Design & Living / Supreme Interiors

The Novelty Cave

Supreme Interiors celebrates the daffy design trend that gathered style momentum during the 60s

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Living for Today, Karen Fisher ©1972
Living for TodayKaren Fisher ©1972

Several weeks ago we unearthed an incredible interior design feature from the past, known as the conversation pit. Often, designers and architects would refer to this as a "cave" on schematics and floor plans. This word seems perfectly fitting, as it was used to describe an intimate and often circular enclosed space. This week, however, we revisit the cave in a far more literal sense. Another brilliant but bonkers trend that cropped up in 60s was to sculpt cave-like walls and ceilings using concrete or stucco in an effort to create an entirely different type of intimate social setting. 

Each home cave varied in complexity, ranging from a single wall or simple rock-like feature, to an entire room that was sculpted into a cavernous den. Occasionally there would even be a nod to its utilitarian origins with an earthen fireplace or adobe hearth, but often this detail was pure fantasy and served only as decoration. Faux stalactites would fall from the center of a room, large boulders would erupt from textured walls, and bathrooms would be transformed into a subterranean watering holes.  

Though this curious trend became the height of contemporary fashion in the late 60s, it was a thing of the past by the end of the 70s. Without serving a real function, there was nothing to carry it through into the next era of design, and so each cavernous dwelling was quickly abandoned once the novelty (or posssibly the drugs) wore off. Fortunately, we can still marvel at the awesome photographic evidence that's left behind... 

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