Future forms: Lo Monaco House by Tom Wiscombe Design
The architectural designs of Tom Wiscombe are overtly futuristic, to the point that were you to drop his concepts into the depictions of the London and San Francisco of the year 2259 in Star Trek Into Darkness, they wouldn't look out of place. His Lo Monaco House almost resembles a futuristic shuttle on a launchpad, yet the influences for this design are entirely removed from the realm of space fantasy – according to Wiscombe himself, that is.
The Lo Monaco House concept is a tale of two forms: an eye-catching crystal-like pointed mass (a deformed six-pointed star, from above) and the slab-like pedestal it stands on. The crystal contains the living room, kitchen and dining area. Bedrooms and private studios are reserved for the pedestal level below, where there is also a pool.
Wiscombe writes that this layout was informed by work of Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, who carved simplified depictions of human heads and animals, typically reduced to more basic shapes.
Often Brâncuși's sculptures were presented on a pedestal that formed an integral part of the work itself (to which it is sometimes viewed as being equally important).
In the crystal, two large irregular windows face north and south, both surrounded by smaller windows, and outlined by solid and dashed black lines in the building's many angled (and many-angled) facades. Wiscombe compares these lines to Tā moko, the tattoo-like grooves with which Māori people permanently mark their faces and bodies.
An 18th-century depiction of a Māori man with distinctive Tā moko (Image: Alexander Turnbull Library)
Pointed forms tend not to make for the most efficient use of space, but a glimpse through the windows shows that the rooms within are large enough for wasted corners not to be an issue. If space for such a project would be difficult to find in the crowded cities of the early 21st century, it's hard to envisage a contemporary city (including Monaco) in which Lo Monaco House wouldn't look out of place regardless. Perhaps at some point in the next few centuries, Wiscombesque forms will find a physical home.
The influences of creative works are interesting, but it would be remiss not to relay the final line of Wiscombe's bio. "Tom began his career as an intern at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, where his father is Chief Scientist." Just sayin' – and I hadn't read that when I wrote the words futuristic shuttle and launchpad.