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Past exhibition: special exhibition

Night Fever

Nightclubs and discothèques are hotbeds of contemporary culture. Throughout the twentieth century, they have been centres of the avant-garde that question the established codes of social life and experiment with different realities. They merge interior and furniture design, graphics and art with sound, light, fashion and special effects to create a modern Gesamtkunstwerk.

»Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today« examines the history of the nightclub, with examples range from Italian clubs of the 1960s created by the protagonists of Radical Design to the legendary Studio 54, from the Palladium in New York designed by Arata Isozaki to more recent concepts by the OMA architecture studio for the Ministry of Sound in London. Featuring films and vintage photographs, posters and fashion, the exhibition also comprises a number of light and sound installations that will take the visitor on a fascinating journey through a world of glamour, subculture, and the search for the night that never ends.

An exhibition by the Vitra Design Museum and ADAM – Brussels Design Museum.

”Time stops here and space takes over.”
Andy Warhol about 'Studio 54'

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– particularly from 1960 up until the present day, when packed dance floors with flashing colored lights have been replaced by popup events targeted towards increasingly micro segments.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.

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.