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The Double Club by Carsten Holler and Fondazione Prada, 02.06.09

Category: Art
Date:     03 June 2009
Time:     05:40 AM


Fondazione Prada

Carsten Höller

The Double Club

A Bar, Restaurant and Dance Club where the Congo Meets the West
A Bar, Restaurant and Dance Club where the West Meets the Congo

from 21 November 2008 
7 Torrens Street
London EC1V 1NQ

The Fondazione Prada is pleased to announce The Double Club project, conceived by the German 
artist Carsten Höller and supported by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Nigeria. Located in London, in an old 
Victorian warehouse just beside the Angel tube station, The Double Club will be inaugurated on 21 
November, offering a unique approach to entertainment and hospitality, as well as creating a dialogue 
between Congolese and Western contemporary music, lifestyle, arts and design. The Double Club will 
not only be a vibrant new public space in London but also an alliance of two cultures in real life that will 
facilitate the cross-pollination without any attempt of fusion.

The club consists of three spaces: bar, restaurant and dance club. The artist has divided each area 
into equally sized Western and Congolese parts on a decorative and functional level, generating an 
inspiring perspective on double identity as well as on cultural coexistence. Moreover, the different 
sections have been conceived and designed to represent the most challenging elements of both 
cultures, encompassing music, food and visual aesthetics.
In the restaurant Congolese and Western food is served on Congolese tablecloths or on Kram and 
Weisshaar’s acclaimed Breeding Tables, each of which is unique. The restaurant also includes 
outstanding art works from the West (paintings by Carla Accardi and Olle Baertling, a relief by Louise 
Nevelson, an embroidered map by Alighiero Boetti and a silkscreen on paper by Andy Warhol) and 
from Congo (the stage dress of the guitarist Luambo Makiadi, a.k.a. Franco, a painting by Mosengwo 
Kejwamfi, a.k.a. Moke the Painter, Kinshasa, a Cheri Samba painting). The Double Club is the only 
place in London where you can choose between a Liboke na mbisi (fresh fish wrapped and stewed in 
large leaves) and a range of extraordinary Western dishes, all made of special ingredients combined 
in an original yet simple way. 
In the central courtyard bar area, there are two Western portions and two Congolese: a large tile 
garden with Portuguese azulejos (depicting a flying city originally drawn by Russian architect Georgi 
Krutikow in 1928) and a copper bar with a pink neon sign saying Two Horses Riders Club; another bar 
with coloured plastic chairs, parasols, and wall paintings of beer advertisements, where Congolese 
beer can be enjoyed and a reproduction of Cheri Samba’s J’aime les Couleurs enlarged to a surface 
of 7 x 4 m.
In the dance club, the DJ plays alternately Congolese and Western music on a circular dance floor 
which slowly revolves at about one turn per hour. When the DJ is in the Western part of the 
room, ‘Western’ music is played, while as coming into the Congolese part it will switch into Congolese 
Rumba, Wenge or Ndombolo. Furthermore, once a week the Club will present the best of 
contemporary Western and Congolese music live, showcasing both local and international bands. 
The tradition of fashion-led, transient clubs in London is strong and the city’s nightclubbing pedigree, 
its cosmopolitan attitude and its rich musical heritage will make it a compelling location for The Double 

Carsten Höller (b. Brussels, 1961) is an artist working and living in Stockholm, Sweden, whose recent 
installations include Test Site, the giant slides at Tate Modern in London (2006-07) as well as 
Revolving Hotel Room at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2008). Höller’s artistic practice 
focuses mainly on researching altered forms of existence through the use of methods where the 
interaction between work and public becomes fundamental. His intention is to make the viewer 
receptive to an individual transformation that occurs the moment one comes into contact with and 
experiences the artwork. 
It is with these precedents in mind that Höller has developed The Double Club project, which 
originated from his passion for the Congo. With The Double Club, the artist confirms his belief in art’s 
capacity to subvert reality, as well as his interest into what he calls ‘influential environments’, where 
duality is favoured against the unilateral. Starting from the idea of creating a place where two very 
different cultures, Western and Congolese, will interact, and keeping a balance between these two 
aesthetic polarities, it will offer a unique modus operandi.
The project, which is fundamentally experimental in character and with profits donated to City of 
Joy/UNICEF, challenges the artistic content and its positive contribution to the understanding and 
dialogue with contemporary expressions of African culture, which is of critical relevance in this 
moment. The coexistence of individualised identities that in the club remain faithful to themselves, with 
the presentation of their sounds, their tastes and their aesthetics, is an invitation by the artist to 
consider a new history, self-knowledge and knowledge of others, rejecting a centric vision and offering 
a dual perspective where the Double - West and Congo - is a variant of the perception of the world, 
no longer the single perspective unique where one predominates over the other.

The realisation of such a multifaceted project as The Double Club has been possible thanks to a pool 
of experts of various fields, such as:
- Jan Kennedy, Project Director of The Double Club. In 1995 he opened the acclaimed Michelin 
starred restaurant Quo Vadis with Marco Pierre White, before opening the seminal Pharmacy with 
Damien Hirst in 1998. He was the co-founder of the legendary dance music club We Love Sundays at 
Space (Ibiza).
- Mourad Mazouz, founder of successful restaurants in London such as Momo Restaurant Familial and 
Sketch, as well as 404 in Paris and Almaz by Momo in Dubai. He is also founder of Mo’Zik, an 
innovative record label. 
- Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, founded KRAM/WEISSHHAAR in Munich and Stockholm in 
2002. Their breakthrough project was Breeding Tables (2003-2008), In this project their approach 
towards intelligently intertwining product development and media design, while taking advantage of the 
newest technological possibilities, is paradigmatically outlined.

The project is made possible through the support of Guaranty Trust Bank, plc, Nigeria, which will also 
be partner of a cultural programme to be presented during the opening months of The Double Club. 

‘In the current climate of escalating conflicts in the Congo, we feel it was important to support Carsten 
Höller’s artistic ground-breaking experiment. The Double Club focuses on representing the nature of 
one African country such as the Congo, highlighting the positive aspects of the culture of its people; its 
lifestyle, music, food and aesthetics. 
Guaranty Trust Bank have partnered with the Prada Foundation to create a cultural programme, 
hosted at The Double Club. This signals a further step in our renewed engagement to support 
contemporary artistic and creative expressions coming from Africa, which started with initiatives within 
Nigeria and is now reaching a global dimension’. Segun Agbaje, Deputy CEO, Guaranty Trust Bank plc

Founded 15 years ago, the Fondazione Prada has presented many ambitious artists’ projects in a 
programme which often features collaborations and multiple approaches to the creative process, with 
a unique capacity to embrace utopias such as The Double Club. 
With its involvement in this new project, the Fondazione Prada — its relations with Höller date back to 
2000, when his first extensive solo exhibition in Italy took place in Milan — has fulfilled its need to 
encompass other forms of artistic expression, testifying to its growing awareness of the importance of 
a global vision. 

The Double Club is a not-for-profit organisation. A percentage of its profits will be donated to the City 
of Joy charity that generates specialised projects to help abused women and children in the Congo. A 
fund-raising event is also scheduled for February 2009. 

A book and a music compilation documenting the various stages of the project will be published by the 
Fondazione Prada.

General information:

Opening Hours
Sunday & Monday closed
Tuesday to Thursday 6 pm to 2/3 am, last food order midnight
Friday & Saturday 6 pm to 4 am, last food order at 1 am
Contact information
Ph: + 44 (0)20 7837 2222

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