A fun and uplifting shading structure, Valerie Schweitzer’s Bubble Shade concept, was inspired by the playful soapy bubbles of a child’s bubble wand.
It was designed for the 2017 Future of Shade competition, an annual challenge held by Sunbrella® and Architizer™, which encourages architects and designers to explore the integral role of fabric in shade and building design. Bubble Shade earned a citation and is currently being considered by the New York City Parks Commission for installation.

The modular pods can easily increase in number depending on the size of the site and the need for shade, with different ring sizes and fabric shapes and colours.

The design
Exploiting the tensile properties of metal and fabric, Bubble Shade is an assembly of colourful domes that are both simple and complex because of the interstitial spaces that are created by the various-shaped fabric set against the sky. These clear-stained aluminium pods with wide openings and oculi at their roofs provide a sequence of refuges for a park, urban plaza or backyard.

Being practical, the pods are both modular and scalable, which means that they can easily increase in number depending on the size of the site and the need for shade. The design uses multiple geometric shapes and colours that allow shade-seekers to see the city or landscape through a kaleidoscopic filter.

The pods are made of three sizes of welded metal rings that create a skeleton, and the fabric or coloured plastic is then clipped onto metal grommets. The tensile super structure can be welded together on site, or in spherical quadrants off site and delivered for final assembly.

Bubble Shade is suited for year-round hot climates as a permanent installation.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Valerie Schweitzer Architects and v2com for the information and photos provided.

Caption main image: Bubble Shade creates an exuberant space anywhere that shade is needed.
Courtesy of Valerie Schweitzer, v2com

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