Famous fraternities have offered artists the perfect scaffold to design fantasy homes, says Chris Hall
Caligula hurling 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 sink from the ceiling when required, there used stockpiles of cash in the back room, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger going a pony on the dancefloor led by a naked serviceman covered in gold glitter.
The key happening about Studio 54, which features in a brand-new exhibition about global guild culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different imagination milieu to act as backdrop for the outrageous attires and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of flash were fallen 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 witnessed the increases of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you fetch the minimal designing elements 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 opening- actually the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are acquired through illuminating and sound, psychotropic dopes and people .”
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