Famous organizations have offered artists the perfect platform to design fantasy environments, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing a party ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the famous Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snort” Man and the Spoon” aspect that would condescend from the ceiling where needed, there are still mounds of cash in the back chamber, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor led by a naked serviceman covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new show about world-wide squad culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasize environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous clothings and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were descended from the club’s ceiling on New Year’s Eve or when the fashion designer Valentino had a circus-themed birthday party with sand and mermaids on trapezes.
” The 60 s and 70 s construed the rise of the idea that you don’t designing a nightclub, you fetching the negligible blueprint elements to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a designing historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical opening- certainly the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through illuminating and sound, psychotropic narcotics and beings .”
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