White out: Snarkitecture imagines a ‘colourless colour revolution’ for Valextra

Manzoni boutique in Milan
Snarkitecture has applied its minimal aesthetic to Valextra’s via Manzoni boutique in Milan
(Image credit: TBC)

Italian luxury brand Valextra unveiled the latest chapter in its ongoing series of aesthetic reinventions, with a new pop-up store design by American duo Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture. The pair worked on Valextra’s via Manzoni boutique, applying their signature minimal aesthetic to the space – and for the occasion, Valextra’s new collection was shown in an all-white palette (‘a colourless colour revolution’, as the brand calls it), merging with the Snarkitecture narrative.

‘Clean lines have been a unifying trait of all our collaborators,’ says Valextra CEO Sara Ferrero, who has been deeply involved in the brand's design collaborations, from Philippe Malouin’s interiors for the London store to previous pop-ups by the likes of Peter Saville and Martino Gamper. ‘We like [Snarkitecture's] combination of art and architecture, their chromatic purity and the fact that their work is minimal but always fun, ironic.’

Milan boutique white interiors

Inside Valextra’s redesigned Milan boutique

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)

The duo looked to Valextra's Milan base for inspiration, and at first sight were attracted by the stone of its buildings. Looking further into the urban environment, they noticed a mesh fabric wrapping the scaffoldings that covered building sites throughout the city, and they combined the two materials in an immersive installation.

‘We were interested in the juxtaposition of hard, architectural surfaces with soft textures, as well as the play between precision and looseness,’ says Alex Mustonen. The installation is a combination of these elements, with a mesh grid covering the walls and erupting in a cloud-like texture on the ceiling, to create what Mustonen calls ‘a cavernous volume, that doesn’t feel like an everyday architectural experience’. The raw stone is used on the floor and in display elements such as the central desk, adorned with a foam trim.

leather bag

The luxury leather goods brand’s new collection is also being presented in all-white

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)

‘Valextra's bags are very structural and architectural so we were thinking of playing with the idea of contrasting that with the space,’ explains Mustonen. As with Valextra's past creative collaborators, he is passionate about the quality and timeless design of the pieces, and their versatility. The Costa bag's defining black edges is enhanced by the all-white palette, placing the collection centre stage in this installation.

‘We are not trying to be fashionable,’ adds Ferrero, ‘we want to tell the brand’s story. These collaborations form a constant dialogue reinventing the space around an iconic, timeless product.’

city’s stonework interior

The firm looked to the city’s stonework for inspiration

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)

all-white palette bags

Valextra’s new has been reimagined in an all-white palette to match the store

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)

A mesh fabric that wraps scaffoldings on Milan’s buildings

A mesh fabric that wraps scaffoldings on Milan’s buildings helped to inspire the immersive installation

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)

Raw stone is used on the floor and in display elements

Raw stone is used on the floor and in display elements

(Image credit: Snarkitecture)


For more information, visit the Snarkitecture website and the Valextra website

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.