Studio65 grasped this opportunity to design a fitness centre and used it to reflect ironically on the myth of stereotyped beauty, that puts appearance before the quality of being. And so in Milan, the studio designed this place, devoted to the fascination of the body: Contourella, reffered to as the “Temple of Beauty”. The layout included the entrance to the temple, a juice bar and a swimming pool – colours, gigantic backdrop, ironic, a multi-coloured Babylon in which the change of scale brought back the experience of infancy. “It was a space in which Archigram-style oversize calligraphy was mixed with cartoon symbols in long, chromatic modulations, sinuous bands, alterating the perception of the constructed body; an internal dizziness, a synecdochic brainstorming. This ‘film’, in which every set up was themed, in the mould of a Wagnerian leitmotif, would become a cornerstone of the approach taken by Studio65. By mixing expressive vibrancy with puns and a desire to shake things up, the studio would in the ’70s go on to achieve an even more refined sense of irony as encapsulated in its anti-design pieces” (from the book Studio65, published by Electa in 1986, edited by Ennio Chiggio).
It is the design for a three-story health club. The aesthetic theme is based on the idea of a Temple dedicated to Beauty, where – with the help of the Temple’s Vestal Virgins, and through a combination of abstinence and strenuous, painful initiations – members hope to identify with the idealised “Beauty” of the glossy magazines. The entrance is the reception room. On the walls, the Vestal Virgins hold hands for the propitiatory dance of the ring-a-ring o’ roses around the illuminated totem. The mouth-shaped sofa, designed specifically for this context, symbolises the lips of the goddess who has no face.
On the basement floor, the initiate can undergo purification in the garden of delights (the juice bar) if he or she can resist the serpent-tempter. Only then may he or she descend to the sub-basement floor, where sweat, suffering and cathartic tortures (saunas, Turkish bath, swimming pool, gyms) await.
disegni / schizzi / fotografie / diapositive
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