Tragic news is coming in late tonight from Swissinfo that iconic artist H.R. Giger has passed away following injuries sustained from a fall.
Best known for his ground-breaking designs for the original Alien films, Giger is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of our time.
One of the first artists to personally affect me as an impressionable youth, I can remember gleefully digging into his work at a young age. I even chose him as the first subject for our art column here on Horror Homework, which you can see here.
An artist who influenced countless young minds in his brief time on earth, Mr. Giger will be sorely missed.
Born in 1940 to parents who did not approve of his artistic leanings, Giger studied architecture and industrial design in his formative years. He created and developed his own distinct biomechanical style, incorporating living breathing beings into cold mechanical devices. The visions he shared with us of his worlds intertwining in the most unnatural ways have always affected the viewers on the most primal, guttural levels.
Clearly influenced by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Giger published a notoriously influential book called “Necronomicon” in 1977. The designs in that book found their way into the hands of director Ridley Scott, and the rest is history.
With his designs for the film “Alien”, Giger essentially created a nightmare world that has persisted in the consciousness of all of us. A stark grey landscape where everything is pieced together into one, a ghastly living breathing world-view full of predators and unearthly visions.
In later years, he brought his world into ours, creating his own unique furniture and set designs that went unused for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s sadly unrealized film version of “Dune”.
In Switzerland, there exist two “Giger bars” which utilized his unique designs to create a one of a kind atmosphere. According to Giger’s official website :
The Giger-Bar which, today, exists in the Swiss city of Chur, was originally planned for New York City. When it became apparent that the budget for the bar envisioned for New York was not going to be enough to allow for the design and construction of the elements which had been planned for it, Giger decided it would be wiser to wait until it could be financed properly.
Fortunately, Thomas Domenig came into Giger’s life at about the same time. In his youth, Giger had attended high-school with his wife. Domenig is the number-one architect of Chur. He built about a third of the city. There were plans for a café in his Kalchbuhl-Center, which was already under construction, and Giger had, evidently, shown up at just the right moment. He was able to convince Domenig to change his plans and back the idea of a bar.
The furniture program for the Giger-Bar was significantly expanded by the new designs for a chair, a glass topped table and the bar itself. The establishment’s door is that of Giger’s armoire design, enlarged by one third. The oval mirrors, the wall lamps and the special coat racks were also designed by Giger and carried out with the aid of Giger’s most important team of technical experts, de Fries, Schedler, Ammann, Vaterlaus, Gruber and Brigitte von Kanel.
Construction took, approximately, two years. The bar’s official opening was on February 8, 1992, three days after Giger’s birthday.
It is Giger’s hope that, one day, a Giger-Bar can still be realized in New York City, his favorite amongst all the cities of the world.
This is a sad day for us, fans of wonderful and challenging artwork.
Mr. Giger was an artist and visionary that affected each and every one of us in different ways, and his death is a huge loss to this world, and the mysterious unknown that we all long for.
He was the one who made me understand that there is, in fact, beauty in darkness.
Rest in peace, Mr. Giger.
You will be missed.