When Art and Architecture Meet: BOFFO

by Sarah Lipkis

Even if you are not the kind of person who actively thinks about fashion or architecture, their presence can be felt in our day-to-day lives and societal trends. For example, Art Deco, an architectural movement prevalent in the interwar period in the United States and Europe, is known for its ostentatious nature, and is expressed through the design of buildings such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and the Chrysler Building. In fashion, the Art Deco movement can be seen in the popularity of the flapper dress which characterized the 1920s.

Just like Art Deco was a trend in the ‘20s, the idea of being “eco-friendly” has become a trend today. Due to this new “green” movement, both architects and fashion designers have begun to design environmentally friendly clothes and buildings. For example, fashion companies such as American Apparel, Barney’s New York, Dolce & Gabbana, and Saks 5th Avenue have lines of clothing geared towards being “green.” In Manhattan, building “green” has become prevalent, and the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park and various other buildings (like our own Diana Center) have turned their rooftops into gardens that serve as peaceful places for residents and conserve energy.

Given the fact that both fashion and architecture are important representations of the latest trends in society, what happens when the two art forms are mixed together? The answer: Building Fashion Showcase, otherwise known by its acronym, BOFFO. BOFFO was founded in 2010 in order to promote the mixing of fashion and architecture while presenting the final product to the public. Upcoming New York architects are paired with well-established fashion designers and asked to design a space based on that designer’s fashion. Essentially, the architectural space and the fashion are intended to meld together to create an experience that presents the fashion through an architectural lens, and vice versa. Each exhibit lasts three weeks before the next pair redesigns the space.

This year, BOFFO is being held in Tribeca at 50 Walker Street (between Church St. & Broadway) and will host the designer-architect pairs Nicola Formichetti (best known for his Lady Gaga designs) and Gage/Clemenceau, Irene Neuwirth and TheVeryMany, Patrik Ervell and Graham Hudson, The Lake & Stars and SOFTLab, and finally, Ohne Titel and EASTON + COMBS. Already underway, this year’s BOFFO began by showcasing Nicola Formichetti and Gage/Clemenceau. The once-empty space was transformed into a diamond-like glass room with Lady Gagaesque clothes hanging from the ceiling by chains and lavishly presented on mannequins. This pair showed their remarkable ability to create a fusion of fashion and architecture.

On September 21st, the Nicola Formichetti and Gage/Clemenceau design was replaced by that of Irene Neuwirth and TheVeryMany. In contrast to the first pair, Irene Neuwirth and TheVeryMany bring their own style to the space in an attempt to portray a marriage between jewelry and architecture. Like the first group, Irene Neuwirth and TheVeryMany will have the space for three weeks to leave their mark before being replaced by the third group. This pattern will continue until December 14th, when BOFFO will officially end for the year.

Sarah is a junior at Barnard and Photography Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing. As a native New Yorker, when she leaves NYC, she falls off the edge of the Earth.

Photos courtesy of Google Images.

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