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To get an insight into Memphis it has to be remembered that the movement formed around the early 1980s.
It could be thought of as a style, or a movement and it could be thought of as leading to many designs that are around today. It could also be thought of as an intellectualising of design - or even a deliberate attempt to add an element of ‘anti-design’ into things just to spice the design world up and make other designers and consumers think about what is around and what is being designed.
In fact it is obvious from the promotional image taken in 1981 -
seen here - that the group of designers that were involved in the
‘Memphis’ style did not take themselves that too seriously.
It could be thought that they were out to explore design or it could
be thought they were out to ignore the ‘rules’ that might be thought
to need to be followed. Most design styles follow from a need to
get away from what has gone before. Two good examples of this
might be art nouveau and art deco which were radical changes
from styles on which they built - as was impressionism in art,
itself shunned by some who considered it to be too lacking in the
conventional skills thought to be necessary at that time.
In 1980 the Memphis group formed by Ettore Sottsass seemed to
rejected the basic rules of functional design and t’design good taste’ and
began to move away from the ‘Modernist’ style favoured at the time.
The designs; outrageous and almost intended to shock and were undoubtedly based on
the experimental designs Sottsass had been producing for Studio Alchymia during the
1970s . An early example is the ‘Tahiti’ table lamp shown here. The lamp has a cartoon
style reminiscent of Disney characters.
Teapot ‘Carlton’ Bookcase & bookshelf ‘Tahiti’ Table lamp
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