andersson, head of men’s wear.
For their latest such project, on view during this year’s Milan design fair, Gustafsson and Andersson reached out to Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. While the Brooklyn design firm has an essentially all-white aesthetic that can be minimal to the point of nihilistic, there is a playful, almost performative element to its work—projects have included a fictitious archeological site for the Storefront for Art and Architecture, in downtown Manhattan, and a 10-foot sculptural Marble Run for the lobby of the Delano hotel, in Miami, during the Art Basel fair. In response to the translucence and lightness of the COS spring collection, the duo conceived a serene, labyrinthine space carved out of some 30,000 strips of suspended white fabric ribbons, which led visitors through a series of rooms to a pop-up shop. Among the accessories on offer was a deceptively heavy, diminutive white gypsum cement Snarkitecture pillow. “It’s pleasantly confusing,” Arsham says of the overall effect.
“In the research for our collections, Snarkitecture’s work kept cropping up,” Andersson says, adding that a Nendo chair had featured repeatedly in his and Gustafsson’s mood boards before they even entertained the idea of a potential collaboration. So what else is on their design radar? “Richard Tuttle, the American post-minimalist artist had an incredible display in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, in London, that transformed the space using fabric,” Andersson says. “And the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s sculptures and large-scale installations have inspired us for years now.” Stay tuned.