By Flo Wales Bonner June 24 2015
You know when something’s got you so riled up that just really, really want to smash the flip out of something? In Buenos Aires, there’s a place you can pay to do that. The Break Club, in the Palermo neighbourhood, was set up as a space where people can go to break things in a controlled environment. It was set up by local entrepreneur and former advertising professional Guido Dodero, who saw a gap in the market in a country that he thinks has a lot of – er, repressed fury. ‘[Argentinians] have a lot of anger, and we’re almost proud of it’, he says. ‘Italy, Spain, these aggressive Latin cultures.’ And he sees smashing things up as alternative type of therapy: ‘It seems like everyone in Buenos Aires is seeing a shrink. That’s healthy, because you’re trying to deal with it. But maybe you just need a physical outlet’. And what better physical outlet than locking yourself in a room and smashing up an old fax machine with a large bat?
Though you’re encouraged to go wild when you’re in the ‘rage room’, the pre breaking-things-up process is a considered affair. You have to make an appointment, and then you and Guido will run over exactly what you want to break. (You can choose to have things provided for you to break, or bring your own stuff for a lower price – people have opted to let loose on anything from teddy bears to 29-inch TVs). A couple of rules of Break Club: you have to wear the safety gear provided – a hard hat, boiler suit, gloves and a visor. And you can bring ‘weapons’ to destroy things with, but no guns, swords or flame throwers (so leave those at home, nutjob). Break Club made this handy video of a man breaking a Jack Daniel’s bottle in slo-mo, should you need more aid in getting the gist:
As a counterpoint to the violent decimation of inanimate objects, there’s a candle-filled chill out room for when you’re done, plus, as a nice touch, a visitors’ book. But what kind of visitors does Break Room welcome? Ex bankers, professors, dancers, even an 8-year-old-boy have enjoyed the cathartic benefits of a smashing session. Dodero recalls a 78-year-old woman who travelled miles on the bus to Break Club: ‘I was afraid she would have a stroke or something. But she had a lot of fun.’