Elian Stefa left his native Albania as a young child but one enduring memory of his early years there was the concrete bunkers liberally strewn across the country’s landscape. These ‘Concrete Mushrooms’ became the focus of a project undertaken with compatriot Gyler Mydyti which intends to understand them and their evolution in parallel with Albanian life.
From Bunkers to Businesses by Valerie Hopkins (Works That Work magazine). A younger generation sees them as a boon for boosting tourism. Conceptual design artists Elian Stefa and Gyler Mydyti have created Concrete Mushrooms, an open-source manual for re-purposing bunkers into businesses that was launched at the 2012 Venice Biennale.
Albania watches impassively as bunkers become bunk-beds
A new book featuring step-by-step guides for converting derelict bunkers into everything from hostels and toilets to cafes and gift shops was feted at the Venice Biennale, where it was recently launched. Elian Stefa, one of the authors of Concrete Mushrooms, estimates the cost of repurposing a triple bunker for campers at just €150 (£120). "The potential is huge, especially for tourism," he said.
[More than 750.000 Albanian bunkers were built during Hoxha regime to prevent possible external invasions], how the people of Albania nowadays coexists with them, how and why do they use them. Stefa and Mydyti says that "it is also thought of how the remaining bunkers can last their lives without being totally disappeared and can become the icon of a paranoid past transformed to the symbol of a bright future of the landscape of Albania."