Retail Interior As Sculpture: Richard Chai + Snarkitecture NYC Popup Store

Retail Interior As Sculpture: Richard Chai + Snarkitecture NYC Popup Store

With limited time and money, a collaboration between artist, architect and fashion designer results in a unique retail experience.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 22 october 2010

Fashion designer Richard Chai his first ever stand alone retail store yesterday in NYC. By no means typical, the temporary space is located in a shipping container underneath the High Line Park which formerly served at the real estate office for HL23. The shop is actually part of the Building Fashion installation series which partners fashion labels with architects to create innovative temporary retail environments. For this, the fourth round, Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture developed the store environment under a tight time line and with a budget of only $5,000.


Daniel Arsham carving a section of the Richard Chai shop interior.

Their solution used a massive amount of architectural insulation foam to create a ‘cave’. While you might think the sculpted interior is the result of some sophisticated design software and a computer controlled milling machine, actually the whole installation was carved by hand with a heated wire. PSFK spoke with the artist and architect team Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture who told us the entire installation took three days to complete. Daniel has a lot of experience carving the foam and over time built a collection of custom carving hand tools which aid in sculpting.

Being inside the installation is something like a cross between wandering around the Hoth rebel base from The Empire Strikes Back and the Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Snarkitecture collaborated with Richard Chai to arrange a series of carved out niches to feature and house his collection of apparel and accessories.

The shop will be open to the public for ten days and after closing, the interior will be recycled back into building insulation.

Richard Chai + Snarkitecture for Building Fashion
October 21st – October 31st
504 West 24th St.
btw 10th and 11th Ave.
New York






Fashion Designer Richard Chai.


Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture

[images by David Smith and Faris Al-Shathir where noted]


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