Famous sororities have offered masters the perfect pulpit to design fantasy environments, 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” peculiarity that they are able to sink from the ceiling where needed, there are still pilings of cash in the back area, unisex lavatories and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a pony on the dancefloor is presided over by a naked male covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which features in a brand-new expo about world-wide squad culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different imagination environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous costumes and theatre of the working party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were lowered 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 looked the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you bring the minimal pattern constituents to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a blueprint historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical space- actually the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through igniting and sound, psychotropic stimulants and parties .”
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