Examining the Changing States of Water

with Snarkitecture

Caesarstone and New York-based architectural studio, Snarkitecture, collaborated on their third series of sculptures called Altered States, at the Interior Design Show in Vancouver last September. By taking the versatile cooking ingredient that is water, Snarkitecture examined the changing states of water, and reimagined the typical kitchen island with three sculptures: Titled Ice Island, Water Island, and Steam Island. Each expressed how water exists in nature, and were on display earlier in 2018 at Milan Design Week in April, and the Interior Design Show Toronto in January.

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

“The kitchen island uses the Caesarstone as a landscape in which ice, water, and steam, inhabit, flow, and move, through natural shaped islands. Islands that suggest a natural landscape, but are made of many sheets of excavated Caesarstone,” describes Alex Mustonen, partner and co-founder at Snarkitecture. Visitors at IDS Vancouver were invited to engage and interact with each island, by putting their hands against the ice, feeling the water move through their fingers, and watching the steam rise. “Through that (interaction), they have an abstract connection to what those things mean, from the perspective of kitchen and cooking.”

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

The other part of the project in Vancouver was a series of pedestals that were arranged in a half-pyramid. It formed a playful space for gathering, exploration and reflection, with the caesarstone placed as a thin slab on a steel mesh structure.

Snarkitecture uses the natural landscape as inspiration for some of their projects. They enjoy interrogating the rational precision and irrational looseness, in both the manmade and natural world, and the relationships that exist between them. With Altered States, they are playing with a similar concept. “(We are) stacking these square, architectural stone sheets, but then cutting them away to reveal an unexpected form,” says Mustonen.  “Ice, water, and steam make you think of a glacier, waterfall, or a geyser. Each piece reads as a scale model of the natural world.”

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Showing people the unpredictability of what architecture and design can deliver has always been a guiding principle of Snarkitecture. Taking a central piece of everyday life, such as the typical kitchen island, and reimaging its meaning, is part of what the studio-based practice strives for.

“We push against and operate at the limits of what architecture is, and what people typically expect of architecture,” Mustonen explains.

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Altered States_Source-Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Along with the three installments of Altered States, 2018 was a big year for Snarkitecture. They published their first monograph in April, and this summer showcased Fun Housetheir first comprehensive exhibition, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Expect more touring, exhibitions, and big projects from Snarkitecture in the early part of 2019.

Words Phil Roberts


Leave a Reply