Love nature but hate the pests and unpleasant weather? The term 'glamping' has come into relative prominence in recent times to describe the phenomenon of glamorous camping—encountering nature in comfort while sleeping in stylishly-designed, often environmentally sensitive structures. And while some may balk at the idea of improving on the standard tent and log fire experience, some of these structures have very real advantages. One such example is the creations of Bubbletree—marketed in the U.S. and Australia as Casabubble—transparent, atypical sphere bubble houses. Produced using sustainable materials, the bubble houses can provide 360 degree views of nature, while pumping fresh air through the dome to maintain a pleasant, calming, bug- and humidity-free environment.
The bubble houses are the brainchild of French designers Frédéric Richard and Pierre-Stéphane Dumas, and came about after Dumas built his very first tree hut, and decided to enclose the entire structure within a bubble. The idea evolved into UV-reflecting 11-15 foot wide domes made from recyclable materials that rest lightly on a wooden base, leaving zero impact on the environment. They are completely self-sufficient, and inflated by a quiet, built-in turbine that pumps in fresh air, and filters out pollen.
According to the designers, the spherical shape of the nomadic houses provides an inherently calming atmosphere through an “astonishing acoustic effect,” in which “noises outside are muffled and sounds inside bounce back to the centre of the sphere so that people instinctively speak more softly.” Meanwhile the clear views of nature—whether you’re in the wilderness of surfside at the beach—promote a sense of well-being.
The CristalBubble provides complete 360 degree views and is entirely transparent—but for those who seek a little more privacy, and practical amenities, there are an array of versions that provide opaque areas and even bathrooms. An almost completely opaque version—the BubbleDrop—is designed to provide a more subdued atmosphere for anything from mediation to meetings to massage—and in keeping with Dumas’ original idea, there’s even a Bubble that can be mounted amid tree branches.
To date the bubble houses have been put to use in a pretty wild variety of situations—just outside of Marseilles there is a hotel made up entirely from the inflatable structures, while images online show that they have been used for weddings, garden parties and even lavish indoor events, as well as—ahem—camping.