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Designed by Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture, an experimental practice that walks the line between art and architecture, The Beach is an interactive installation currently on display in Washington, DC at the National Building Museum. The project draws on what most of us imagine when we think of summer – the beach – and abstracts the natural and cultural elements of a familiar experience. White floors, beach chairs, and an ocean of 750, 000 recyclable plastic balls fill the museum’s Great Hall in this imitation “beach,” a reduced and monochromatic oasis within the bustle of the US capital. Visitors are invited to relax and play in the man-made “water,” which feels more like a grown-up version of the beloved ball-pit at Chuck E. Cheese. Aside from the inherent whimsy in a piece that welcomes viewer enjoyment, the true delight of Snarkitecture’s unique display lies in the fact that it is impossible to pin down; is this a performance? An instillation? What is the artwork – the indoor construction and sea of white plastic balls, or the flood of visitors frolicking with child-like wonder through an abstract landscape? While The Beach provides an accessible experience, it also asks an unanswerable question, one that continues to drive creative innovation to this day: what is art?
Images courtesy of National Building Museum.

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Lizzie Wright

​Lizzie Wright is an aspiring artist and designer with a passion for the written word. While she works on her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she spends her (rare) spare time riding around Providence on her trusty Cannondale and drinking lots of coffee. She is especially fascinated by the dichotomy between aesthetic form and function, which has an immense influence on her work. As a lover of the natural world, Lizzie plans to focus on Nature, Culture, and Sustainability Studies to pursue a more efficient future for design. Read more by visiting her website