Bureau A | Shelter

Switzerland-based studio Bureau A created the inflatable PVC nightclub, Shelter, to host the annual party of the Federation of Swiss Architects. Shelter contains a bar, a dance floor and inflatable furniture. The entire structure is made of black PVC membrane allowing the structure to be deflated, transported and inflated easily.

The Influencers of Shelter

Bureau A considers Shelter to be the result of studying the architecture of the underground. This territory has been explored by architectural theorists previously. Gaston Bachelard started a search for new territories beneath the earth, and the bringing of those territories to the surface and the attention of others. Paul Virilio demonstrated the potential of semi-buried architectures in his work, Bunker Archeology. Beatriz Colomina, in her book Domesticity of War, showed the hidden architectures and strategies of American society during the Second World War. Bureau A is a continuation and application of these theorists. It is by bringing the underground above that it is possible to complete the panoptic view.

Understanding the Shelter

The Shelter is a mass of contradictions. The outside appearance of a children’s bounce castle and the inside appearance of a train tunnel turned bar. The cramped environment of the underground brought to the surface. Bureau A has perhaps constructed with Shelter a representation of the psychologically subconscious and the attempts to bring that to the surface. In so doing, they have expanded the architectural form, their collapsible tunnel bar extends the possibilities of inflatable structures. The possibility to distort a landscape for one night only, to provoke a discussion and different viewing of one’s spaces. Shelter has the ability to land and change an individual’s perception of architecture, permanently, a rare occurrence in contemporary society. For that reason alone, Shelter is worthy of consideration and the expected influence over the future of architecture and design.

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Words | Rob Woodgate