from ITALY

M E M P H I S - R E M E M B E R E D

following from the exhibition of the design museum in london,
memphis srl marked the 20th anniversary of the debut of memphis,
the legendary italian design collective led by ettore sottsass,
in memphis remembered,
an exhibition running in galleria postdesign
november 15, 2001 – january 28, 2002.

here are some snapshots of the opening.

memphis represented a turning point in design history.
the playful colours, cheap materials and kitsch motifs of the furniture, ceramics and glassware unveiled by ettore sottsass, andrea branzi, george sowden, marco zanini, michele de lucchi, nathalie du pasquier, aldo cibic, peter shire, hans hollein, martine bedin and the other memphis designers at the 1981 milan furniture fair split the design world and caused a media sensation after years of drab rationalism.

most designs were produced in very small numbers; a few were prototypes which never went into production.
only one design, the ‘first’ chair, had gone into large-scale industrial production, perhaps, as one commentator has suggested, because, ‘whilst still having a memphis look,
it nonetheless corresponds to the
public’s expectations of what a chair should look like’.

memphis has changed the face of contemporary furniture introducing one of the most important innovation and contribution in furniture design, plastic laminates, considered before then a metaphor for vulgarity, poverty, and bad taste.
the usage of different materials, not only opened the way to new structural solutions, but above all, allowed unprecedented metaphorical interpretations, new communications depths, a diverse language, enlarged perspectives, acquisition of new values and rejection of traditional structures which inevitably follows a change of direction.
in memphis’s and plastic laminate’s case, the scenario had been effected by a violent switch of cultural contest created and made perfect by the introduction of an absolute novelty: the decorated surfaces featuring patterns created by the designers.

see more snapshots

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