Night Fever: Designing Club Culture is the first large-scale examination of the relationship between club culture and design, charting the evolution of nightclubs from the 1960s to today. Tickets are on sale now at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee
Nightclubs are spaces for adventure and escape, and have always encouraged experimental and radical design, from New York’s Studio 54 to Manchester’s Haçienda.
From Italy to New York, Paris, Manchester, London, Beirut and Berlin, and into everyone’s homes today through online streaming, the exhibition charts how nightclub design has changed and evolved.
The exhibition includes a new section on Scotland’s unique and distinct club culture, including legendary club nights in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley, exploring how the Scottish club scene links to the music and influences of Chicago, Detroit and Europe.
The museum also features playlists of music chosen and mixed by Scottish DJs and artists including Dundee’s Hilltown Disco, Heir of the Cursed, ISO YSO, OHO141, Jim Lambie, Junglehussi, Anna Meredith, and Sofay.
The exhibition celebrates these critical cultural spaces at a very important moment, as we all look to a brighter future where everyone can come back together, to dance and to enjoy shared public experiences once again.
V&A Dundee is curating and hosting a series of Night Fever-inspired online events, talks and workshops to run alongside the exhibition, including a conversation between legendary co-creator of Studio 54 Ian Schrager and Radio 1 DJ Benji B on 27 May.
The next event is the free online Tay Late next Friday 7 May which includes a DJ set from Ana Matronic, music from Dundee’s Le Freak Records, and a newly commissioned film combining spoken word, visuals and original sound by Kayus Bankole of Mercury Prize-winning Scottish band Young Fathers.
Night Fever: Designing Club Culture at V&A Dundee is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.
Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “I can’t think of a better exhibition to reopen V&A Dundee with, as we all look to the future with hope and optimism. Night Fever: Designing Club Culture is a unique and exciting look at nightclubs from the 1960s to today, including iconic Scottish clubs.
“Clubs are fascinating spaces where a huge range of design disciplines come together to create distinct, collective, and immersive experiences on the dancefloor.
“The last year has encouraged everyone to consider what is important to them, and it’s been wonderful to see the growing recognition of the cultural significance of nightclubs. These spaces are a rich and influential part of our culture and we’re delighted to be celebrating them in this UK-exclusive exhibition.”
Dr Jochen Eisenbrand, Chief Curator at Vitra Design Museum, said: “This is the first major exhibition to consider the design history of nightclubs, hugely important cultural venues that have long been overlooked.
“Since the 1960s nightclubs have been incredibly experimental spaces for designers and architects to push the limits of their abilities and imaginations, and for people to come together to have fun, create, and safely express themselves.
“It’s great to be working with V&A Dundee again and to be opening this celebratory exhibition at another important moment in the history of club culture.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m very pleased that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported Scotland’s design museum for the last seven years, particularly as V&A Dundee now looks forward to developing an exciting new role as Scotland’s centre for design.
“V&A Dundee is a key part of the cultural life of Dundee and Scotland, from its vital community, families and schools work to this exciting new exhibition celebrating how design can bring joy to everyone’s lives.”
Key nightclubs featured in the exhibition include:
- The Electric Circus, New York, 1967
- Space Electronic, Florence, 1969
- Studio 54, New York, 1977
- Paradise Garage, New York, 1977
- The Haçienda, Manchester, 1982
- Area, New York, 1983
- Sub Club, Glasgow, 1987 – present
- Kinky Gerlinky, London, 1989
- The Rhumba Club, Scotland, 1991 – present
- B018, Beirut, 1998
- Berghain, Berlin, 2004
- Ministry of Sound II, London, 2015
- The Mothership, Detroit, 2015
The exhibition also features A Life of Subversive Joy by Vinca Petersen, a 20-metre long installation using 600 photographs and 200 pieces of ephemera that tells the story of Petersen’s life of raving, roaming and humanitarian projects.
Nightclubs are an example of a total designed experience, employing architecture, art, fashion, graphics, lighting, performance and sound to create an immersive sensory experience where design, music and technology meet on the dancefloor.
Night Fever: Designing Club Culture is a UK-exclusive exhibition at V&A Dundee, from 1 May 2021 to 9 January 2022.
Developed by the Vitra Design Museum and Design Museum Brussels, it includes films, photography, posters, flyers, and fashion, as well as a light and music installation.
Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer will now run at V&A Dundee from 26 February 2022 to 4 September 2022. This is the first ever major exhibition on Michael Clark, the groundbreaking Scottish dancer and choreographer, curated and organised by Barbican Centre, London.
A number of measures are in place across the museum to ensure a safe, welcoming and inspiring experience for visitors and staff alike.
All visitors now need to book free tickets to enter the museum, as part of the essential steps to keep visitors safe and to ensure physical distancing. Those free tickets can also be booked at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee