the conversation pit

As to the origins of the conversation pit, they are fixed historically somewhere between the Turks and the Beatles, whose movie, "Help!" featured John Lennon pontificating about the meaning of life from a pit in the group's communal home. Some art historians blame perpetual Playboy Hugh Hefner; others credit everyone from fabric designer Alexander Girard to Frank Lloyd Wright to the American Indian. Terence Riley, chief curator of the department of architecture and design for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, thinks the sunken living room evolved from the European inglenook, "a cozy corner where people sat and had a chat." But he admits that James Bond movies and the "Dick Van Dyke Show" -- with the star tripping into his living room nightly -- gave the concept cachet with the public. Mr. Riley remembers sketching his first conversation pit in architecture school years ago and thinking "it was immensely cool."

Los Angeles artist Jorge Pardo had none of these cultural references in mind when he decided to include a 10-foot by 10-foot conversation pit in his 3,200-square foot house-cum-art-installation, commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. He just liked the look. "It inspires conversation," he says of his pit, sunk a foot and a half into the ground and featuring a fireplace and built-in, light-blue corduroy sofa. Mr. Pardo admits, however, that guests sometimes have different first reactions. "You get the chuckles," he says, "People come to the house and say, 'I had one of those in the '70s.' " The sniggering doesn't faze him. "It doesn't look funky in context," he says."

taken from here...

(inspired by the ever amazing ouno design... here!)