LA River Tattoo Co

LA River Tattoo Co. x RVCC Intersect

arts district, Los Angeles / 2018

Project Summary: RVCC Intersect collaboration with LA River Tattoo Co to create a hidden tattoo shop within Intersect's coffee bar.

Owner / Operators: Nico Rusconi & Chris Adams
LA River Tattoo Co: Steve Carballo
Design & Fabrication: Ahdom Sayre

Project Background: The space this project inhabits was once occupied by a shark tank and the mechanical systems that ran it. Naturally, this room was designed to be hidden, so in approaching the idea to bring back life to the space after the sharks had left, it was an obvious choice to pursue the creation of a new ‘secret’. In teaming up with LA River Tattoo Co, this concept was solidified. By hiding what is thought by some to be sinful in plain sight, the original architecture embraces original purpose in cloaking its contents but this time for the enjoyment of the few who seek it.

Design Notes: The design of the space was inspired by the primitive origins of tattooing, specifically in Japan. Due to the lack of windows in the space, the plan focused on forcing a perspective along the length of the space and creating the sense of landscape through the distant ‘setting sun’ articulated in neon. The bar layout intentionally separates the customer waiting area from the work area for safety and privacy but also serves to accentuate the perception of ‘landscape’ through depth of space. At the back of the space sits the elevated artists ‘house’ made of cedar, finished by fire with a traditional Japanese waterproofing process called shou sugi ban, and which is accessed via a ramp that was unearthed during demolition. The lighting in the space is a custom built system that simulates time of day through color temperature changing LED bars.

Custom Manufacturing List: Full space renovation (shark tank removal), white boxing, electrical, plumbing, custom lighting, all white oak counter and cabinets, custom anodized tool chests, shou sugi ban cedar ‘house’ office, setting sun neon.
Timeline: 3mo, completed in 2018

Photography: Ben Bassu