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Snuggling up in a pop bubble

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The Museumotel, a cluster of bubble bungalows built in the sixties and recently renovated by a group of enthusiasts just opened its doors in the Vosges region of France.

A masterpiece of Swiss architect Pascal Haüsermann, these cells were constructed in 1967 and first called ?Motel de l'eau vive? because of their location on a piece of land surrounded by two river channels.

Most interesting is that these egg-shaped cells were built according to the ferro-cement technique (no formwork). Placed in a circle, each of the cells gives its guests access to the collective space in the middle from which they enter their room. But privacy is also maintained with each cell providing views onto the river in back.

The grounds consist of a main cell, which has a reception area, kitchen, breakfast room, housekeeping quarters and an apartment, and nine accommodation units in different sizes: six small ones for two to three people and three big ones for a maximum of six people.

Haüsermann, the utopian and visionary architect, is a specialist of the genre. Over the course of 10 years, he led the movement into the formwork-less shell technique both in concrete and plastic materials.

One of his projects, which he presented to the Programme d'Architecture Nouvelle in partnership with Patrick Le Merdy, was the Domobile: industrialized pods made from phenolic foam reinforced with polyester.

Assembled in factories or on location, these fully equipped pods could be linked to a three-dimensional reception area. People were able to build their dwellings to their liking and order components from a catalogue.

In the seventies, the oil crisis and the legislation of building permits put an abrupt stop to these projects. In the eighties, Pascal Haüsermann turned to housing projects that were more conventional, most notably the restoration of the Le Corbusier Clarté Building in Geneva.

Today Haüsermann spends his retirement envisioning new cocoon-like structures, this time in metal. It's with his collaboration that the buyers of the motel were able to restore the site to its former splendour.

It is these eight people, passionate about architecture and pop culture, who decided to breathe new life into the site while completely respecting its character. They built a living space, but also a small museum, an ode to design, that showcases furniture and objects from well-known designers like Joe Colombo, Ray and Charles Eames, Verner Panton and Eero Saarinen.

Each room has its own atmosphere. There's the Love-bulle with its shades of red and heart-shaped bed, the Fauconpierre with its acid-etched glass and 50's accents and the Rougevétu with its otherworldly, space-like atmosphere.

The bungalows can be rented by night, by week or by month. Or you can visit by attending one of their many cultural events or simply saddle up to the bar in the Utopia lounge. And if you're looking for a place to host your own special event, the entire island can be rented.

Translation by Jennifer Edwards

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