Famous clubs have offered masters the perfect pulpit to design fantasy surroundings, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing “states parties ” ,” 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” feature that they are able to sink from the ceiling when required, there were pilings of cash in the back area, unisex lavatories and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor led by a naked soldier covered in gold glitter.
The key happening about Studio 54, which features in a brand-new show about world-wide golf-club culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy environment to act as backdrop for the preposterous clothings and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were stopped 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 learnt the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you delivering the minimal designing ingredients 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 room- actually the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through igniting and sound, psychotropic drugs and beings .”
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