Future Shock pix
With his Fine Living installation at NeoCon West, Patrick Tighe traveled to the world of 2026
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 6/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
For the second annual Fine Living installation at NeoCon West in Los Angeles, Tighe Architecture designed a live-work structure made of plywood ribs, gypsum board, plaster, quartz composite, and resin. Sponsored products appeared throughout, including a sunken spa tub at the top of the stairs.
An enclosure defined the kitchen and powder room, separated by the cork-floored living area from the office, with its platform of honeycomb-core resin under-lit by a 180-foot-long LED system. The three zones were united by a canopy clad in quartz composite.
Top: A mixed-media mural, commissioned from local artist Gabriel Rivera, and laminated-glass panels, interwoven with steel cables, formed an "art garden" outside the spa.
In the powder room, a custom fiberglass pendant fixture hung over the stainless-steel sink and fittings.
The spa featured a suspended fireplace in spun stainless.
Tile of recycled concrete aggregate paved the kitchen floor.
Harry Bertoia's recently released chaise longue faced a media wall composed of 30-inch computer monitors.
Resin tiles embedded with fiber-optic mesh punctuated the walls surrounding Antonio Citterio's 15-foot-long stainless-steel kitchen island.
A resin structure comprised both the office's desk and the living area's banquette. Recycled polyester covered the banquette cushions.
Why would a successful architect spend six months on a complex project, only to have it demolished one week after completion? And for zero compensation, to boot?
Accepting the commission to design the Fine Living installation at this year's NeoCon West in Los Angeles was a no-brainer for Tighe Architecture's principal, Patrick Tighe. The guidelines asked him to look ahead 20 years—enabling him to push his passion for techno-savvy architecture to the limit.
The only restrictions he faced were space, 1,300 square feet at the L.A. Mart, and an obligation to include products from 18 sponsoring manufacturers. How am I going to make something cohesive out of all of them? the architect recalls thinking. "I decided it wasn't going to be about product—but about space," he explains. Thus his futuristic live-work setting, circa 2026.
After developing a computer model, Tighe translated the shape into a three-dimensional white structure comprising a vaguely elliptical enclosure and, jutting out of it, an angular canopy. He fabricated the enclosure with computer numerically controlled milling, a process that creates physical components from digital files. In this instance, 64 plywood ribs, each 14 feet tall, were assembled on-site and covered with two layers of 1/2-inch-thick gypsum board to make curved surfaces.
Artistic elements and color-changing LEDs defined the three zones. Tighe clustered a kitchen and powder room in the ellipse. A cork-floored space outside served as the living area; next came a platform office. Both were partially sheltered by the narrow canopy.
This steel-framed monolith was clad in one sponsor's quartz composite, which usually appears as countertops—way too mundane for Tighe. As for other product, Antonio Citterio's island, with integrated appliances, and Harry 'Bertoia's bar stools provided an all-in-one eat-in kitchen. On the walls, Tighe placed colored resin tiles embedded with fiber-optic motion-sensitive mesh, offering an interactive light show. The powder room showcased a stainless-steel toilet designed for prisons.
Another supplier's panels of translucent honeycomb-core resin covered the platform—a plane that shifted from turquoise to violet, thanks to the LED system underneath. Additional panels angled upward to form the back of a banquette, then folded over to become the work surface in the office.
Descending over the office, the canopy morphed into a short staircase that concealed the spa zone behind. Here, a suspended fireplace offered a soft counterpoint to the installation's hard edges. The sunken tub was as sybaritic as you'd expect from a real spa. But instead of the expected spa bamboo, Tighe opted for a garden of art. Like wind chimes, his laminated-glass panels were an ethereal complement to a turbulent mixed-media mural.
Nature got her due with an eco-friendly materials palette. The kitchen was paved in a recycled concrete aggregate. The banquette-cushion upholstery in the cork-floored living area was recycled polyester.
Tighe positioned the living area's chaise longue to face a bank of computer monitors showing nature images. The asymmetrical chaise, in white resin-covered steel, looked eerily familiar. It turns out that, even though Bertoia designed the piece in 1952, it went into production just last year.