One of my more popular posts to date was about the Archipod, a prefab plywood bubble of sorts designed as a “garden office” for work-from-homers. Although I love the commute-to-your-garden aspect of the Archipod, I do find the spherical, space-agey structure to be slightly claustrophobic. Sure, it has a porthole window and a roof dome eliminating the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours but if I was working from an enclosed pod in my backyard for hours at a time, I’d want a slightly better view.


Enter the BubbleTree (the company's website is available intermittently, but you can learn more here) another spherically shaped prefab structure that’s all view. BubbleTrees were designed by Pierre Stephane Dumas as get-close-to-nature tent alternatives for the great outdoors, but I’m guessing you could set up one of these completely transparent (or semi-transparent if you need some level of privacy) bad boys out back. Whether you’re using a BubbleTree as a workspace, meditation/yoga studio, playhouse, star-watching slumber party crash pad, or as a place to stash visiting in-laws for a couple of nights, you’d probably want to situate it in a shady spot as they do get toasty, just like real tents.


Dumas explains the BubbleTree concept to The Daily Mail


Having a night under the stars or seeing the sun rise and set is not something that many people experience anymore. A normal tent or camper van means people miss out on these things. So I designed this eccentric shelter with the aim of offering an unusual experience under the stars while keeping all the comfort of a bedroom suite. The ceiling of the bubble has the Milky Way ... guests will be able to enjoy this as well as the extraordinary light variation of the sunset and sunrise.


BubbleTrees are available in several designs. Even the most basic model, the BubbleRoom, comes equipped with a portable wardrobe, sofas, rollout beds, and an optional electrical hook-up for lighting. The next step up in BubbleTree-dom is the BubbleLodge that features opaque sides, an attachable bathroom, and additional sleeping spaces. There’s also an amazing treehouse version.


BubbleTrees are produced in France from UV-reflecting recyclable materials and are easily inflated just like air mattresses. Continuously running electric pumps silently maintain the structure’s shape and keep fresh air circulating. The price for your very own backyard see-through bubble? They aren't cheap, running between $9,000 and $17,000 depending on the model and any additional bells and whistles. And, apparently, you can rent a BubbleTree at various camping sites across France for about $650 a night. 
Head on over to Dornob for more images and information. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

A BubbleRoom of one's own
BubbleTrees are portable, prefab dwellings meant for fancy camping trips, but you also could inflate one in your backyard as a see-through garden retreat.