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Thursday, October 23, 2014         

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Bold tourists can catch air in blow-up room

By Associated Press

POSTED:


DENVER » For a limited time, a Denver hotel is offering a package with a one-night stay in a pop-up, inflatable room that rises 22 feet in the air, thanks to a scissor lift on top of the van on which it sits.

The cost: $50,000.

There is a weight limit. No smoking is allowed.

Architect Alex Schweder created the 5-by-7-foot, see-through room atop a van for the Biennial of the Americas festival of arts, culture and ideas in Denver. It has a chemical toilet, shower, sink, inflatable bed and couch, and curtains. It is being driven to parking lots around town through Aug. 23.

"It's a very small room but a very special room," Schweder said. "You're always on the top floor."

Now the Curtis hotel, which sponsored the piece, is offering the curious a chance to stay in the aluminum and inflated vinyl structure called "the hotel rehearsal."

Much of Schweder's work centers on the performance of architecture, focusing not so much on a structure, but the actions within it. After Schweder learned developers want to turn several Denver parking lots into hotels, he created "the hotel rehearsal" as a foreshadowing of how the space could change. One early draft involved suspending the room from a crane. Schweder was encouraged to keep it more grounded.

For $50,000 a guest would get one weekend night in the puffy space, plus lots of extras including a diamond pendant and earrings, two iPod Nanos and a dance party for 100 people in a ballroom of the Curtis. The inflatable room holds 450 pounds. No alcohol is allowed inside, in hopes of discouraging people from using it as a bouncy castle.

At least one person has inquired about the room, said Kate Thompson, sales director at the Curtis. Schweder said much of the $50,000 will go toward insurance, but customers also will be supporting the future of the Biennial of the Americas.

Schweder, who is based in New York and the United Kingdom, spent two nights in the room. While it has curtains, Schweder left the roof uncovered during his stay so he could peer up at the sky.

After one night he tweaked the design to mitigate sound from the fans that bring in fresh air and keep the room inflated.

Schweder tells potential guests, "The thing you shouldn't forget in your suitcase is your imagination."

--Catherine Tsai / Associated Press






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