Famous squads have offered artists the perfect scaffold to design fantasy contexts, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing “states parties ” ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the famed Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snort” Man and the Spoon” aspect that would descend from the ceiling when required, there were stockpiles of cash in the back area, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor is presided over by a naked boy covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new exhibition about world-wide organization culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasize medium to act as backdrop for the outrageous dress and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were descent 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 met the increase of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you creating the negligible design parts to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a blueprint historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical seat- genuinely the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through illuminating and sound, psychotropic drugs and people .”
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