Building Fashion by Boffo 04.11.10

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The space formerly occupied by a rental office for Neil Denari's newly completed HL23 tower in Manhattan has been transformed into a stage for exhibiting five collaborations between emerging architects and fashion designers. Curated by art organisation Boffo and architect Spilios Gianakopoulos, the non-profit taps into New York's creative culture by reprogramming vacant spaces as venues for exhibiting young designers. Weary of creating yet another gallery in Chelsea, Boffo sought to construct a platform for interdisciplinary exchange.

The fashion designers represent a broad spectrum of emerging talent: from the lesser-known milliner Heather Huey, to Richard Chai, a rising star in womenswear. The series opened with a project created for Simon Spurr by Collective. The architects designed a white-on-white container that paid homage to the menswear designer's minimalist sensibility. The space has since been transformed every ten days to house alternating design duos.

House of Waris joined forces with Christian Wassmann to produce a cocoon made of pleated canvas, from which the jewellery designer also launched his new line of specialty teas. The designers had both become enamored with the prospect of creating a communal space, as well as retail one, and invented a product to facilitate their vision. "They're walking out of Chelsea and into a secret garden; a fantasy," said Waris Ahluwalia, the jeweller-cum-tea purveyor, as he played host and greeted visitors.

Richard Chai's collaboration with Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture marks the fourth installation in the series, followed by a project by Leong Leong for the conceptual menswear designer Siki Im. The most established of the architecture firms exhibited, Leong Leong's roster of work includes stores for Philip Lim in Seoul and Los Angeles. As if a nod to the degree of crossover between the two disciplines, Im studied and worked as an architect before embarking on his career in fashion.

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Maryana Grinshpun

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The non-profit taps into New York's creative culture by reprogramming vacant spaces as venues for exhibiting young designers

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