Archimedes Design at TaBURNak! 8


TaBURNak! the Montreal burner decompression party, is one of those events where we get to come together with a community that we love. 


We love all the events that we do, but the Montreal burner scene in particular is one where we get to spend time with people that are truly family. 


This years event was a total success. Three of our domes were present and each of them was utilized in an incredibly different way. 


The Dusty Beavers were present with their dome that they had bought for Burning Man this last year. It was so nice to see one of our Montreal theme camps show up with their installation. They did a experiential space where the participants could enter and experience different sensory activities. 


Artist Kendall Malichuk took one of our domes and turned it into an underwater cuddle puddle. You had to crawl into the low cozy space filled with waving seaweed and cozy cushions. The place was packed all night long. 


Artist John Lanthier filled yet another dome with dozens and dozens of his hand drawn hyper-doodlings. The artist collective Eden Creative then activated the space with face painting throughout the evening. 


All in all it was wonderful to see how our domes were used in such different ways throughout the space. They really created containers that each team could take in their own direction. 


Thanks again to the wonderful Montreal community for letting us be part of your expression! May we have many more years together to come. 

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp



taBURNak! Setup Days


One of our favourite events, Archimedes once again had a solid presence at this year’s taBURNak!, the Montreal Burner Decompression Party. 


taBURNAk! was actually the event where Toby, Michael and I met for the very first time, leading us all on this journey forward together. Year after year it is so exciting to come back to this event and see how much we’ve grown together. 


This year there were three Archimedes domes present on our tiny little playa. Taking place in a gorgeous old cathedral, this space doesn’t need very much to be absolutely stunning. 


What the space does need however is some space differentiation, and our domes are perfect for the task. 


All the pieces and parts fill the venue and out of chaos comes magic, as things come together to form art in all corners of the space. 


Each dome is filled to the brim by artist teams, all creating their own different magic in the spaces. 


After a short day of installation, the space is even more gorgeous. Ready for all of the incredible participants to come experience the space!


More to come!

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp


1 Comment

Archimedes 2017 in Review


This year has been a big one for us! We’re so grateful for everything that has gone on this season. Lots of new things are happening for us, but we wanted to take a second to look back and appreciate all the wonderful things this year gave us. Without the building blocks of history we’d never get anywhere, and we find it inspiring to see how much we’ve grown. 

Dome Redesigns

Several new things happened with our dome design this year which will help us push our domes to bigger and better heights in the year to come. 


Tougher Structure

This year our domes became structural enough to hold live human weight thanks to David Pardo and the awesome crew at Recharge Your Heart.


Until this point we’ve always stated that our domes are for quick pop-up shade and that they would not be able to hold certain types of weight. But Pardo and his crew decided to help us prove that we could do it better. They wanted to hit the goal of having a dome that would support multiple people in hammocks at the same time. So we set out to help them with a redesign that could hit that goal. 


By switching out our standard aluminum poles with schedule 40 and redesigning the harnesses from bungees to a new ratchet style, we watched with glee as they created a dome that fully and safety held up to eight people in hammocks at once. This dome was so functional that we will be moving all future models of our dome in this direction.


Biggest Dome Yet

This year we also built the biggest dome we ever have made. Spanning 26” in diameter and 20’ high, it was large enough to hold a free standing circus rig. 


Towering over our other domes we were a beacon on the playa, inviting people in for circus workshops and shows throughout the week. 


Bigger and better is always our goal, and this dome achieved that. With our new poles and redesigned harnesses, next year we’ll be able to start making things on an even larger scale.


Ceiling and Patterns

One of the new designs that we rolled out this spring was a spandex ceiling for our domes. Although we like our full tent design, we love the ceiling for the extra shade coverage while still keeping it open and breezy inside. 


We also moved away from plain coloured spandex into more prints and specialty designs which we love. This next year we’ll be taking it even further by printing custom content and art on domes as well as moving towards more weather resistant fabrics. 


This Years Installations

So many things happened this year it’s hard to keep track, but here’s some of our favourite highlights.


Wedding Season

We’ve always known that our domes would be perfect for weddings, and this year proved it. 


Three years ago Toby and Michael got married in our first ever wedding chapel and from there on out we knew that these domes were perfect for anyone who wanted to tie the knot.


