British luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen returned to London for the first time in 20 years to showcase their Spring/Summer 2022 collection.

However, the fashion show was held in a unique setting with Chilean architect Smiljan Radić once again collaborating with the fashion label to create a giant transparent inflated bubble on the rooftop of a 11-storey carpark adjoining the historic Tobacco Dock, a former tobacco warehouse in Wapping in London’s East End that has been transformed into a venue for large corporate and commercial events.

The collection, which was inspired by the weather, particularly the formation and colours of clouds as seen from the Alexander McQueen studio, informed the design of the transparent bubble dome. Radić worked with structural specialist ES Global and creative agency Gainsbury&Whiting to fabricate and install the bubble on the carpark building’s roof.

The cloud-like dome was created using transparent panelled membranes supported by a network of steel tensile cables and fastened to a circular base on top of a temporary plywood platform that was built to address the car park’s sloped surface. Rows of chairs were placed in circles with a set of stairs in the middle rising up from beneath the platform to bring the models to the stage.

Multiple vents in the floor pumped air into the enclosed space to ensure the transparent bubble retained its inflated shape while air-locked revolving doors controlled the escaping air.

The transparent bubble has been designed for easy dismantling so that it can be re-used for other events.

Image courtesy of Alexander McQueen