Most people have seen Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger‘s work, even if they don’t know who he is. Giger is best known as the designer for Ridley Scott‘s Alien movies, for which he won an Oscar. Incredibly creative, he paints and sculpts too. Giger was way ahead of his time in foreseeing the increasingly close relationship between the human body and machines.
The Château St. Germain in Gruyères (yep, like the cheese), Switzerland houses the H. R. Giger Museum, which is a permanent repository of his work. The nearby Giger Bar is a stunning, slightly surreal bar designed by him. Built in 2003, it was way ahead of its time, foreseeing the increasingly close relationship between the human body and machines. There are two Giger Bars; the other is in his hometown of Chur in the Graubünden Canton of Switzerland.
Giger excels at represent human bodies and machines in a cold, but connected, intriguing way. Sitting in the bar, you feel like you’re in the belly of the beast. It is an incredibly imaginative and slightly surreal mixture of skeleton and fantasy.
While it’s dark, structural and even biomechanical, it’s not cold. We went early and at an off hour so that we could fully explore the place. We oohed and aahed as we discovered details everywhere. It definitely makes for an unforgettable drink.
The ceiling has the skeletal structure of vertebrae, like a fantastic ossuary.
Once upon a time (the 1980’s), there was another Giger Bar in Tokoyo. Unfortunately Giger wasn’t as involved in that one. Its design was constrained by earthquake codes. Perhaps most damagingly, it became a hangout for the Yakuza. Giger disowned it and never even entered.