From circus weddings to burner weddings to good old fashioned white dress and riding in on a horse, these domes spanned the range this year.


We were so excited to be part of each and every special day, and we’re so excited to see these domes used for one of the purposes it was made for.


Our Largest Rental Contract to Date

This year we were hired out to do a large portion of infrastructure at biggest installation yet.


With 14 domes we spanned the beach of Gratitude Migration.

Dina Divine06.jpg

It was beautiful to wander through this festival and see our domes lighting up spaces everywhere we went. 

Brian Cruikshank 05.jpg

From yoga studios to meditation spaces, to VIP rooms, to safety stations, to art galleries, to healing workshops, to personal shelter, these domes had their useful space filled to the brim. 

Dina Divine13.jpg

Seeing the capacity we had to pull out large scale installations and content like this was truly inspiring. 

Dina Divine21.jpg
DjRandy Cooper‎01.jpg

We got to watch our domes used and filled with humans like we always want them to be. It was a truly successful installation.


Art Festivals

As usual our domes did the full circuit this year. We love festivals, they have our hearts. It’s always so amazing to be able to create space and content for people to enter into.


One of the things we love about our domes is their capacity to create a space just outside of everything else. A place that one can go in and have an experience one may not have expected. 


We love to build those experiences, and we love to see them connect even more. 


We're so grateful for the continued inspiration and joy these spaces give us. 


Sponsored our First Incubator Contest 

This year we did our first ever dome donation with the intent to inspire creativity and theme camp space. We learned a lot of things in doing this for the first time. 


One of the things that we learned is that we want to have a better process for teaching and supporting people in learning how to run art and theme camp space. One of the other things we learned is that sometimes people can absolutely blow you away if given the chance. 


One of the teams that didn’t even win the dome were so inspired that they ended up buying one instead. The results that came out of it were magical. The installation was by far one of our favourite was saw all year. 


Over 40 Domes at Burning Man

Currently, we’re a little company with just three of us that make our parts by hand. Although we're soon planning to expand our manufacturing, for a little company we sure do pack a punch and this years Burning Man proved it. 


In just 3 short years we’ve produced and sold enough domes that we had over 40 domes on the playa in 2017. You could wander around the city and be able to find one of our domes in every sector you went. 


The teams that purchased domes all did incredible things with them. Such active and engaged camps, with beautiful offerings to the public.


We were awestruck to wander around the playa and see all of the beauty that people had created with the container we make. 


Published in The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man

We were once again honoured to be published in Philipe Glade's newest version of the Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man.


He awarded us the golden rebar award 4 years ago, which helped start us on our journey towards production. It’s beautiful to see our domes on glossy pages and be bound in this history of Burning Man forever. 


Living in our Domes All Year

And as usual we've tried and tested our product all year long by travelling with it, living in it, and creating new spaces everywhere we go. 


We initially created this product to solve the problems we were having ourselves. We were our own first customers and every year we tend our own merchandise by using it in every possible way we can. We fully believe in what we do, because we know that if it works for us, it can work for you too.


Thank you 2017!

Thank you so much to each and every human who made this year so incredibly great for us! It truly was a year to remember. We cannot wait to see what will be in the years to come! 


All products from last year are now on clearance sale to make way for new stock! We have more than is listed on the site. Feel free to contact us to see what we have available today! 

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp

1 Comment


Interview with Black Rock City Photographer Philippe Glade

 All photographs by Philippe Glade

All photographs by Philippe Glade

One day in 2013, a man walked into our camp with his camera asking about our domes. "Who built this? What is this called? How do I make one?" He then awarded us something he called The Golden Rebar Award, his own personal award for designers at the Burn, which he awards on the merits of creativity, design and architectural breakthrough. Thus began our friendship with this interesting and forward-looking man. 


Because there is not one answer to the numerous environmental challenges present in the Black Rock Desert, a lot of participants come up with many valuable and forward-looking solutions to accommodate life where it is impossible. Year after year, Black Rock City organically sets itself as a unique testing ground for individual or collective structures. The city itself is an ever vibrant laboratory for daring creators looking in different directions to solve the equation of a simply built, extremely resistant, not too expensive and easy to haul shelter.

