A visit to the studio of Architecte Miniatura feels like the equivalent of Gulliver’s trip to the land of the Lilliputians. One steps into a world of tiny, perfectly scaled buildings, peopled by tiny, perfectly scaled figures, and surrounded by tiny, perfectly scaled trees, shrubs and automobiles.
But Clausen is not a modern-day Jonathan Swift, creating civilizations with the written word. His media are plastic, plexiglass and wood; his creations are scale model replicas of proposed office complexes, residences and shopping plazas.
Clausen’s model building is far from child’s play. His clients are generally architects who want a three-dimensional rendering of their plans to show to their clients and have commissioned scale models of widely diverse structures. After setting up shop in Florida as a self-employed model builder business picked up quickly. He worked on his own for four years, receiving most of his work through word of mouth. Then he accepted a position in New York City doing scale model construction for a top architectural firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill. After two years and a wide variety of projects for the firm he set out as a free-lancer.
One of his first free-lance projects was helping to develop a Kermit the Frog telephone, which lead to other work for Muppet creator, Jim Henson’s Henson Associates. He also designed an elaborate display for Muppet merchandise in New York’s legendary toy store, FAO Schwartz. During the nearly five years Clausen spent in New York some very diversified projects came his way. One was a prestigious commission to design and build five window displays for Tiffany & Company’s Fifth Avenue windows. Another was restoration of the original, half-century-old wooden model of the Rockefeller Center buildings for the complex’s 50th anniversary.
Today Clausen runs Architecte Miniatura out of Sarasota, Florida, where he provides golf course community site table models for award winning sales showrooms nationwide, architectural scale models of office towers and condominiums, as well as resort models which are shipped to exotic locations around the world.
Depending on the degree of detail needed, Clausen may go as far as to furnish the model, right down to wall murals the size of postage stamps and matchhead-sized telephones on a tiny conference table, all in perfect scale. Gulliver would feel right at home.
- BUSINESS DIGEST