While some films are memorable for their plot or particular characters, others remain with us because of their unique aesthetic. We’re not just talking about fashionable lead actors, but a whole world that we’ve never seen before except in these films. One example of a film with an instantly recognizable aesthetic, is Ridley Scott’s Alien. The distinctive style of Swiss artist, H.R. Giger, permeates the film’s alien creature and spaceships. The extraordinarily detailed costumes and sets blend organic and mechanical elements that few will ever forget after seeing this film. Those who have always wanted to experience the imagery of this film in real life can do so at two Giger themed bars located in Switzerland.
The first of these, the H.R. Giger Bar, is in Chur, Switzerland and opened in 1992. Giger had originally wanted to open a bar featuring his designs in New York, but he had trouble finding financial backing for the project. The enormous amount of detail in his custom designs required plenty of funding in order to be completed. Although his New York plans fell through, he was able to complete a bar in Chur, in collaboration with the architect, Thomas Domenig. The intriguing and slightly chilling atmosphere is just what you would expect if you’ve seen Alien. The large swivel chairs around the bar are thrones built with metallic vertebrae. Meanwhile, the engraved silver floor looks both like electronic circuitry and ancient hieroglyphs. This biggest surprise, however, is the plaster faces embedded in the bar just below the counter. This is definitely not the most lighthearted place you could choose for drinks, but it is fascinating nonetheless.
The second Giger bar, the H.R. Giger Musuem Bar, in Gruyeres, Switzerland, takes things up a notch. While the imagery is similar, it is integrated even more into the architecture. The arches that make up the vaulted ceiling are shaped like vertebrae so that stepping inside this bar is like stepping within a cavern of bones. This room also recalls the “space jockey” scene from the film Alien, creating a much more cinematic experience than the original Giger bar. On the other hand, it seems that the lighting is much more suitable in the Churn bar. The Museum Bar is well lit by natural light during the day, which diminishes the effect of the architecture which we associate with the blackness of outer space. Even so, the bar still feels like you’ve stepped into some strange future world in which man and machine have become inextricably intertwined.