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 8.15.40 PM.png

The result of this urban exploration and documentation is Philippe’s blog, two books and these Golden Rebars that, hopefully, inspire and encourage others to continue their explorations.


Philippe’s obsession with the desert started in 1990. As a young man he had signed up to be on a team that crossed the Sahara desert to bring cars to Niger. At the time it was one of the only ways to get cars into that part of Africa, and the indestructible french cars, with one driver per car, had to cross some of the most dangerous terrain in less than 5 days. At the time civil war was just beginning in Algeria and the lean, mean and fast team had to cross the volatile territory as well as the dead zone in the Sahara. If your car broke down you were on your own and only the most daring people would attempt this trip. Philippe did this trip 3 times that year, until the civil war in Algeria made it utterly impossible to pass. And thus began his fascination with the desert. 

 The Temple of Transition

The Temple of Transition

A year later Philippe left France to improve his english at Berkley, and he saw a picture of a large wooden structure in the middle of a barren landscape. He had no idea what it was, but the image stuck in his head. He wondered in what desert in the world people would be building structures like that. Four years later while in San Fransisco he saw a flyer with the same image and bought a ticket on the spot. With no idea of what he was getting into, Philippe rented a car and drove to the middle of nowhere to begin the start of what would end up becoming his yearly pilgrimage. 

 Illumination Village

Illumination Village

In those days, Black Rock City wasn’t nearly as popular or regulated as it is now. The internet hadn’t yet caught on and you couldn’t just google what you were getting into. As Philippe drove off the last of the real road and into desert territory, he saw a man emerging out of the dust. Unlike today, there were no road signs or barriers. The guy told him to drive 10 miles straight ahead, then take a right turn, then drive another 4 miles. And then Philippe drove off into the playa, into the dust, with the sudden knowledge that he was driving back into barrenness. And he had only brought a couple bags of potato chips. 

 The Lost Tea Party

The Lost Tea Party

Then suddenly he saw some tents emerging. It was an almost barren desert with campers here and there. At the time there were no barriers or trash fence, and due to the loud music of some of the campers arriving he decided to make his camp miles away from the centre of the city. 

 Tectonic and Friends

Tectonic and Friends

He had thought was ready for the desert life, but really fast he realized the difference. Unlike driving through the Sahara was no longer moving. There was no airflow from the car, no movement. Here he was static, and suddenly realized that he was not at all prepared for that. He had a couple water bottles, two bags of potato chips, no bike, unreliable shoes. At the time it was more of a long weekend, and he spent the next 3 days surviving. 

 Liquid Sky camp

Liquid Sky camp

At the end of the weekend when he “escaped” the desert he said “oh my god, I made it alive.” Driving back to San Fran with a car filled with dust he decided that next year he would come back and do it better. In retrospect he says, “It was the best year.”

 Kostume Kult

Kostume Kult

Thus began the yearly pilgrimage. Step by step, year after year he set about improving his living condition. With no internet forums like there are today the improvements had to be figured out all by himself. Every summer he was taking camping supplies and improving upon them. Had no idea how to build something and this is how he got into this architectural quest. 

 Red Lightning Camp

Red Lightning Camp

With this new obsession of learning how to build he decided to document what other builders were doing and making. He began to take pictures of random camps so that he could see how others were doing it. He soon had hundreds of pictures of the original architecture of hundreds of different building styles and ideas. 

 The Pallet Palace

The Pallet Palace

In 2004 Steven Raspa told him that he should keep focusing on the typology of shelters. The majority of photographers at the Burn focus on portraits or the art on the playa, but almost no one takes pictures of the structures of the actual city. It’s the diversity of the city that makes it amazing, and he should keep focusing on the designers that are building something different. 

 The Chiton

The Chiton

By 2007 he had started his blog as a meeting point for people to see and discuss building their spaces. So many of the other burner forums were scattered and unfocused and he wanted to create a place where people could learn and discuss how to do shelters better. All year he would blog, getting ideas ready to test on the playa. And then for two weeks a year he would roam Black Rock City streets looking for new ideas and meetings designers. 

 Celtic Chaos

Celtic Chaos

And that’s when he met us. In 2013 he saw a bright structure that was different from something he’d seen every other year. So right away he came to find the designers. Since that time we’ve been touching base, thrilled to find someone else who shared our obsession with structures and design. 

