Paradise Discotheque Divina


In the 1980s, while disco was suffering a pop culture death in much of the world, the genre maintained a solid foothold in much of non-English speaking Europe. Italian entrepreneurs were building massive discotheques in a country undergoing a second “economic miracle.” Milan was quickly becoming the center of global fashion and savvy businessmen like Silvio Berlusconi were raking in millions. There was reason to celebrate.
Paradise Discotheque Cesar Palace

Cesar Palace

With names like Cesar Palace, Divina, and Final Empire, there was no question as to what these colossal dance meccas strived for: Eternal lavish disco indulgence. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture these venues at their prime filled with stylish Italians getting down on smoky dance floors to Italo-disco vibes.

Paradise Discotheque Ultimo Impero 1

Ultimo Impero

Over the decades, though, the nation that gave us Miko Mission and Giorgio Moroder began to move away from the extravagance of the 80s and allowed these glittering tributes to the genre that inspired house music to die. Italian photographer Antonio La Grotta’s series Paradise Discotheque tells the story of their ruin:

Paradise Discotheque Expo


Discotheques, the symbol of 80s and 90s hedonism, were fake marble temples adorned with Greek statues made of gypsum, futuristic spaces of gigantic size, large enough to contain the dreams of success, money, fun of thousands people.”

Paradise Discotheque TopKapi


And then the dreams are gone, people disappeared and nightclubs became abandoned wrecks, cement whales laid on large empty squares, places inhabited by echo and melancholy.”

Paradise Discotheque Madrugada 1


The grass is growing in the cracks, the Discobolus is hiding under a porch, priggish Venus lurks behind the bars.”

Paradise Discotheque Ultimo Impero 2

Ultimo Impero

The Paradise Discotheque, contemporary monuments of our civilization, are waiting to be burned to the ground, and in this expectation made of vacuum, only the memory of a former glory remains.”

Paradise Discotheque Madrugada 2


All photos © 2014 | Antonio La Grotta

Antonio La Grotta (Torino, 1971) is an Italian photographer. He graduated at IED (European Desing Institute) where he now teaches “Reportage and Events Photography.” He is a freelance photographer who owns and runs NOPX, a contemporary art gallery.

h/t Slate