Dezeen Magazine

Inflatable black nightclub created by Bureau A for Federation of Swiss Architects

Swiss studio Bureau A created this inflatable PVC nightclub to host the annual party of the Federation of Swiss Architects (+ slideshow).

Named Shelter, the black blow-up building contains a bar and a dance floor, as well as an assortment of inflatable furniture that includes seating, tables and a DJ booth.


Everything is made out of black PVC membrane, meaning the lightweight structure can be easily deflated and transported to a new location.

The structure was commissioned by the Federation of Swiss Architects, better known as Bund Schweizer Architekten, to host the organisation's summer party. For this event, it was installed inside Pavillon Sicli – a cultural venue in Geneva.


Bureau A described the structure as a "mysterious black vessel in a highly engendered concrete vault".

"For one night, the black hole of a neat and well-organised society is revealed as a potential for distortion, a potential of let-go and provoke, with a slight smile, the unsaid and the sweat," they said.


With offices in both Geneva and Lisbon, architects Leopold Banchini and Daniel Zamarbide established Bureau A as an office for both architecture and research – with past projects ranging from a marble urinal to a mobile mini-skyscraper.


They see Shelter as a study of the architecture of the underground, as explored by theorists including Gaston Bachelard, Paul Virilio and Beatriz Colomina.

"Architecture seeks the underground, searches for new territories under the skin of the earth," said the team. "Bachelard woke up the right to the unconscious spatial exploration of the underground through the figure of the cellar."


"Virilio unveiled the potential of semi-buried architectures in his Bunker Archeology," they continued. "Colomina brought to light the hidden architectures and psychotic strategies of the American society during the Second World War in her book Domesticity at War."

"The underground fascinates and completes the hygienic and panoptical world of the overground."


Bureau A is the latest in a series of architects to have experimented with inflatable structures in recent months. Other examples include BIG's "cloud pavilion" and the bubble-like structure by Spanish architects DOSIS.

Photography is by Dylan Perrenoud.