Famous clubs 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 snorting” Man and the Spoon” feature that they are able to pitch from the ceiling where needed, there are still heaps of cash in the back chamber, unisex bathrooms and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor is presided over by a naked human covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which is available in a brand-new expo about global fraternity culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous clothings and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were ceased 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 ensure the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you accompanying the negligible design points 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 igniting and sound, psychotropic stimulants and people .”
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