Famous fraternities have offered creators the perfect platform to design fantasy environments, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing “states parties ” ,” 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” feature that would descend from the ceiling where needed, there were batches of cash in the back area, unisex bathrooms and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a pony on the dancefloor led by a naked serviceman covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which is available in a brand-new exhibition about world fraternity culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasy environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous dress and theatre of the party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were declined 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 read the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you introducing the negligible designing components to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a intend 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 igniting and sound, psychotropic doses and beings .”
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