Italian Disco exhibition at the ICA (25 Nov 2015 – 24 Jan 2016) is a wonderful oversight of the merging of the creative outlets of the disco movement and 1970s architecture. The use of architecture in the Italian Disco space was ingenuitive to say the least – a vegetable garden in a nightclub to blend the natural with technology for example. It could be argued that it was the forefront of freeing up spatial typologies hitherto bound by conventional realms.
In Space Electronica 1969, where live music, theatre, vegetables, technology and architecture began to blur lines, during the daytime the disused dance floor became an experimental architectural school. In 1968 there was the unification of Altre Cosa a fashion boutique and the Bang Bang Club, downstairs. Futuristic décor consisted of Perspex and reflective surfaces, with plastic cylinders containing clothes; you flicked a switch and the opaque tube came down so you could try them on. The synergy between the disco and boutique epitomised the relinquishing of confining lines between fashion, music, leisure and expression.
The exhibition offers detailed visual demonstration of the vibrancy of Italian Disco as well as written descriptions and excerpts of the architects and clubs who were the pioneers of the movement short lived albeit – commenting on the pertinent fact that today when so many of London’s night clubs are being sacrificed for development; that now is the time for the re-emergence for the ‘desire for the unfixed’ and a ‘participatory space for liberating multi-sensory spectacles’.