 Michael of Archimedes Design, 2014

Michael of Archimedes Design, 2014

By 2010 Philippe had 10-15 years of BRC images. While back in France for a New Years Eve party over too much wine, a friend dared him to make a book within the year. And so the first version of The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man was born. Over that year on a shoestring budget he worked with a designer to make this initial release, but the work wasn’t up to the standard he wanted it to be. Due to the short timeline and small budget the book had mistakes in layout and captions, and forgot to mention a lot of things that needed addressing. The translations from French weren’t great and the designer didn’t know how to work with US design standards. Despite all this though, the book was a hit. And when he was down to his last few copies of the printing, Philippe vowed to make a better version.


With a better design, %100 accurate data, better images, more pages, a good cover and a flow to the book, Philippe had finally created his very own guide for how to build a shelter on the playa. For virgins or veterans, it was something you could use to improve your Black Rock City experience. With a large network of people who follow his blog, several good write ups and a design award in Graphic Design USA, he hoped that he would soon be able to sell this book out as well. But much to his surprise, it was a bust. Slow sales, slow interest, it was entirely unexpected. 

 Camp Do More Now

Camp Do More Now

When I asked him why he thought this was, he immediately went into the changes that he’s seen at Black Rock over the years. The stats for the playa these days is that 40% of yearly attendees are virgins. 70% have only started coming in the last 3-4 years, making a population that is relativity new, and sometimes seems more interested in having a good time than in the building or creation. They don’t have too much time to get lost in the city, but the main point of interest is the playa. Because of the photos online it’s becoming a bucket list item for a lot of people. More and more people want to go there, party, say they had that experience. 

 Camp Reiki

Camp Reiki

Phillips makes a comparison of the pictures of the first years. In the early 90’s people came with cars, tents, old school RVs in bad shape and built the majority of their structures. Most people were building their shelter from scratch. There were not a lot of RVs or campers. Now there’s a trend towards having giant RVs because it’s the easiest way to do it. It seems that people are desiring to do less work, be more comfortable. In photos from the last few years there are thousands and thousands of these pre-made structures. This year Philippe said that it was a struggle to take pictures of camps and new designs, and that even the new structures were surrounded by campers. 

 Circus Combustus

Circus Combustus

Every single year for the last 15 Philippe has camped in the exact same spot as his own little performance piece. His camp footprint always staying the same, while the city eternally changed around him. But recently, instead of interesting new creations, he has been backed on all sides by RVs.

 Cloud Extruded

Cloud Extruded

For Philippe, this is an end of an era. He has decided to finish sales of his book by December 15th, and end this quest of documenting the ephemeral architecture of Burning Man.

 Institute Village

Institute Village

We never know where the cultural evolution of Black Rock may head, that’s part of what makes it so great. But for all of us who make our life about the building and exploration of new structures, the end of this pillar’s quest is sad one. 

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 8.15.18 PM.png

Thank you so much to Philippe Glade for all your years of service and contributions. Your vision will be missed. Please head to his website to purchase a copy of The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man before December 15th. 

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp


1 Comment

Burning Man Wedding


One of the greatest things about having a theme camp at the Burn is that you get to offer space for your friends to celebrate incredible things. 


Daina and Melodie are a circus couple from Montreal. They have been in a relationship for years, and 10 years ago they got married at Burning Man. This year they made the trek back to renew their vows in front of friends and family.


Full of laughter, joy and community, the celebration was a beautiful reminder of what love can look like.


People came from around the globe to be there for their special day. They brought out such a beautiful community of people, all there to celebrate this joy. 


Good music, free flowing drinks, circus acts and dancing abounded, filling the little complex of our domes.


The party got so full that it spilled out into the street. Hoopers, acro yoga, flow arts and play.


As the sun went down the fire came out. It was truly wonderful to see so many friends break out their skills in celebration. 


This wedding was such a wonderful example of what we seek to do with our domes. Just by making space we can create an area for people to come and fill it with joy. Daina and Melodie's celebration was one of the most joyful things I have seen in our spaces yet!


So grateful to have been part of this experience. 

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp

1 Comment