Famous squads have offered artists the perfect pulpit to design fantasy situations, 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 snort” Man and the Spoon” feature that would pitch from the ceiling where needed, there are still accumulations of cash in the back area, unisex bathrooms and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a pony on the dancefloor led by a naked humanity covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a new show about world golf-club culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous attires and theatre of the party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were drooped 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 pictured the rise of the idea that you don’t layout a nightclub, you producing the minimal pattern parts 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 infinite- genuinely the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through lighting and sound, psychotropic narcotics and people .”
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