Famous teams have offered creators the perfect pulpit to design fantasy milieu, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing a party ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the famed Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snorting” Man and the Spoon” aspect that would descend from the ceiling when required, there are still stacks of cash in the back chamber, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a mare on the dancefloor is presided over by a naked follower covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new show about global squad culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different imagination milieu to act as backdrop for the outrageous outfits and theatre of the party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were descended 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 ascertained the rise of the idea that you don’t pattern a nightclub, you drawing the minimal layout factors 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 space- certainly the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through illuminating and sound, psychotropic dopes and beings .”
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