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When the night still belonged to the wild and the beautiful

Anyone who can remember the 1980s in New York or the 1990s in Berlin didn’t truly experience it. And while the dry ice mist from the nightclub scene has long since disappeared and the quiet has returned to factory halls and cellar vaults, the images of yesteryear are still intoxicating…

As epicentres of pop culture, nightclubs and discos have served as escapes from the everyday world since the 1960s — safe havens to question norms and to follow in the footsteps of Alice in Wonderland and escape reality for a few hours. From the legendary Studio 54 and the Palladium in New York to the Haçienda in Manchester to the early house and techno clubs in Chicago and Detroit to the Berlin dance parties in vaults and forests, the avant-garde danced and celebrated the nights, shaping not just the sub-cultures but also the pop culture of their time.

With fewer and fewer adults-only urban spaces and playgrounds in cities around the world, the nightclub scene has become a popular subject of research for many cultural studies. So much so that, from 17 March 2018, the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein will be holding an exhibition titled Night Fever - Design and Club Culture, which explores the design and architecture of nightclubs and discos since the 1960s. In addition to furniture, models, and fashion, the exhibition includes rare documentary films, music samples, graphic design artefacts, and contemporary artists’ work, as well as expansive music and light installations. However, the absence of the “Tambourine Man” in the museum’s visitor toilet will be noticed, as will the lack of smoke and alcohol lingering in your hair, which served as early morning reminders of the adventures from the previous night.

Photos: Vitra Design Museum

The Night Fever - Design and Club Culture exhibition will be opened from 17 March to 9 September 2018 at the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein.