Drinking alcohol is so passé. In 2015 London, it’s all about inhaling vapourised booze through your lungs and eyeballs.
Set in the basement of an ancient monastery near Borough Market, Alcoholic Architecture is the latest installation from Willy Wonka-esque design firm Bompas and Parr, who have previously made an entire steamship out of jelly and a "bouncy boob castle" at the Museum of Sex.
After descending a darkly lit staircase, donning a poncho and grabbing a gin cocktail from the bar you enter The Cloud, “the world's first alcoholic weather system for your tongue”. The initial breath is a peculiar sensory rush – a flavour somewhere between juniper, musk and new shoes – but after seconds you forget what oxygen used to taste like.
With the foggy blue ambience of a crap B-movie dream sequence, visibility in The Cloud is reduced to six inches – an obstacle for the inevitable selfie-takers in attendance. A neon sign on the wall instructs “Breathe Responsibly”, but people are crowded around the heavy-duty humidifier that pumps out the boozy steam like a school disco smoke machine.
The idea is that the gin and tonic mist, with a spirit-to-mixer ratio of 1:3, “bypasses the liver” and gets straight into the bloodstream, so after a 50-minute session you get the equivalent of a whole cocktail just by breathing and having your eyes open. Way easier than boring old “drinking”.
Image credit: Ann Charlott Ommedal / Alcoholic Architecture