Tokyo – When the conversation pit emerged in the 1950s, it was largely limited to the home. Modernist architect Eero Saarinen – who, together with Alexander Girard, used one as the centrepiece of the 1958 Miller House – was responsible for incorporating a bright-red version into the 1962 TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. And then, after the ’70s, the conversation pit fell out of favour. ‘The reasons for the pit's subsequent decline are varied,’ wrote Kate Reggev in an article for Dwell. ‘It could be dangerous if someone accidentally fell in, it wasn’t always practical for families with children, and it simply felt outdated and no longer fashionable. Homeowners filled in sunken areas of living rooms, and design trends moved on.’
Now, the configuration is starring as the heart of I In’s design of an office space for Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd, a major real estate developer in Japan and part of the Mitsui Group, one of the world’s largest corporate entities. Because the interior will be used by company members for various independent projects, it necessitated an arrangement other than the standard desk setup.