Famous associations have offered artists the perfect platform to design fantasy surroundings, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing “states parties ” ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the famous Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snorting” Man and the Spoon” feature that they are able to descend from the ceiling where needed, there were mounds of cash in the back room, unisex bathrooms and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a pony on the dancefloor led by a naked being covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which is available in a new exhibit about world-wide association culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasize milieu to act as backdrop for the outrageous garbs and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were lowered 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 find the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you wreaking the negligible design ingredients to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a design historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical cavity- actually the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through lighting and sound, psychotropic narcotics and people .”
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