For its 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition, the National Building Museum reenlisted Snarkitecture to create Fun House. The New York-based architecture firm also designed the museum’s 2015 Summer Block Party; BEACH, which covered the 10,000-square-foot Great Hall in white plastic balls, and proved to be one of the most popular Summer Block Party exhibitions ever.
This year, Snarkitecture worked with curator Maria Cristina Didero to take a different approach with Fun House, a full-size house with over 50 objects and installations that reference some of the firm’s previous work. Eleven different rooms, a front yard, and a backyard invite visitors to explore and play. “We wanted to make the objects and environments in the show as accessible and interactive as possible, while also respecting the nature of some of the pieces as fragile design objects and ensuring the safety of visitors,” said Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. “In the end we’ve aimed to create a balance between moments that are playful and interactive with ones that are reflective and visually engaging.”
In the front yard, people will find soft, oversize upholstered letters derived from A Memorial Bowling—a sculptural artwork completed in 2012 for Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium—while a pool filled with white balls— “a domestic version of BEACH” explained Mustonen—occupies the backyard. Inside, functional items and accessories such as Broken Mirror and Pillow as well as limited edition pieces like Break and commissioned works like Beach Chair, provide moments of delight and discovery.
“We wanted people to experience the projects in the same direct and tactile way that they would have with the original [versions],” Mustonen said. “With that as a starting point, we worked with Maria Cristina to develop the concept of the house as a framework that would organize the display objects and installations within an environment that would feel both familiar and unknown as visitors explore and discover the different rooms. Maria Cristina’s proposal to reframe much of our work within an emotional context was something new for us, but also an idea that resonated with the way that we approach creating unexpected and memorable experiences.”
“Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Mustonen in a press release. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.”
Fun House opens at the National Building Museum on July 4 and will run through September 3, though Mustonen hints that it may travel to other locations in the future.