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12 Designer Versions of the Much-Maligned Conversation Pit

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The architect or designer that manages to resurrect the conversation pit will have pulled off quite a feat. Shag carpeting and an abundant laminate are easy to bash, but few other interior trends that peaked in the '70s have been rendered so obsolete. Some call them tripping hazards; others say they're dirt magnets. These days, when one appears in a contemporary project, it's often referred to only as "sunken seating," as if to try and ward off dated associations. In that same spirit of rebranding, gathered below are a dozen examples of this scarcely championed design feature by well-known architects, interior designers, and even a few '70s decor mavens, paired with 100-percent serious pitches for a new name strong enough to rescue the conversation pit from obscurity:


↑ The most famous dialogue dip of all time is in the Miller House of Columbus, Indiana, a circa-1953 work of Finnish-American modernist architect Eero Saarinen and designer Alexander Girard, who picked out a different set of cushions for each season with the help of textile expert Jack Lenor Larsen.


↑Architect David Force so loved the Miller House that he designed an ode to it just down the street with many similar features, including the groupthink decline.


↑ The cinema room that Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld designed for a São Paulo family home features a cheerful chat basin surrounded by a perimeter of shelves and windows.


↑ Gabbin' chasms abound in Bloomingdale's Book of Home Decorating, the 1973 publication that documents the disco fantasylands that Barbara D'arcy, former chief decorator at Bloomingdale's, created for the upscale department store's Manhattan flagship location.


↑ Another early-'70s design tome, this one known as The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, includes one discussion crater that kind of undercuts the point of phenomenon by including a television, but makes up for it with canary yellow seating, patterned shag carpeting, and an organ.


↑ This prattle cavity is actually one of the least off-the-wall features of avant-garde fashion designer Pierre Cardin's 1989 vacation home, the giant macaroni sculpture known as Palais Bulles.


↑ For the 2012 London Design Festival, British entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe created a 860-square-foot futuristic flat with a "master bedroom" that lowers over a babble burrow. Millennia from now, our cyborg overlords might remember it as seminal interior, rather than an inconvenient and potentially dangerous one.


↑ The living room of a Santa Fe contemporary by architect Bart Prince has a whisper oasis floored with tinted concrete situated under large clerestories.


↑ Famously adventurous organic architect Bruce Goff built the strangest home in Kansas City in the 1960s, which is currently owned by midcentury furniture dealer Rod Parks. Holding court in the center of the gossip hollow is what the NYT describes as "a fire-and-water fountain made from a sawed-off boiler, an inverted showerhead and a copper ring pierced with flame jets. Overhead, [Goff] strung a veil of mirrors."


↑ Goff made a bull-session pen the centerpiece of the Adams House, a 12-sided circa-1961 rock home.


↑ Communiqué nests were something of a signature element for midcentury legend Paul Rudolph. Pink walls and questionable furniture make this one, in his circa-1984 Clifton-On-The-Sound a little hard on the eyes by today's standards.


↑ Though portions of Saarinen's TWA Flight Center have been demolished, the yak dent remains.

· Vintage Shots of Eero Saarinen's Masterful Miller House [Curbed National]
· Mid-Century Modernism at its Finest [Modern Capital]
· A Modern Villa in Brazil [Architectural Digest]
· Here Now, Unbelievable Photos From a 1970s Design Tome [Curbed National]
· Tour Pierre Cardin's Palais Bulles, 1989's Ultimate Summer Pad [Curbed National]
· Futuristic Tiny Home Crams a House in a One-Bedroom Flat [Curbed National]
· Like a Reptile in the Sun [Architectural Digest]
· 10 Facts About Kansas City's Architecturally Craziest House [Curbed National]
· Bruce Goff's Oklahoma [Dwell]
· A Paul Rudolph-Designed Mansion on Long Island Sound [Curbed National]
· AD Classics: TWA Terminal / Eero Saarinen [Arch Daily]