"Fisher has combined some of Gehry's approaches to detailing with a fresh, confident graphic style and romantic use of metaphor."
'A Sentimental Soul'
Gehry said of his former assistant: "Fred has a subtle yet sentimental soul. His later work is more gentle and more thought out. If he continues to develop, he could be first-rate."
Fisher, 39, is tall and rangy with intense brown eyes and the slightly startled air of an aging boy having more fun than he ever thought possible. Now divorced, he lives in Santa Monica with his young son Eric.
The new space Fisher recently has moved his office into on Broadway in Santa Monica is a former warehouse with high exposed timber bow trusses and unstuccoed brick walls. The office is home to nine assistants and a display of models of projects from St. Tropez on the French Riviera to Tokyo.
Some of the models reveal Fisher's continuing collaboration with artists. He designed a loft in downtown Los Angeles that included a waterfall shower by sculptor Eric Orr. Last year, Fisher contrived a witty steel and fabric sculpture titled "Earthquake Shelter" with Tony Berlant for a traveling exhibit sponsored by the American Craft Museum.
Another hat worn by the ever-active Fisher is that of chairman of the environmental design department at Otis/Parsons School of Design. Since 1986, when Fisher took on the post, he has upgraded a previously prosaic interior architecture course into a wide-ranging program that includes artists, photographers, set designers and social historians.
"The fascination for me in architecture is that it includes almost every aspect of being alive," Fisher said. "It is everything from art to social habit, from private feeling to public show. The motto of all architects should be the famous Latin dictum that 'I count nothing human foreign to me.' "