The social architect

Summary:The Times profiles Faris Al-Shathir, a new type of New York socialite.

Faris Al-Shathir represents a new kind of New York socialite, one who makes creative connections for a living. The NYTimes outlines Al-Shathir's climb in a gushing profile of the "30 year old underemployed architect."

As an architect, Al-Shathir works on temporary retail installations in quirky spaces, but his most significant contribution to the creative community is as a founding partner of the non-profit BOFFO. BOFFO fosters collaborations between fashion designers and architects, artists and communities, and theorists and writers. Most of the creative professionals are friends or friends-of-friends.

Some of the partnerships formed through BOFFO include the exploded mirror backdrop design that architecture firm Gage/Clemenceau created for designer (and creative director for Lady Gaga) Nicola Formichetti and the pop-up retail stores housed in a trailer beneath the High Line.

Between schmoozing and spin classes, Al-Shathir worries about the logistics of realizing creative ideas:

As the stakes are raised, so are the problems. Money is a constant nag. “It never ends,” Mr. Al-Shathir said, his shoulders sagging. “It has to be networking, finding the money, matching the right people together and finding the right people to talk about it.”

Al-Shathir and his organization are currently working on a welcome gate at Fire Island Pines designed by a fetish-wear designer and an exhibition for a night life and art photographer.

The Cool Kid From Joplin, Mo [NYTimes]

Image: Gage/Clemenceau

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow he... Full Bio

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