The Book

Nightswimming: Discotheques from the 1960s to the Present

London, 2015, 22x27cm, illustrated, 192pp,
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Essays by Max Dax, Pol Esteve and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli

Photographs by Giovanna Silva

A project by Chiara Carpenter & Giovanna Silva

This is a history of discotheques, told in a subjective, partial way, but always with a clear purpose in mind: the analysis of space. The history of dance clubs is undoubtedly an anthropological as well as architectural phenomenon. The cultural and economic evolution of society progressively transformed the idea of entertainment, and consequently the spaces in which it is formed and shaped. These places have been gradually adjusted to new requests and new fashions, modified and updated, until reaching the contemporary paradox: nowadays discotheques are hardly ever spaces designed by architects; they are rather temporary occupations of spaces dedicated to other functions. From the 1960s until today, through the photographs of Giovanna Silva, a selection of interviews and a collection of critical texts, Nightswimming takes you into the fascinating world of the night.


The exhibition

Discoteque in Italy
from the 1960s until now

The project examines the history of Italian dance clubs, as asocial and anthropological phenomenon. Italy’s social, cultural and economic evolution over the last 50 years has gradually transformed the idea of fun, and with it also the spaces in which fun takes shape. Today a paradox is evident: the clubs are no longer necessarily a physical place, but are now formed of events and theme nights. The history of Italian clubs is told through interviews with architects, DJs, writers, and intellectuals, as well as period photos and a new photographic survey of what remains of today’s discotheques.

Project by Giovanna Silva

Music by Stra

Team Alto Fragile, Chiara Carpenter, Michele Marchetti

Web design by


Andrea Branzi Beppe Riboli Bruno Casini Carlo Caldini Claudio Coccoluto Claudio Lancinhouse Daniele Baldelli Davide Nicolò DJ Ralf Fabio De Luca Fabrizio De Meis Franco Audrito Fulvio Ferrari Gianni De Michelis Gianni Piacentino Marco Mancassola NicoNote Patty Pravo Pierfrancesco Pacoda Piero Derossi Piero Gilardi Sergio Ricciardone Simone KK

Davide Nicolò

Davide Nicolò

Cocoricò is the only Adriatic Riviera club that has remained as it was; the others... Peter Pan, Pascià, Pineta and so on have meanwhile all been revamped; yet, they are a far cry from what they were in their heyday and have become little more than dark spaces. These erstwhile business ventures are no longer on the make. Until the 90s the Riviera had a stronger appeal than the big cities: Nicola Guiducci of Plastic used to play at the Pineta every Tuesday. The Pineta was completely darkened as Plastic is now; it differed from the “crystal” Pineta of ten years back and was unlike the current Pineta Visionaire. If nightclubs until the 80s were mainly barns covered in dark carpet, the 90s brought about change: the tendency henceforth was to play with the effects of these opulent, anachronistic and scenic cathedrals. Many clubs owed their success to their beautiful features and punters often attended them just to catch a glimpse of that. Rimini has constantly been interwoven with the dance business. Geared essentially towards entertainment, the Adriatic Riviera developed as a city without culture. While it lacked a theatre, it abounded in dance halls. I started going to discos from my early years; my favourite spot was the Altromondo Studios, one of the first clubs to employ a theme format, very much in the Star Trek and electronic vein. It took the Space Electronics' aesthetics to an extreme. I started getting actively involved when working at Geo: I filled in for the DJ, a friend of mine, between midnight and twelve thirty a.m., putting on the slower numbers, a task that didn't call for any mixing ability. After Geo I moved over to the Lady Godiva owned by Diego Abatantuono, in the basement of Rimini's Grand Hotel. I later started working as a party organizer and taking care of the graphics at Insonnia, in