Famous organizations have offered artists the perfect stage to design fantasy situations, adds Chris Hall
Caligula shedding a party ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the legendary Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snorting” Man and the Spoon” facet that would descend from the ceiling when required, there were piles of cash in the back area, unisex bathrooms and stunts like Bianca Jagger travelling a mare on the dancefloor led by a naked follower covered in gold glitter.
The key concept about Studio 54, which features in a new exhibit about global guild culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy home to act as backdrop for the disgraceful costumes and theatre of the party goers- such as when four million tonnes glisten were lowered from the club’s ceiling on New Year’s Eve or when the clothes designer Valentino had a circus-themed birthday party with sand and mermaids on trapezes.
” The 60 s and 70 s determined the rise of the idea that you don’t designing a nightclub, you accompanied the minimal design factors to make a nightclub ,” replies Catharine Rossi, a motif historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical opening- actually the nightclub is just a receptacle. Clubs are established through igniting and sound, psychotropic pharmaceuticals and beings .”
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