06 May Eclectic and Whimsical Design
The Memphis Design Movement was a postmodern design movement that emerged in Italy in the early 1980s. The movement was founded by Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer, and a group of other designers who were dissatisfied with the prevailing trends in design at the time. The Memphis Group, as they came to be known, rejected the functionalist and minimalist aesthetics of modernism in favor of a more playful and expressive approach.
Memphis designs were characterized by their use of bright colors, geometric shapes, and bold patterns. The movement’s furniture, lighting, and other objects were often eclectic and whimsical, and they often challenged traditional notions of good taste. The Memphis Group’s work was controversial at the time, but it has since been recognized as an important and influential movement in the history of design.
The Memphis Design Movement was important for a number of reasons. First, it helped to break down the boundaries between high and low art. Memphis designs were often seen as being too kitschy or gaudy for traditional high-end design circles, but they were embraced by a younger generation of designers and consumers who were looking for something different. Second, the Memphis Design Movement helped to revive interest in decorative arts. In the years following World War II, there had been a trend towards minimalism and functionalism in design, which led to a decline in the popularity of decorative arts. The Memphis Group’s work helped to show that decorative arts could be both beautiful and functional. Finally, the Memphis Design Movement helped to inspire a new generation of designers. The Memphis Group’s work was so bold and innovative that it inspired a new wave of designers to experiment with new forms and materials.
The Memphis Design Movement was a short-lived movement, but its influence can still be felt today. Memphis designs can be found in museums and private collections around the world, and they continue to inspire new generations of designers. The Memphis Design Movement is a reminder that design can be both beautiful and playful, and that it can challenge traditional notions of good taste.
David Bowie was an avid art collector and was particularuly fond of Memphis Furniture. Here is a a great article about his collections in GQ Style.