March 12, 2018 - Vitra Design Museum - Night Fever
e-flux Architecture
March 12, 2018
March 12, 2018

Vitra Design Museum

© Photo: Laser Lake Observatory, Phoenix, AZ, 2017.

Night Fever
Designing Club Culture 1960–Today
March 17–September 9, 2018

Press conference: March 15, 2pm
Opening: March 16, 6pm, including a talk with Ben Kelly, Peter Saville and Konstantin Grcic
Vernissage and party: March 16, 7pm

Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
79576 Weil am Rhein
Germany

T +49 7621 7023200
info@design-museum.de

www.design-museum.de
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / #VDMNightFever #vitradesignmuseum

Night Fever
Designing Club Culture 1960–Today
March 17–September 9, 2018

Press conference: March 15, 2pm
Opening: March 16, 6pm, including a talk with Ben Kelly, Peter Saville and Konstantin Grcic
Vernissage and party: March 16, 7pm

Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
79576 Weil am Rhein
Germany

T +49 7621 7023200
info@design-museum.de

www.design-museum.de
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / #VDMNightFever #vitradesignmuseum

The nightclub is one of the most important design spaces in contemporary culture. Since the 1960s, nightclubs have been epicentres of pop culture, distinct spaces of nocturnal leisure providing architects and designers all over the world with opportunities and inspiration. Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960–Today offers the first large-scale examination of the relationship between club culture and design, from past to present. The exhibition presents nightclubs as spaces that merge architecture and interior design with sound, light, fashion, graphics, and visual effects to create a modern Gesamtkunstwerk. Examples range from Italian clubs of the 1960s created by the protagonists of Radical Design to the legendary Studio 54 where Andy Warhol was a regular, from the Haçienda in Manchester designed by Ben Kelly to more recent concepts by the OMA architecture studio for the Ministry of Sound in London. The exhibits on display range from films and vintage photographs to posters, flyers, and fashion, but also include contemporary works. A spatial installation with music and light effects takes visitors on a fascinating journey through a world of glamour and subcultures—always in search of the night that never ends.

Night Fever opens with the 1960s, exploring the emergence of nightclubs as spaces for experimentation with interior design, new media, and alternative lifestyles. The Electric Circus (1967) in New York, for example, was designed as a countercultural venue and followed a multidisciplinary approach. It influenced many clubs in Europe, including Space Electronic (1969) in Florence designed by Gruppo 9999 or the Piper in Turin (1966)—designed as a multifunctional space with a modular interior suitable for concerts, happenings, and experimental theatre as well as dancing—both associated with Italy’s Radical Design avant-garde.

With the rise of disco in the 1970s, club culture gained a new momentum. Dance music developed into a genre of its own and the dance floor emerged as a stage for individual and collective performance, with fashion designers such as Halston and Stephen Burrows providing the perfect outfits to perform and shine. New York’s Studio 54, founded by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell in 1977 and designed by Scott Bromley and Ron Doud, soon became a celebrity favourite.

Around the same time, places in New York’s thriving nightlife like the Mudd Club (1978) and Area (1983) offered artists new spaces to merge the club scene and the arts and launched the careers of artists like Keith Haring und Jean-Michel Basquiat. In early 1980s London, meanwhile, clubs like Blitz and Taboo brought forth the New Romantic music and fashion movement but it was in Manchester that architect and designer Ben Kelly created the post-industrial cathedral of rave, The Haçienda (1982), from where Acid House conquered the UK. House and Techno reached Berlin in the early 1990s just after the fall of the wall, when disused and derelict spaces became available for clubs like Tresor (1991); more than a decade later, the notorious Berghain (2004) was established in a former heating plant, demonstrating yet again how a vibrant club scene can flourish in the cracks of the urban fabric, on empty lots and in vacant buildings.

Developments have become ever more complex since the early 2000s. On the one hand, club culture is thriving and evolving as it is adopted by global brands and music festivals; on the other, many nightclubs have been pushed out of the city or survive merely as sad historical monuments and modern ruins of a hedonistic past. At the same time, a new generation of architects is addressing the nightclub typology, such as the architectural firm OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, who has developed a proposal for a 21st century Ministry of Sound II for London.

 

Curators: Jochen Eisenbrand (Vitra Design Museum), Catharine Rossi (Kingston University), Katarina Serulus (Art & Design Atomium Museum) 

Exhibition design: Konstantin Grcic
Media contact: Lara Schuh - communications [​at​] design-museum.de  / T +49 7621 702 3153
Press Material: www.design-museum.de/press_images

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