Night Fever. Designing club culture 1960-today
Museum is transformed into a nightclub in a new exhibition
Designmuseum Danmark sets off 2020 with a bang with “Night Fever. Designing club culture 1960-today”, an exciting special exhibition inviting the public on a journey through the design history of nightclubs. Whether you are a John Travolta on the dance floor, have secret dreams of being a DJ, or love hip-hop, Britpop, or house, you can expect to be swept away by dance fever and the good vibes of groovy tunes at Night Fever.
A total experience
Today John Travolta and his disco dancing movie Saturday Night Fever are pop classics, but in every decade nightlife has had its own special design expressions – particularly from 1960 up until the present day, when packed dance floors with flashing colored lights have been replaced by popup events targeted towards increasingly micro segments. But how did the whole nightclub adventure begin – and how were the wild interiors and experiences designed in “the good old days”?
“Night Fever” is a total experience that will appeal to all the senses through music, fashion, and design. The exhibition shows how the nightclub has been a creative motor for 60 years of music and design culture and includes a broad range of elements, everything from furniture to graphic design to architectonic models, art, film, photography and fashion. Visitors will be lead through a fascinating world that serves as a sharp contrast to everyday rules and routines.
Christian Holmsted Olesen, Designmuseum Danmark’s head of exhibitions and collections, says:
“We hope that “Night Fever” will also attract guests who don’t normally come to the museum. The exhibit reflects both the spontaneous joy of the music and the dance floor and the more serious side of nightlife, which we also want to put up for discussion and debate. “Night Fever” has some deep and substantial content for design nerds, but it is also a spatial and sensory total experience for all. We hope many people will visit join us to experience the special world of the nightclub, and maybe even brush off a few of their old dance moves.”
Avantgarde and pop
The nightclub is one of the great sources of pop culture. As an avantgarde phenomenon, the nightclub created a framework for challenging cultural norms and has been a place of experimentation – for good and evil. The exhibition offers a unique look into the nightclub’s design history from the 1960s until today, by portraying it as a total spatial experience where architecture and interiors work together with light, graphic design, and visual effects, together creating a modern gesamtkunstwerk. The examples range widely – from the 1960s Italian nightclub scene with Radical Design to the legendary nightclub Studio 54, where Andy Warhol was among the regular customers. In the 1980s and 1990s came the rave phenomenon the Hacienda Club in Manchester and newer concepts, like the Ministry of Sound in London, designed by OMA.
Feel the music
The exhibition is set up chronologically, and along the way visitors will experience music and light installations created by exhibition designer Konstantin Grcic and lighting designer Matthias Singer. As a visitor you’ll have the opportunity to explore the many facets of nightclub design, both visual effects and sound. And some of the nightclub’s biggest hits and iconic figures will be on display, such as Peter Saville’s iconic design of Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing” album.
“Night Fever” presents the night club as much more than a place to dance or play music. There’s something for everybody – from soundtracks that remind you of the good old days and take you for a trip down memory lane to sound design, architectural drawings and interiors.
See you on the dance floor! In co-operation with several partners, the museum will be arranging an event programme that will bring the exhibit’s themes into a contemporary context with debates, talks, and activities developed in close co-operation with young people who have a passion for music, dance, and creativity.
Imagery courtesy of Designmuseum Danmark