Rather than overtly simulating a visit to an Asian city, Tsunami presents an experience through a formal reinterpretation of the tropes that define Las Vegas; surfaces bend back and delaminate to expose an idea of architecture rather than a copy of architecture. The hybrid design mediates between the immateriality of a two-dimensional image and the presence of a three-dimensional volume. In the tension between these two systems—the graphic and the spatial—a coherent order emerges.
The geometrically manipulated plane defines and modifies the space. Artist Rebeca Méndez’s densely collaged graphic elements of Asian culture suggest a sense of place through color, density, saturation, and imagery. The flat graphic surface morphs in three dimensions—an inner lining that bends, folds, and wraps—creating a dialogue between the figurative logic of drawing and the spatial logic of architecture.
We were interested in exposing the underside of Las Vegas architecture to question notions of reality in this famously ersatz place. The process began by rendering void the space for the restaurant to create a black box backdrop. Stripped of its coverings, Las Vegas is a desert filled with nearly identical concrete and steel infrastructures concealed by surfaces meant to resemble something other than what they are. In Tsunami, we chose to participate in the game that is Las Vegas by accepting the terms and locating an authentic project within this radically synthetic place.