Famous guilds have offered creators the perfect scaffold 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 sink from the ceiling where needed, there were accumulations of cash in the back room, unisex lavatories and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a horse on the dancefloor led by a naked gentleman covered in gold glitter.
The key thing about Studio 54, which is available in a new exhibit about world squad culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different imagination environment to act as backdrop for the outrageous dress and theatre of the working 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 appreciated the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you creating the negligible intend elements to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a layout historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical infinite- truly the nightclub is just a container. Clubs are made through igniting and sound, psychotropic medications and parties .”
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