Until early September, the “Night Fever” exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, sponsored by smart, shows a one-of-a-kind panorama of the past sixty years of club culture.

Clubs have always been far more than mere dance emporia, as the Vitra Design Museum’s latest exhibition reveals. With “Night Fever. Design and Club Culture 1960 – today,” the museum explores the night club’s role as an overall work of art that includes sound, light, and architecture – a place that shapes and heralds entire social trends. As creative hotspots for artists and designers, clubs have frequently shaped and transformed entire neighborhoods.

exhibits on the subject of club culture
Compiled and curated with plenty of love and care: Many exhibits have never seen the inside of a museum before.

smart sponsors exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum

The show supported by smart presents photos, posters, original interior design, and other exhibits by seminal clubs from around the world. Here, faded former hubs of sub culture like the Electric Circus (New York City) or Club Piper (Turin) get their well-deserved spot in the limelight, rubbing shoulders with iconic NYC institutions that served as fertile breeding grounds for the likes of Grace Jones, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat: Studio 54, Mudd Club, and Area.

club entrance exhibit at the Vitra Design Museum
Welcome to the club – or not. The fateful door decides where the rest of the night will take you.

British alternative meccas like the Blitz or Hacienda feature next to Berlin techno temples Tresor and Berghain. For a glimpse of the potential future of club culture, look no further than Rem Koolhaas’ concept for London’s Ministry of Sound II – a tantalizing blueprint for 21st century clubbing.

DJ and production tools
Then and now: the evolution of DJ and production tools.

The exhibition’s thoughtful, chronological composition not only includes items and icons previously unseen in any museum context, but also provides an excellent, comprehensive – and unrivalled – overview of this underrepresented culture and genre.

images of light design and architectural models of clubs
“Night Fever” invites visitors to experience the seductive interplay of light, interior design, and music.

Interactive elements in the museum at Weil am Rhein

The exhibits are complemented by encompassing sound and light installations that turn visitors into active participants. Installations like the smart mobile disco by exhibition designer Konstantin Grcic, a mobile sound and light installation based on a smart fortwo that made its debut at the show’s opening in March 2018.

leaflets, flyers and posters of past events
Hand-xeroxed leaflets, flyers, and posters pay homage to a different era of club culture.

The excellent exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein will be open to the public until September 9th, 2018. If you get the chance to catch the show, don’t forget to explore and admire the museum itself – a stunning work of architecture by star architect Frank Gehry.

For further information on the exhibition, please check out the museum’s website.