words Anna Bates
Last night, Stockholm-based German artist Carsten Höller opened his temporary nightclub in London – a fantastical mix of the West with the Congo – in an old warehouse in Angel.
Why Congo? “I love it because that’s what I want – people asking,” says Höller.
Conceived by Höller (best known for Test Site, a collection of slides in the Tate Modern), the project was realised by London based architecture firm Carmody Groarke. Aptly named The Double Club, the bar, restaurant and nightclub is a furore of Congolese and Western food, design, art music, and people.
Höller wanted to emphasise differences rather than attempt to fuse them, so the two cultures are given perfectly equal slices of the space in which to flourish. Divided by virtual lines, one section of the courtyard bar is tiled with a print of Russian architect Georgi Krutikow’s flying city, while opposite, a copper bar, surrounded by neon signage occupies the space. In the restaurant, Congolese and Western food is served on German design duo Kram/Weisshaar’s Breeding Tables or Congolese tablecloths. In the club a revolving dance-floor plays Congolese music when the DJ is on the Congo’s side, and Western on the other.
But beneath the chaos, the concept is very simple: “It’s double – you don’t have to decide. You have two places in the same location. Very often you go to a place that is nice but the music is shit. Here you have two musics – if you don’t like one at least the other one is coming. It’s about not making a decision.”
Conceived as a series of installations, it’s a pity the hallway of the The Double Club was forgotten, resembling more the dingy entrance of the S & M venue next door. But with food by a Michelin starred chef and a vibrancy hard to rival, it’s not an issue. Presented by arts programme The Fondazione Prada, the club will be open for six months.
images Attilio Maranzano
All images courtesy of Fondazione Prada, Milan
top image The Double Club bar
The Double Club bar courtyard
Inside the Double Club bar