Valextra Pop-up Store

To minimise is to reduce, either in material, form, or colour. With the latest collaboration between Italian leather goods brand Valextra and Snarkitecture’s duo Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, the new pop-up boutique in Milan is simplified to the colour white. Although the reduction is extreme, the designers were able to maintain the contextual references through a symphonic installation of white mesh adorning the store’s ceiling.

Inspired by an apparent element of rapid developments in Milan — mesh fabrics covering scaffoldings and building sites — the designers inverted its functionality to the site’s interior. The result is a breathtaking continuum of wave-like textural surface descending into a monochromatic space. Occasionally, the floor reflected the ceiling with white wavy lines, adding a whimsicality to this minimal space. The organic curves create a great contrast with the boutique’s architectural geometric lines, while paralleling the contours and shapes of Valextra’s products. The bags, also in white, are exhibited like artworks on trapezoidal platforms, arranged in a mismatched grid.

I wholly appreciate Snarkitecture’s decision to refer and reflect; from the mesh and Milan’s architecture, the curves and Valextra’s bags, to the floor and ceiling’s decorative elements. By lessening the use of colour in this space, the designers were able to avoid compromising forms — an action, or I would rather call an in-action, that is rarely seen in minimalist design strategies. It’s beautifully refreshing, to say the least.