Library Street Collective unveils new Snarkitecture-designed gallery in downtown Detroit


The contemporary art gallery Library Street Collective has peeked at their newly completed Snarkitecture-designed home in the historic LB King and Company Building in downtown Detroit.

The gallery, which is located on and is accessible from a lively and “culturally redefined” downtown alley called The Belt, is Snarkitecture’s first free-standing gallery and the first project to work with a historical structure. The New York-based collaborative design practice is better known for its playful large-scale public installations like The Beach and retail environments, including the recently unveiled Parisian flagship store for streetwear retailer KITH.

Library Street Collective’s new space will officially open this weekend with the opening of Light on February 27, an exhibition of new work from the Hudson Valley by New York-based artist Sam Friedman, curated by KAWS.

Glance into the gallery, which is now showing new works by Sam Friedman from The Belt. (PD Rearick / Courtesy Library Street Collective)

As AN elaborated in December last year when the project was first announced, a key design feature of the gallery, known simply as the “Portal”, will serve as an attention-grabbing link between the new space and The Belt. The Belt ran right behind the LB King and Company Building and was populated by murals and other artistic interventions. The Belt was also curated and designed by the collective.

“We worked with the materials available on site – the historic brick of the building facade – and also played a little with the existing condition of the window,” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture, who led the project team along with Clarisse Empaynado and lead Breanna Urquhart said AN. “By treating the brick as a sculptural material, we were able to slide and shape the opening to bring the outside of the belt to the inside of the gallery. What appears from the outside as a concave excavation shows up inside one-to-one as a convex sculptural form that pushes into the room. “

Detail of a brick-based architectural intervention Detailed view of the portal in the new flagship gallery on The Belt. (PD Rearick / Courtesy Library Street Collective)

“The portal through the facade of the gallery animates various aspects of the practice of Snarkitecture, but in particular the idea of ​​working between the disciplines of art and architecture. The piece is both an art installation in the context of The Belt’s public art program and This is also a permanent intrusion into the facade of the historic LB King and Company Building, showing a window looking into the gallery space, ”added Mustonen.

The LB King and Company Building was completed in 1911 and has been the home of a furrier wholesaler for much of its existence. The six-story, white-terracotta-clad building was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1987 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places that same year.

a wooden partition with storage (PD Rearick / Courtesy Library Street Collective)

In 2015, Bedrock Real Estate Services and Curis Enterprises, a real estate development company led by Library Street Collective partner and co-founder Anthony Curis, acquired the historic structure. The group’s previous gallery space, which is right next door at 1260 Library Street, will be used as a private showroom and administration office once the flagship is completed.

The Snarkitecture team not only created the new gallery’s signature alley-slash artistic intervention, but also designed flexible elements, including a display wall that doubles as a partition to create a “razor-sharp, monochromatic shell within the historical structure who allows the display and display of a wide range of works of art through the program of Library Street Collective, “explained Mustonen.

“The portal and the project as a whole are intended to create a moment of pause or wonder for visitors to The Belt and Library Street Collective, inviting them to peer through this strange, anomalous opening and explore the undiscovered worlds that the may be present in it, “Mustonen said.

Sam Friedman’s light runs until April 3rd.


Dusty Kennedy