Famous organizations have offered masters the perfect pulpit 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” boast that would descend from the ceiling when required, there were batches of cash in the back chamber, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a horse on the dancefloor is presided over by a naked husband covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new expo about world squad culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous attires and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were plummeted 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 heard the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you accompanying the minimal design points to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a intend historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical room- certainly the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through illuminating and sound, psychotropic doses and parties .”
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