What's on the Tube?
Colab's media-inspired eatery cum gallery in Portland, Oregon, brings new meaning to the phrase "TV dinner"
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
"We've always been fascinated by how media affects architecture," says Mark Engberg, principal in charge of Colab Architecture + Urban Design, a firm with a portfolio that ranges from computer-game graphics to ABC Networks' high-tech Times Square facade. This fascination is equally evident in Colab's design for Tube, a slick bar-eatery in Portland, Oregon, that Engberg happens to co-own.
The dining area, where patrons lounge at stainless-steel tables and a walnut-topped bar, is enclosed by curving panels of green fiberglass. "It's like walking into a TV tube," says Engberg. Running almost the length of the ceiling, a punctured, stainless-steel screen stylishly conceals the HVAC system and lighting, casting a playful pattern on the rubber floor. The screen also hides a video camera that broadcasts live action on small closed-circuit TV monitors at the rear of the restaurant. An ever changing exhibition of media-based artwork by an international roster of up-and-coming talents is projected on a lenticular panel in the front window as well as on flat screens behind the bar. Since opening in September, Engberg says, Tube has encountered no shortage of artists (or aspiring celebrities) vying for a few minutes of prime time.