Memphis A Design Movement
Memphis • A landmark in design history • Heralded as the new ‘International style’ • Aimed to: • Eliminate “peaceful conformity” i.e. not to do something “because that’s the way it’s always been done”. • Present alternatives to late 1970’s formal design culture • Revive radical design • Break down social class barriers (make design accessible to everyone) • Inject flair with colour and materials Ginza Robot Cabinet 1982 Dubline Sofa 1981
Memphis – the history • Led by Ettore Sottsass • Formed in 1981 • Sottsass was described as “a forward-looking designer who was also mischievous” • Disbanded in 1988
Sottsass Products • Inspiration from popular culture, travel. • Colourful • Humorous! • New materials: Formica, Laminates • Experimented with ceramics and fibreglass Ceramic Teapot Basilico 1969 Fibreglass furniture 1970
Sottsass Products • Products were typically ‘home’ artefacts which followed the doctrine of design for all and created bright, interesting , functional products and allowed all social classes access to these products. • Sottsass and later the Memphis group, adopted a ‘revival of radical design’ and wanted to move away from dark, often black products which were ‘boring and mundain’. • Plastic laminate surfaces, ceramics and fibreglass allowed expression, creativity and an injection of colour and excitement. Altair Vase Deneb Glass 1982
Sottsass Style Valentine Typewriter for Ollivetti in 1969 All products continued in the theme and had the Sottsass characteristics: bold, bright, vibrantcolours, exotic laminates and veneers with wild patterns, geometric shapes and most of all; a sense of fun!
Memphis Products • Carlton Cabinet 1981 Typical Memphis style with all themes: (colour, shape, materials). • Casablanca Sideboard 1982 Influence from travel – Can you guess where? Carlton Cabinet 1981 Beverly Sideboard 1981 Memphis Barstool Casablanca Sideboard 1982
Memphis Products Mirror Lamp Ashoka Lamp Piccadilly Table Lamp Belvedere Table D’Antibes Cabinet Lapislazzuli Teapot Superlamp
Sottsass and MemphisThe Influences on other Products • Responsible for transforming colours used • Introduced new materials and combinations of materials. • Broke down class barriers – design for everyone! • Transformed Interior products – glassware, ceramics, lighting, cabinets etc. • Questioned tradition and accepted designs. • Injected ‘humour’ into products Question - Where would you have to go to buy modern Memphis inspired products nowadays?