Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today
Vitra Design Museum, Weil/Rhine
– 9 September 2018
Nightlife lets you see the world in a different light. An essential part of this world is clubs that offer space for different levels of experimentation. Since 17 March 2018, the Vitra Design Museum has been showing an exhibition that follows the culture and design of clubs from the 1960s to the present day.
Clubs first appeared as total works of art in the 1960s. It wasn’t just their spatial design, but also their graphic appearance and their furniture that were considered as important subjects of design. Examples include the Electric Circus in New York, designed by architect Charles Forberg and graphic design duo Chermayeff and Geismar, and clubs in Europe, such as Space Electronic in Florence or Club Piper in Turin, which were created in collaboration with Italian architects of the Radical Design avant-garde.
As part of the disco movement in the 1970s clubs became stages for collective and individual performances, along with corresponding outfits, they attracted prominent figures of the time. The visual arts also moved into clubs during this time; Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat started their careers on the club scene.
Since then, depending on the genre of music and the subculture, clubs have acquired new, more or less public spaces. Architects are also revisiting this type of space, such as the office OMA, which in 2017 proposed a new concept for the Ministry of Sound club in London.
Using furniture, clothes, graphic works, album covers, technical equipment, room, and light installations as well as music, the exhibition provides a window into the complexity of the design elements of a legendary topos of nightlife.