How I Work: Artist Alex Chinneck

He’s unzipped buildings, made houses melt, and tied 450-year-old architecture in knots. Alex Chinneck’s work looks like magic, but the story behind each project is complex. From planning permission to hand-crafted wax windows, here’s how he gets his ideas made

Starting out as a lone artist who made all his work himself, Alex Chinneck has now developed a full-blown studio that crafts and installs large-scale commissions for locations around the world. Major projects in London have included an upside-down pylon, a Christmas tree frozen in a giant ice cube, and a ‘floating’ section of Covent Garden’s historic market building. More recently he installed a giant zipper on a Kent office block, and finished his first permanent artwork – a huge ripped wall on the side of a Hammersmith building.

His studio works with hundreds of craft- and tradespeople across the UK, often partnering with niche specialists to bring installations to life while preserving the surrounding architecture. And while accusations of simplicity are often levelled at Chinneck, the process behind each piece is deeply complex and often fraught with risk. Here he explains how he takes projects from the initial spark of an idea to their final unveiling.