Legendary artist, and he who created Oscar winning special effects for Alien, H.R. Giger died yesterday at the age of 74. Giger was at a hospital in Zurich, and died from injuries he sustained in a fall.
While much of his storied career didn't take place in New York City, he did leave an interesting mark here in the 1990s. At the old Limelight (before it became a... mini mall), there was a VIP room designed by Giger. Located in the uppermost chapel of the landmarked church, the Giger Room (not exactly as detailed as Switzerland's Giger Bars) was open from 1998 through 2002. John Norris—who was with MTV at the time—used to patronize the place, and told us this morning:
"It was a really amazing, eye-popping space that I would always make sure I brought friends from out of town. Alien gargoyles, exo-skeletons everywhere, at least one huge painting/tapestery as I recall. Limelight had already been a fun house for years, and keep in mind the Giger Room came about after Alig's arrest and the whole 'Disco 2000' era had died down. I think the Giger Room was Peter [Gatien]'s way of classing up the joint, but by still having an artist who was transgressive and out there represented. And there were commemorative coins! At least for a while. Another chapter in the much-missed Limelight."
In 1998 Gatien was indeed trying to rehab the club's reputation, and the NY Times reported that he "spent $1 million so far renovating the church interior—a 'reinvention,' as he calls it"—this included the club's "heavily touted Giger Room," which was still under construction at that time. On Giger's website, the room was referred to as an "installation which included sculptures, functional furnitures pieces, a same-size digital reproduction of 'The Way of the Magician,' plus eight other paintings displayed as rear-illuminated same-size transparencies."
In Clubland, the room was described in all its dark detail: "The controversial Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger designed the upstairs VIP room, festooning the exclusive enclave with disturbing aluminum sculptures that were half science fiction, half demonic. The dark and decadent netherworld of H.R. Giger's imagination found a suitable setting at the Limelight, where the artist hoped to install a permanent New York showroom of work." Alas, it was closed and dismantled in 2002, but you can see some images of it right here, and below:
In 1982, Giger published a book called N.Y. City, which has been described as a "hyper-future architectural vision of New York [with] insanely intricate cityscapes."