Trust BUREAU to visually capture the ethereal and intangible experience of floating with their latest project for Origin float centre in Geneva, Switzerland. With a furniture series, an editorial project and multiple genre-bending architecture and interior design projects under their belt, BUREAU has never placed a limit on the power of the image. In this latest space, a series of pastel colours wrap and unfold everything they encounter to create an almost liquid state of suspension.
Playing with altered perceptions, the studio utilises curtains, rails, vertical lines, horizontal surfaces, shelves, long chairs and a repeated tile grid that act as a surreal measuring framework. Scattered amongst the formal grid is a series of ridiculous figurative elements that interrupt the coherence of the interior. Wobbly pastel benches and a primordial rocky installation overhead contrast with the vibrant green of the plants, their manufactured and organic forms coexisting in this contrived reality.
The work of Iranian-born Switzerland-based photographer Shirana Shahbazi was a direct inspiration. Alternating between abstraction and representation, Shahbazi juxtaposes abstract geometries with natural and constructed landscapes. With these surprising combinations, surface and depth interplay with an opulent field of colour and pattern. BUREAU builds on this sentiment creating a journey through sensations, patches of colour become space-holders and blur the lines between the outside, inside and connecting realities.
From the show window to the Jeff Wall lightboxes, the user is lead through a series of unreal and “bi-dimensional” zones that concludes with the extreme intimacy of the floating water pod. The overall zany composition reminds me of the Wes Anderson like interiors of North Korea – described as a “pastel fairyland” with Origin feeling similarly otherworldly and eerie.
Intimate, calm and, in the words of BUREAU “timidly erotic”, experiencing this float centre is quite the trip, and that’s before you ever reached an actual float tank.