For decades, clubs and club culture have played a major role for urban development. Now “Night Fever”, a new exhibition – supported by smart – at the Vitra Design Museum explores this fascinating slice of history. And cranks up the volume with the smart mobile disco, an exclusive exhibit by smart.

Flashing lights and a constant stream of powerful electronic beats. Currently, anyone who enters the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein come face-to-face with an unusual exhibit. The smart mobile disco: a smart fortwo equipped with a hydraulic crane arm, a DJ booth, and a full sound and lighting system. In other words – everything you’d expect to find in a club.

 The smart mobile disco at Weil am Rhein
The smart mobile disco: a futuristic look …

The installation designed by Konstantin Grcic is part of the new “Night Fever. Design and Club Culture 1960 – today” show at the Vitra Design Museum, an exhibition also designed by the prolific industrial designer. “Night Fever” is a collaboration with the Brussels-based Adam design museum while the exhibition’s main sponsors include smart and Hugo Boss.

Clubs shape social trends

The exhibition presents a complete panorama of club culture, in all its facets: from the bright neon bucket seats found in the first Italian clubs of the 1960s to the glittering disco realm of New York City’s Studio 54 or Berlin’s iconic 1990s techno scene all the way to futurist design concepts for 21st century club culture.

Dr. Mateo Kries talking into a microphone
Dr. Mateo Kries at the opening panel.

According to Dr. Mateo Kries, director of the Vitra Design Museum, the clubs documented in the exhibition are not only important overall works of art that gave architects, avant-garde icons, designers, and artists plenty of room to realize their visions.

 Dr. Annette Winkler talking into a microphone
Head of smart Dr. Annette Winkler also spoke at the event.

“Club culture has had a societal impact and import from day one,” he states. “It has reflected social developments, changes, tastes, and trends – and helped to shape them, too.”

“It’s about trying something radically new.”
Dr. Annette Winkler

Konstantin Grcic agrees. According to him, one of the results of this evolution is the fact that clubs are no longer necessarily tied to a specific space. As long as there is a DJ, light, sound, and plenty of dancers, the party can happen anywhere. “In a way, the smart mobile disco is the largest possible club because it’s public,“ Grcic explains.

 Close-up of the smart mobile disco
A real eye-catcher: The smart mobile disco wows the crowds with light and sound.

Radically new

“It’s always about questioning the status quo, about trying something radically new and bringing joy to cities with new ideas,” adds Head of smart Dr. Annette Winkler. To her, this principle applies to clubs as much as it does to the smart brand, which – two decades ago – also started out with an innovative idea and radical new design. To Winkler, the collaboration between smart and the Vitra Design Museum is only logical. With the conclusion that the company supplied its own exhibit in the shape of the smart mobile disco.

 People dancing in front of the smart mobile disco
Dancing in front of the museum: the smart mobile disco takes the party outdoors.

The “Night Fever” exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein runs until September 9th, 2018, followed by stints in Brussels and other cities. For further information on the exhibition, please refer to the Vitra Design Museum website.