Artful Architecture

My friend Bruna tipped me off on a gallery reception yesterday at SciArc for an Argentine architect named Florencia Pita. "Imagine a Junya Watanabe ruffle pattern transformed into architecture in a shiny magenta 67 PETG," Bruna said, adding that she wrote a fairy tale to accompany the artwork. A big fan of Watanabe, I had to pop in for a visit. Plus, I was already wearing my blue suede boots, which made me feel as if I were a character stepping out of the woods in a Grimm fairytale. I wasn't prepared for the shock of pink waves that greeted me in the shoebox of a gallery space. My writer's mind brimmed with metaphors: tripe, Balenciaga's Victorian-inspired blouses for spring 2006, an accordion, cotton candy, a garden maze, etc. Pita, who is in her early 30s and has been teaching at SciArc for fewer than five years, said she came up with the idea for the vinyl and foam installation after seeing a fashion and textile exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt in New York. She supervised 57 students at the architecture school for the month-long project to cut, by hand, pink vinyl sheets that were attached together with metal screws and also to shape lavender foam that resembled sand waves left by a receding ocean tide. Clad in all black with a choker composed of pearl-sized laboratory glass beads, Pita had enough style and charm to get anyone to do anything. She said she originally wanted to have the pink sheets stand vertically in linear rows. On the gallery's smooth pink floor, however, the straight sheets fell over. So she decided to attach them at intervals and form curves that could defy gravity. The best view of the installation was from the second-floor catwalk above the gallery.

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