Famous clubs have offered artists the perfect pulpit to design fantasy environments, 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 would tumble from the ceiling where needed, there are still stockpiles of cash in the back chamber, unisex lavatories and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor led by a naked male covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new exhibit about world society culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fiction environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous clothings and theatre of the party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were put 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 watched the rise of the idea that you don’t designing a nightclub, you returning the negligible motif parts to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a motif historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical cavity- truly the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through illuminating and sound, psychotropic doses and beings .”
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