However, there are some green shoots for the chill-out room’s revival. Since reopening earlier this year Fabric has been using Room 3 as a chill-out area, while further afield, we all know about Berghain’s various nooks and crannies. The Block in Tel Aviv has a sofa-laden room playing ambient and folk oddities, too.
And aside from just making for a richer clubbing experience, there’s an argument to be made that chill-out rooms are beneficial in the fight for harm reduction. “Chill spaces are something I advise all clubs and festivals to consider having, as they’re often much better than welfare areas which have more of an association with having a difficult time,” explains Katy MacLeod, director of harm reduction outreach group Chill Welfare. “In my experience, having these kind of areas can help prevent a lot of harm.”
So be prepared to soon reacquaint yourself with the Morcheeba back catalogue, the creepy ‘free back rubs’ guy, cuddle puddles of fizzing friendship groups and now, new to chill-out rooms in 2017, intense conversations about a new Chicken Ramen vape flavor, selfies looking like a fire in a waxwork factory and people opting to sit cross-legged on cold stone floor instead of catching the Carl Cox set they paid £25 to experience only an hour earlier.
But will the chill-out room really make a comeback? With space at a premium for promoters, plus club culture still under the authorities’ microscope, the return of liberal chill-out rooms en mass seems unlikely. However, with punters’ health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds, perhaps supervised chill-out zones could be a worthwhile compromise.
This feature is taken from the November issue of Mixmag
Marcus Barnes is Mixmag's Techno Editor and a freelance journalist, follow him on Twitter
Calum Heath is a freelance illustrator