Sunday, March 06, 2011

HR Giger - Bars

Chur, Switzerland

The Giger-Bar which, today, exists in the Swiss city of Chur, was originally planned for New York City. When it became apparent that the budget for the bar envisioned for New York was not going to be enough to allow for the design and construction of the elements which had been planned for it, Giger decided it would be wiser to wait until it could be financed properly.

 Tokyo, Japan (Now Defunct)

For this bar, I had developed the concept of tables-for-two in open elevator cars in the manner of gliding elevators that would travel up and down the four-story establishment, perpetually in motion. I hadn't taken into consideration the Japanese fire marshals. I had already been driven to the brink of madness by the building codes requiring flexible structures to ensure that buildings withstand earthquake shocks. When they nixed the elevator idea and prescribed fixed cabins hanging like balconies with wire mesh on the atrium side, I threw in the towel. Only Conny de Fries and my former agent persevered. This bar, with its huge entrance area, inside which spiral stairs open to the atrium, came into being.

It seems the bar was tailor-made for the underworld, which is not what I had intended. A friend who visited the place about 5 years after it opened told me it had fallen into the hands of the Yakuza. He went on to report that he was alone in the bar until 11 o'clock, when it began to fill with the type of unsavory characters who might have installed a roulette table in the atrium. My friend chose to take his leave.

The bar no longer exists. Insiders know that a bar in Tokyo rarely survives more than five years!

-HR Giger

Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland

The interior of the otherworldly environment that is the H.R. Giger Museum Bar is a cavernous, skeletal structure covered by double arches of vertebrae that crisscross the vaulted ceiling of an ancient castle. The sensation of being in this extraordinary setting recalls the tale of Jonah and the whale, lending the feel of being literally in the belly of a fossilized, prehistoric beast, or that you have been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilization.